With the recent introduction of SketchUp 2024 came one change in functionality that has the community talking here and here. In 2023, when you went to the File > Save As… dialog, you had all of the SketchUp versions available all the way back to version 3 (Why not version 2? That’s when I got into SketchUp!) as a file format option (see image below). With 2024, this has now gone away and files can “only” be saved in the version-less SketchUp file format that was introduced with SketchUp 2022.

SketchUp Desktop 2023
SketchUp Desktop 2024

In principle, the version-less format (which, by the way, has with the 2024 version also been introduced for LayOut) is a very convenient thing: You can open a newer file in an older version (albeit with a warning that some functionality may be lost). That makes working in computer labs (which are notoriously slow to update) and other environments much easier. It is also VERY MUCH better than what Revit users have been living with forever, namely the inability of Revit to save to any older file format (thereby forcing upgrades annually).

Opening a 2017 version in 2024

The problem lies with the many SketchUp users that are still on older versions for a variety of reasons. For those folks the ability to save to an older version may be useful or crucial for their workflow.

Ruby Snippet

The script below is one way to solve this without the need to even install any extension. All you have to do is open a model in SketchUp Pro (Desktop) and then go to the Extensions > Developer > Ruby Console menu item (or my Ruby Code Editor) and then paste one of the last lines from the following code snippet.

Choose whether you want to save the file itself (use line 24), or rather save a copy of the file (use line 27). You can adjust the file name and location and the SketchUp file version that you want to save to, and you are done! Hit Enter and your (old) file will magically get saved. There is – of course – not much magic here. This is a built-in feature of SketchUp’s Ruby API and while these older formats are still in the API, you might as well use them.

How About LayOut Files?

Since someone is going to ask about this at some point, here are the instructions for saving a LayOut file to an older version:

The process is a little bit different because you cannot run Ruby code inside LayOut. You need to do that part in SketchUp (same location as mentioned above), but the code will operate on a LayOut file. The easiest way to do this is to have a saved LayOut file whose path you copy. Then you would use the entire code shown below (lines 22 to 29) with that file path. This will open the LayOut file and save it again as the older file format.


  • save and save_copy methods of the Model class (SketchUp API reference)
  • save method of the LayOut Document class (SketchUp API reference)
  • If you want to learn more about Ruby in SketchUp, check out Chapter 7 in my book.
  • Want to do this with an extension? Dezmo has created one that you can download here.

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