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It’s all about that workflow: Game-changer enhancements in 2020!

View of a model in the SketchUp UI

We’ve spent a lot of time in 2019 learning more about what you, the user, wish SketchUp did better.  We’ve been eyeing your comments on the forum and discussing ideas during our training events to see what trips up your workflow. So, thanks for speaking up! You helped us discover how you’re using SketchUp and how we can improve your design process, resulting in workflow improvements galore! They’re so good you’d think we’d been sneaking into design firms or something 😉. 

First things first:  we have a new scale figure for SketchUp 2020. Before you go any further, meet Laura!

Laura - New Scale Figure for SketchUp 2020

Oh, hey there! 👋
Now, let’s dive into those updates.

SketchUp Pro 2020: your [3D] creative space
This year, we focused on data structures and modeling behaviors. We want to make sure we continue to be the more intuitive, easier (because we know no software is EASY) to use software that boosts your ability to crank out those stunning design projects. 


This leads us to our BIG model organization change. In an effort to increase model performance, you no longer have to create Layers upon Layers. You can do your main model organization straight within Outliner. We recommend using this (and our friendly eyeball icon) to toggle between the major chunks of your model like main floor plans. 

Check out this Quick Win to learn more about how to use it.

Grips on bounding boxes

Grab that sofa and put it in the corner! Just try it out, we need not explain more.

Gif featuring SketchUp Rotate Tool and Move Tool

When you grab a point that is obscured in an object (like a back corner or a center point) and start to move it, your object will automatically go transparent as soon as something in your model interferes with the object you are moving. This works with both the Rotate tool and Move tool. Fancy, huh? This will literally ‘transform’ your workflow. Don’t take our word for it: start positioning those objects in hard to reach places to see that SketchUp magic!

Check out these Quick Wins to learn more:

Hidden objects

Announcing a big change to hiding objects in your models! You’ll notice in your drop-down menu that we decoupled hiding objects from hiding geometry. How will this change your workflow? Well, this will give you the ability to better manage hidden geometry and hidden objects for an even easier modeling experience. For example, let’s say you want to edit hidden edges in a landscape or smoothed surface, but you still want to be able to hide objects that are nearby (like trees, bushes, or a building)... yes, you can do that in SketchUp! Landscape architects, rejoice! Check out our Skill Builder to learn how.Gif showing how to manage Hidden Geometry and Hidden Objects at SketchUp

The SketchUp Universe: nomenclatures

After many conversations, we decided to update some of our naming conventions. This won’t change your workflow, but we want you to know that it’s not just you — we are talking about a few things differently now. We think they make logic a little more prevalent. 

Objects are now a collective term for groups, components, and dynamic components. This just means we don’t have to say “groups (slash) components” anymore. Now you can save those syllables for words like “stupendous” and “dapper” (Why, thank you! We think you are too.). Also, Layers are now referred to as “Tags”. Don’t worry these two terms are merely document naming conventions and won’t hinder your workflow. 

LayOut 2020: document control

It’s all about taking back control... document control that is! We focused on improving the interaction between SketchUp and LayOut to save you time and [brain] energy. Way less going back and forth updating scenes in SketchUp to ensure your drawing comes out perfectly. Now you have more editing ability right in LayOut.

Gif showing SketchUp and LayOut Document Control

Model Views

LayOut now understands a lot more about your SketchUp model and what you’ve overridden. Meaning, you can safely change a style or camera angle directly in LayOut without accidentally losing your changes (winning!). How do you know what’s different in your LayOut viewport versus your SketchUp model, you ask? When you make changes in LayOut, parts of the menu bar will go dark gray, alerting you that you’ve made an override. Don’t worry, just because you made some changes in LayOut, doesn’t mean you’re stuck with those. You can always resync your viewports back to your SketchUp model if you need to. 


Take those LayOut docs to the next dimension with different models and views. If you have one SketchUp model that exists across several viewports, you can now relink just one of those viewports to another SketchUp model. Previously, you would need to delete that viewport, insert a new SKP model, and reset all your scale settings and viewport sizing. More efficient now? Yes!

And that’s not all folks! You also have the ability to toggle tag visibility — straight in your LayOut doc! What does this mean for my workflow? This means you don’t have to create extra scenes just for your LayOut files, saving you a ton of time going back and forth between LayOut and SketchUp.  

Check out our Skill Builder to learn how this will speed up your LayOut workflow.

We think that our latest changes in SketchUp 2020 let you make a few tweaks to really get your process humming along! We've changed a lot, but if you've got an awesome workflow that works for you, keep rolling with that. 

Want to test out the new features? Try SketchUp free.

Ready to go Pro? Buy SketchUp

Check out all the changes, and let us know what you think in the forum.

Happy Sketching!

All of these shiny new features are available to users with an active SketchUp Pro and SketchUp Studio subscription, as well as Classic license holders that are active with Maintenance & Support. Start using 2020 today! 

About the Author

We’re the folks who work on SketchUp, so we spend most of our time thinking about how to make drawing in 3D better. We also enjoy nerf gun wars, disc golf, board games, coffee, beer, donuts, and looking at mountains. A few of us eat quinoa.

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