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Setting Software and File Preferences

In SketchUp, you can set a few preferences for how the software works overall and how files are saved.

To access these preferences, select Window > Preferences from the menu bar and select General in the sidebar on the left. As shown in the following figure, your options include Saving preferences at the top and Software Updates preferences at the bottom.

SketchUp Preferences General Panel (Windows)

To access these preferences, select SketchUp > Preferences from the menu bar and select General in the sidebar on the left. As shown in the following figure, your options include Saving preferences at the top and Software Updates preferences at the bottom.

SketchUp Preferences General Panel (OS X)

Table of Contents
  1. Setting file recovery preferences
  2. Checking models for problems
  3. Seeing Scenes and Styles warnings
  4. Selecting Software Updates preferences
  5. Choosing default locations for files (Microsoft Windows)
  6. Changing SketchUp’s language

Setting file recovery preferences

Here’s a quick look at the Saving options on the General preferences pane:

  • Create Backup: By default, this option is selected because it helps you recover your work if anything happens as you’re creating a 3D model. When Create Backup is enabled, SketchUp automatically creates a backup file when you save a model. The backup file is the previously saved version of the file and lives in the same folder as the model file. For example, if your model file is hotel.skp, on Microsoft Windows, the backup is hotel.skb, and on Mac OS X, the backup file is hotel~.skp. On either operating system, you find both files in the same folder.
  • Auto-save: This option is also enabled by default and helps you recover any changes you make to a model if you experience computer problems. When enabled, Auto-save tells SketchUp to automatically save changes to your model into a temporary file at specific time interval. By default, the interval is 5 minutes, but you can make that shorter or longer if you like. Just enter a new interval in minutes in the text box. Note that the auto-save file is preserved only if SketchUp suddenly crashes. If SketchUp closes successfully, the auto-save file is deleted.

Tip: The SketchUp team strongly recommends leaving Auto-save enabled, because it helps you keep your work. During the auto-save, SketchUp checks your model for unrecoverable errors so that a good auto-save file isn’t overwritten. In the rare case that SketchUp finds unrecoverable errors in your model, a dialog box appears with the option to quit SketchUp and send a report. Click the Quit SketchUp and Send Report button to terminate SketchUp and preserve your valid auto-saved file. This report contains valuable information regarding the unrecoverable errors.

Note: Want to find an auto-saved file? In Microsoft Windows, you find the file in your Documents folder, with AutoSave_ in the filename. For example, the auto-saved file for hotel.skp is AutoSave_hotel.skp. Windows users can change the location by selecting Edit > Preferences > Files > Models and selecting a new. If you’re a Mac OS X user, you find the file in the following folder: ~User/Library/Application Support/SketchUp Version/SketchUp/Autosave. On recent versions of OS X, the Library folder is hidden, so you must make the folder visible before you can find your auto-saved file.

Checking models for problems

The General preferences pane includes a section called Check Model for Problems, where you find the following two options:

  • Automatically Check Models for Problems: This option is selected by default and enables SketchUp to check your model before it auto-saves, as mentioned in the preceding section. When this option is selected, SketchUp checks for problems when your model is loaded or saved. Because SketchUp offers so much flexibility for designing a 3D model, it’s important to check and fix major or minor issues and thus optimize your model’s performance. Although deselecting this option isn’t recommended, if you do so, you can check for problems manually by selecting Window > Model Info, selecting the Statistics panel, and clicking the Fix Problems button.
  • Automatically Fix Problems When They Are Found: This option is deselected by default, so that when SketchUp finds a problem, you see a dialog box that asks whether and when you’d like to fix the problem. If you select this option, you don’t see the dialog box, and SketchUp fixes the problem behind the scenes.

Seeing Scenes and Styles warnings

Scenes enable you to save a view of your model, and styles impact how your model’s edges, faces, and background look. If you edit a style and then add a new scene, SketchUp can prompt you to decide whether you want to save your changes as a new style, update the selected style, or do nothing, as shown in the following figure. This warning can help you manage your style changes as you work with different scenes.

By default, the Warn of Style Change When Creating Scenes checkbox is enabled. If you deselect the checkbox, you don’t see the warning dialog box and are not prompted about how you’d like to manage your scenes and styles.

Selecting Software Updates preferences

On the General preferences pane, the Software Updates section has only one option, Automatically Check for UpdatesAllow checking for updates, which is enabled by default. When enabled, SketchUp checks for updates when you’re connected to the Internet.

Choosing default locations for files (Microsoft Windows)

If you’re a Microsoft Windows user, the System Preferences dialog box includes a Files option in the sidebar on the left. This pane enables you to set the default save locations for models, components, materials, styles, and more.

If the folder where you want to save certain files doesn’t yet exist, create it in Windows’ File Explorer first. After the folder is ready, follow these steps in SketchUp:

  1. Select Window > Preferences.
  2. Select Files in the sidebar on the left.
  3. In the Files pane, click the folder icon next to any option, and a Browse for FolderSelect Folder dialog box appears.
  4. Navigate to the folder that you want to designate as the default location for the related files.
  5. Click OKSelect Folder in the Browse for FoldersSelect Folder dialog box and click OK again in the System Preferences dialog box. Going forward, the files for that option are saved in the folder you specify.

The following table outlines how each option changes your default locations.

Option Changes the Default Location For …
Models Opening or saving a model
Components Opening and saving a collection via the Components browser
Materials Opening or creating a collection via the Materials browser
Styles Opening or creating a collection via the Styles browser
Texture images Inserting images with the File > Insert > Image As Texture command.
Watermark images Images that you can use as a watermark
Export models Models that that exported with the File > Export > 3D Model command.
Classifications Files used to set up classification systems for the Classifier feature.

Changing SketchUp’s language

SketchUp is currently available in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese.

You can download SketchUp in any of the preceding languages. However, SketchUp reverts to English if your operating system’s language doesn't match the language version of SketchUp that you installed. For example, if you’ve downloaded the French version and your operating system is set to English, you see the English version of SketchUp.

Tip: To change the language in SketchUp, you need to change your operating system’s default language.

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