Making SketchUp run faster

      NOTICE: SketchUp 2015 is here! When you look at this Knowledge Center article, be sure to pick "SketchUp 2015" from the red box above to see the 2015 version of that content. If there is no version picker, this content applies to all versions of SketchUp.

It’s probably safe to say that all SketchUp users have one thing in common: they want SketchUp to be fast. No matter your experience level or modeling style, there are always ways you can help SketchUp run faster and perform better.
The sections below detail "Modeling techniques" to help you model efficiently, "Computer settings" that will maximize your computer's capabilities, and "SketchUp settings" that will increase performance.
Modeling techniques
Want some in-depth virtual instruction? Watch the one-hour "Modeling Smart" session from our SketchUp 3D Basecamp:
Watch the video

In a hurry? These tips are a good place to start:

  • Stick to simple styles. Whenever possible, turn off shadows, textures, and special display effects while modeling. If you're using SketchUp 2015 then you can also switch to a Fast Style to improve performance as well. You can always turn these features back on later for presentation purposes.
    Tip: SketchUp has a set of default Styles that will help you manage these display settings quickly and easily.
  • Components are your friend. If you're using the same entity multiple times (for example, a window or a tree), make it a component, and then use copies of the component. Multiple instances of a component are lighter weight than multiple copies of an entity or group.
  • Use layers to control visibility. The more geometry that is visible in a model, the more slowly SketchUp will run. You can hide geometry you aren't currently working on by placing it on its own layer and hiding those layers. Consider doing this with images, landscaping items like trees and shrubs, furniture, cars, and so on.
  • JPEGs are just fine. If you import images into your model, use JPEG images rather than TIFF images. TIFF images tend to have large file sizes and take more computing resources to display.

Computer settings

  • Newer computers with faster processors can enhance SketchUp speed. Having enough RAM is also helpful. Make sure to review the minimum and suggested hardware and software requirements for SketchUp.
  • When you're using SketchUp, close any other applications that you don't need to have running.
  • Make sure you have the latest driver for your video card.
  • If you have a fairly new video card, make sure you're using hardware acceleration:
    1. Click Window > Preferences.
    2. In the left pane, click OpenGL.
    3. In the right pane, select Use hardware acceleration.
  • Note: Multiple processors and 64-bit processing won't render models faster; however, SketchUp can successfully run in emulation mode on 64-bit versions of both Windows and Mac OS X.

SketchUp settings

  • Keep SketchUp updated. You can check whether a new version of SketchUp is available in SketchUp under Help > Check for update... (PC) or SketchUp > Check web for update (Mac).
  • Get rid of unused data. Every time you use a texture or component, this data is stored in the SketchUp file. Based on this information, you can purge the SketchUp file, which also helps reduce file size:
    1. Click Window > Model Info. The Model Info dialog box will open.
    2. Click Statistics > Purge Unused.
  • Stick to simple styles. This point is so important that we wanted to mention it again. Use SketchUp's default styles to help SketchUp render as quickly as possible.

Tip: Check out the SketchUp Sage site for suggestions on improving SketchUp performance from the talented user community.