SketchUp training blog
Blog – What’s new in SketchUp 2020?

In January 2020 – six months shy of its 20th anniversary – SketchUp 2020 was released. Trimble (SketchUp’s developers) proclaimed on their website that “…there’s a lot to be excited about!”. This posts explores the enhancements SketchUp 2020 brings to see if lives up to Trimble’s hype.

Before looking at the feature updates, it’s worth mentioning some naming conventions that Trimble have introduced in SketchUp 2020:

  • ‘Objects’ is now a collective term for: groups, components and dynamic components.
  • Layers are now referred to as ‘tags’.

The way these elements work hasn’t changed – just what they’re called.

SketchUp Layout

The LayOut tool is used to create 2D drawings and plans from your SketchUp models. It has facilities for titling, dimensioning, overlaying detail views in one viewport, and printing to scale. Typically, you start in SketchUp, create your project and scenes to show the different views, and then use LayOut, add dimensions, labels, other text, perhaps photos or whatever.

Many of the enhancements made in 2020 relate to LayOut, including:

  • Improved interaction. The dynamic link between SketchUp and LayOut means that, as you edit the SketchUp model, the changes are automatically reflected in LayOut, saving you time and energy.
  • Better editing ability. LayOut understands a lot more about your SketchUp model and what you’ve overridden. Now you can change a style or camera angle in LayOut, and your changes are reflected in your model.
  • Tag visibility toggle. This removes the requirement to create extra scenes for just your LayOut files and switch between LayOut and SketchUp.
  • Override specific property sets. You can now override selected property sets in the SketchUp Model, whilst letting other property sets remain controlled by the scene assigned to the viewport.
  • Relinking Viewports. You can now relink a single viewport to a different SketchUp model, without affecting any of the other viewports in your document.

Combined, these enhancements to LayOut mean you can design more productively than before.

The Outliner

The Outliner lets you look at your model’s objects in a hierarchical tree, providing an easy-to-use facility to manage and organise your model.

The Outliner panel has been updated with a new column to toggle visibility of objects, so you don’t have to right-click or open the target object to hide it. This makes hiding/unhiding faster.

You can now show hidden tags in the Outliner. Right-clicking an object with a hidden tag offers an option to Show Hidden Tags, which turns on the visibility of the object’s tag.

The ability to rename a group or component by double-clicking on its name has been added.

Object Manipulations

Moving and rotating is a lot easier in SketchUp 2020. It now offers:

  • More inference points, to help you move things.
  • Grips on the corners of the bounding boxes, enabling quick and accurate placement.
  • Automatic transparency: when you grab a point in an object to move or rotate it, it automatically goes transparent.

Better control of hidden objects

The hiding of objects has been separated from the hiding of geometry, giving you the ability to better manage hidden geometry and hidden objects.

This means that you can, for example, edit hidden edges in a landscape or smoothed surface, whilst nearby objects, such as trees, bushes, buildings, etc., remain hidden.

Extension Warehouse

It’s been completely rebuilt. It’s now faster and quite an improvement all-round!

New Unit Types

Yards, Gallons, and Litres have been added as unit types.


As you can see, SketchUp doesn’t offer a plethora of earth-shattering features or an individual game-changer. What it does bring, though, is a range of welcome improvements that streamline processes, improve efficiency and make your day-to-day work easier.

Whether “…there’s a lot to be excited about” is another matter – I’ll leave that for you to decide!

Armada offers SketchUp training to users at all levels.

For information about our two-day introductory-level course, see Introduction to SketchUp.

For details about the follow-on SketchUp courses available, see SketchUp follow-on courses.

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