How Do I Create a SketchUp Plugin?

Creating a SketchUp Plugin

SketchUp is a powerful 3D modeling software that allows you to create stunning designs and models. While the software itself offers a wide range of features, you may find yourself in need of additional functionality that is not available out of the box. This is where plugins come into play.

What is a SketchUp Plugin?

A SketchUp plugin is an external piece of code that extends the functionality of the software. It allows you to add new tools, automate repetitive tasks, and enhance your workflow. Plugins can be created using the Ruby programming language, which has been integrated into SketchUp.

Getting Started

Before you start creating your own SketchUp plugin, make sure you have a basic understanding of Ruby programming. If you are new to Ruby, it’s recommended to go through some tutorials or online courses to familiarize yourself with the language.

Once you are comfortable with Ruby, follow these steps to create your own SketchUp plugin:

Step 1: Set Up Your Development Environment

  • Install SketchUp: Download and install the latest version of SketchUp from the official website.
  • Install a Text Editor: Choose a text editor that supports Ruby syntax highlighting. Some popular options include Sublime Text, Visual Studio Code, and Atom.

Step 2: Create a New Ruby File

  • Create a Folder: Create a new folder on your computer where you will store your plugin files.
  • Create a New File: Inside the folder, create a new file with a .rb extension. This will be your main plugin file.

Step 3: Write Your Plugin Code

Open the newly created file in your text editor and start writing your plugin code. The code should be written in Ruby and follow the SketchUp API guidelines.

Here’s a basic template to get you started:

module MyPlugin
def self.my_tool
# Your code here

# Other methods or classes here

# Register the plugin with SketchUp
Sketchup.register_extension(MyPlugin, true)

Replace `MyPlugin` with a unique name for your plugin. Inside the `my_tool` method, you can write the functionality for your plugin, such as creating geometry or modifying existing models.

Step 4: Test Your Plugin

Save the file and launch SketchUp. Go to the “Extensions” menu and select “Extension Manager”.

Click on “Install Extension” and navigate to your plugin file. Select the file and click “OK” to install your plugin.

Once installed, you should be able to find your plugin under the “Extensions” menu. Test it out by running any functionality you have implemented.


Creating a SketchUp plugin can greatly enhance your productivity and allow you to tailor the software to your specific needs. By following these steps and exploring the SketchUp API documentation, you will be well on your way to creating powerful plugins that take your designs to new heights.