Pros / Extremely intuitive layout makes SketchUp Pro one of the easiest CAD programs to use.
Cons / SketchUp Pro lacks many architectural tools like a house wizard and wall tool.
Verdict / Thanks to the thousands of models in its 3D Warehouse and intuitive toolbars, designers of all skill levels will find SketchUp Pro to be one the easiest and fastest CAD software programs for creating and editing 2D and 3D designs.
The phrase "easy CAD software" might sound like a misnomer, but in the case of SketchUp Pro, it's the truth. SketchUp Pro's real forte is how simple it is to use. Large icons and customizable toolbars make it easy for even CAD beginners without taking away the powerful tools professionals need to create works of art. Despite its lack of a house wizard, a tool that walks you through the process of designing a house, this software makes it easy to create designs of all kinds. Though its overall feature package is quite impressive, we would have liked to have seen more architectural tools. SketchUp Pro excels in designing and editing 2D and 3D concepts.
What makes SketchUp Pro unique is your access to Trimble's 3D Warehouse, which is full of thousands of models you can download. So, you'll have access to plenty of shared files and a growing number of designs. SketchUp Pro has other built-in features such as textures, lighting effects and animations for when you present your designs. Plugins are available for advanced photorealistic rendering in addition to the built-in rendering styles. There are architectural tools to help you create your building plans, however; a wall tool and house wizard are two noticeable omissions that would have given this software an even more powerful edge in the architectural field.
The focus of SketchUp's features are mainly geared toward 3D designing, but SketchUp Pro still has the same tools as 2D CAD software. Useful features include color and text editing and a layer manger. Editing is even easier due to the number of icons and toolbars you can add to the navigation. Style, measurement and layer toolbars make editing easier as you can quickly switch between functions and apply styles faster.
Ideally, computer-aided design software should be as intuitive as drawing with pen and paper. SketchUp Pro is one of the easiest programs to maneuver around on our CAD software list. Tool palettes are completely customizable, and you can add, remove or rearrange palettes around however you like. Instead of lists of features, large icons indicate tools which makes them fast and easy to find.
Features like the setup manager, macro recordings and import capabilities also make working with SketchUp Pro more convenient. SketchUp Pro does have a command line, but as with most CAD software, the command line is not the most user-friendly feature as it requires you to know and use specific command functions.
SketchUp Pro is compatible with a decent range of file types including AutoCAD’s DWF and DXF files. You’ll also be able to use the 3D printing STL file, PDF and image files using this software. SketchUp Pro also has a mobile app, which allows you to organize and view your models from your phone. This can come in handy when interacting with customers as you can easily show them your designs.
Even though this CAD software is one of the easiest programs to use among its competitors, CAD software is complex by nature and having good support options is important. This CAD software program is backed by some great support features. Technical support is free for the first year of your license, and you can reach support staff via email or online ticket. Although it’s obviously preferable to have unlimited free technical support, one year should give you plenty of time to become adept at using the software while the technical support is still free. If you'd prefer to have unlimited technical support, you might want to consider purchasing TurboCAD Deluxe. Phone numbers aren't listed on the Trimble website, but you can request a number for support through email. The manual, forum and numerous tutorial videos all do a great job of covering the topics and tools you'll need to know how to design with SketchUp Pro.
SketchUp Pro is a great choice for anyone that is new to computer-aided design. The layout of SketchUp Pro is very intuitive and easy to use, even for the least knowledgeable CAD designers. The 3D Warehouse is a great resource that will provide a generous supply of models and symbols to choose from and work with.