A Better Way to Print Full Size in SketchUp

Introduction: A Better Way to Print Full Size in SketchUp

About: I am a woodworker, blogger and YouTube content creator. I love woodworking, problem solving and designing new things.

It might be easier to see how I do this by watching the video: My SketchUp Video

I like SketchUp. It was invaluable when I designed my Adjustable Height Workbench and I used it to develop the initial workbench plans for it, too.

One of the things that makes SketchUp so appealing is that there is an abundance of inexpensive and free training material available for it. However, as good as the available training material is, I have seen some pretty mediocre descriptions on how to print scale drawings of your models from SketchUp. This is a shame, because the ability to print precise and accurate full scale drawings of your models is an extremely useful feature! That is why I decided to produce this tutorial.

For this example I will use a model that I made for a tri-pod dolly.

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Step 1: Set the View to What You Want to See in Your Drawing

SketchUp will print exactly what is shown on the screen. So, it is important that your screen shows the view that you want to see in your drawing. You "could" just rotate the model around until it looks good. But, there is a better way and this is something that is missing from some of the other Print-to-Scale tutorials.

SketchUp can automatically snap the model to show just one face, and this is more accurate and precise than doing it manually. It is also easier!

Here is how to do that:

  • Go to the "Camera" drop down menu.
  • Hoover your mouse over "Standard Views" and a fly-out menu will appear with several options.
  • Click on the view/perspective that you want to display in your drawing. When you do this your model will snap to that orientation (as in the third photo)

NOTE: Just below "Standard Views" is "Parallel Projection". Parallel Projection is the default, but it is a good idea to make sure that Parallel Projection is checked.

Step 2: Select the Print Settings

Once your model is set to the desired perspective then you are ready to set the print parameters.

Go to the "File" menu and click on "Print Preview" and the Print Preview box will appear.

The important part on this is the "Print Size" option box. Three things in that box must be set properly for your drawing to print the way you want it to.

  1. Make sure that "Fit to Page" is UN-checked
  2. Make sure that "Use Model Extents" IS checked
  3. Make sure the "Scale" is set the way you want your drawing to look.
    • For a full size drawing put a "1" the box where it says "In the printout".
    • Then put a "1" in the box where is says "In SketchUp"
    • Then click "OK"
      • (If you wanted something different than full scale, say 1/4 scale for example, then you would put a 4 in the "In SketchUp" box.)

Step 3: Preview and Print

When you click "OK" you will see something that looks like this photo. This is the Print Preview Screen, but it might not look quite the way you expected it to. The truth is that SketchUp is not very efficient with paper usage. While developing this article and video I printed this same model from the same perspective several times. Sometimes it took nine sheets of paper, sometimes it took twelve sheets of paper, and sometimes it only needed six. Regardless, the actual image was always dead on accurate and I put all the blank pages back into my printer. The easiest and simplest thing to do now is just hit the print button!

Step 4: Assemble Your Print

After the paper comes out of your printer you will have to assemble the pieces together.

The first photos shows how the pages looked immediately after I removed them from the printer.

If you look closely at the print you will notice that there is a small margin between the end of the printed lines and the edge of the paper. This margin makes it very difficult to precisely align the pages together.

It is much easier to assemble if you remove the margin first. I remove the margin by cutting right up to the end of the printed lines with a pair of scissors. The photo with the very large gaps between the sheets shows how the pages looked immediately after I trimmed the margin.

The last photo shows how the print looked after trimmed the margins and taped the pieces together.

Thanks for taking the time to read until the end of my Instructable. Please leave a comment and let me know if you have any ideas on how I could improve. I would also love to hear if you have any cool tricks for SketchUp!

Also, I think it is easier to see how to do this by watching my video on this: My SketchUp Video

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    6 Discussions


    Reply 6 weeks ago

    Same here. The scale boxes won’t allow me to make a change. Fit to page is unchecked, use model extents is checked. Printer is set right. Very strange.

    Charlie Kocourek
    Charlie Kocourek

    Reply 3 years ago

    The only time I have had that problem is when "Fit to Page" is still checked or if "Use Model Extents" is not checked. Please let me know if you got it to work.


    1 year ago

    I wonder if you have any insight on why the parameters of the print preview page are blank for me. I suspect several reasons: 1. I am use the Sketchup Make 2017 for free and this is just their way of forcing me to buy the Pro; 2. My printer is not set up; 3. I made some choice elsewhere in the program that caused that to happen. Below is an image of it. Wonder if you can help. Thanks.

    Charlie Kocourek
    Charlie Kocourek

    Reply 1 year ago

    HI, I suspect that the problem is that your printer is not set up. I noticed that your "printer name" is Microsoft print to PDF. My guess is that once you select a specific printer that the parameters will become available. Let me know how it goes.




    2 years ago

    Exactly what I was looking for. Explained beautifully. Thanks a lot !!

    For the part in your explanation where you wish to reduce or control the number of blank pages printed, you can check out this video on youtube:-