Tools for making and editing FlatText and FlatLeader objects.
  • Feature Comparison

We LOVE SketchUp! But the text, not so much.

Because SketchUp text is a "face me" object, it jumps around and will not stay put as you orbit your model. And because no two apps show text the same way, it is hard to get WYSIWYG text output to printers or CAD. So we invented FlatText.

This is lettering done Old School.

Like 3D Text, it goes where you put it, and stays there. Unlike 3D Text, you can edit everything about it.

If you export a lot of text to CAD, this is a great way to get true WYSIWYG performance. No more cleaning up your text in CAD. You can even set the colors of the text, leader lines, and arrowheads. Pretty cool!

FlatText comes with five built-in fonts, and you can get free font packs with several more fonts here.

Watch the videos to see FlatText and FlatLeader at work. You can download a sample file here.

Professional features added to Version 4.0:

Application Default Preferences. Now you can save your FlatText and FlatLeader preferences so they'll be used every time you start a new model. A great way to maintain company standards, or just get things working the way you like them to! Look under the FlatText and FlatLeader menus for the "Save Prefs as Default" command.

Adjustable preview text. When you're using FlatLeader, there's a bit of floating text that moves with the cursor to tell you what the leader note will say when you make it. This text can be hard to see. Now you can tell FlatLeader how big to make this text. Under the FlatLeader menu, select "Preview Text Size..." and enter a size number in points.

- API method #text_in_a_box. You can now make a FlatText from inside another plugin. Coders, read the how-to file here.

Cool features from previous versions:

- Colored backgrounds. If you want your FlatText (and the FlatText in your FlatLeaders) to be opaque, so that it hides things behind it, or if you just want your FlatText to be prettier, select a color for the background rectangle. You can also set the width of this rectangle to be the full Paragraph Width or the Minimum Width of the text.

- Draft Font - DPSimple is a drop-in replacement for AHSimplex. Same size glyphs, with half as many edges!

- Find and Replace - Search and replace text in FlatText and FlatLeader objects. You can search in all visible objects or just the ones you select.

- Multi-object Revise - The FT & FL Revise tools work on all visible objects or just the ones you select.

- Support for international character sets (Unicode).

- "Lossless" substitutions. If a FlatText font doesn't include a character you typed, FlatText will insert a "wanted poster" showing the character's image and unicode number.

Download your free trial today and see why the best 3D text is FlatText!


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David P's picture

I think Jackie is saying that FlatText is better than eight indoor antennas and eight cheap monitors.
High praise indeed! :-)

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David P's picture

I wouldn't click on those links for a thousand bucks!

Daniel's picture

Hi, David P

Could you Set the Frames and numbers to the different layer? That i can hide them when i use Chinese Fonts in FlatText. Thanks!!


David P's picture

Hi Daniel,
Interesting idea, but I would rather not add a layer to your model (and to all of its scenes). FlatFont glyphs are just in Layer0, like all good components should be.
Here are a couple other ideas you could try:
1. Put the numbers and frames in another layer yourself. You only need to do this once for each glyph, and all the others your model will be that way. Save the model as a template and it will be preloaded with your altered Wanted Posters for use on other projects.
2. Make your own FlatText font. Then there are no frames or numbers at all. Here's a link to the instructions:

Jason H's picture

Hi, I'm a big fan, but please make it SU2018 compatible. It crashes out big time. Cheers

David P's picture

After a bit of troubleshooting (thanks, Jason!), this appears to be an issue with FlatText's text editing window not playing nice with Windows 10 in certain cases. We just posted a bug fix that ought to solve the issue.
- Dave

Daniel's picture

Hi ,David P

I use Chinese, and can't show them well , there have frame and number in each text, why??


David P's picture

Hi Daniel,
Those framed characters you are seeing are "wanted posters" from FlatText's lossless substitution feature.
Every FlatText character (glyph) was lovingly hand-crafted by our crack team of volunteer fontographers. Unfortunately, they only did the Roman alphabet and a few of the more commonly used Greek characters, like pi. There are thousands of other characters in the Unicode character set, including Chinese.
When FlatText encounters a character that is not in the font you are using, it makes a "wanted poster" of it using SketchUp's 3D text. The number you see is the decimal Unicode number of the missing character.
You can use these wanted poster glyphs as a guide to make your own FlatText glyphs. The instructions for doing this can be found by following the "additional fonts" link above.
If you do make a Chinese font for FlatText, we would love for you to share it on the 3D Warehouse!
Best regards,
Dave P

Jodi L's picture

Hi, I would like to uninstall FlatText as I'm not using it as I thought I would and the Free Trial expired. Now I'm getting two error messages upon starting SketchUp and Uninstalling through the Warehouse hasn't yielded any results either. Can you send a list of all the files, extensions and where the files are embedded in my C: so I can manually remove? Thanks.

David P's picture

Hi Jodi,

FlatText follows the Extension Warehouse guidelines, so everything is in your Plugins folder. There's a file named 'dp_flat_text.rb' and a folder named 'dp_flat_text.' Delete those two things and you're done.

The location of your Plugins folder depends on your operating system. See the Extension Warehouse help pages for directions for finding your Plugins folder.

Matt G.'s picture

Hi there, very useful plugin, thanks.

However, for some reason I have dotted lines above and below each character. Is there any way of stopping this as I have to go back in, select each character and delete the lines?

Kind regards


David P's picture

Sounds like you have View->Hidden Geometry turned on.

All FlatText glyphs have hidden lines at their top and bottom edges, so that FlatText knows how big they are.
Turn off Hidden Geometry and the lines will disappear.


JohnMcC's picture

Works very well, and I like it a lot.

A few suggestions for improvement, but I don't know if they are possible:
1. Extend the Select All Flat Text and Find and Replace menus, to search within (only selected) Components or Groups (at least one level down, perhaps to a user-selectable depth) to find and Revise, Edit, or Find and Replace FlatText. Otherwise, I found when I wanted to change the size (scale) of all the FlatText I'd just entered, I had to select each FlatText labelled component, open it for editing, find the Edit or the Revise FlatText menu, change the font size/scale etc as required, then do it all over again for each different component. Too easy to make inconsistent changes, and more time consuming than necessary.
2. Perhaps present the last-edited text as the default in the Place in Model text box, instead of the fixed text set in Preferences? And anyway, highlight it when the dialogue opens, so you can overtype without having to erase the existing text first.
3. Default the Height scale to equal the Width scale if you change Width, then tab or click into Height, and leave Height highlighted so you can overtype it if needed.

David P's picture

Thanks for the great suggestions, John! Here are some replies:
1. I may try something like this in a future release. Meantime, try not embedding FlatText and FlatLeader objects that you plan to edit in groups or components. In my work, I put them in their own layers, so I can have different sized FTs & FLs for different scale views of the model.
2. You can always select an existing FT or FL and use it to set your default message. Just select the FT or FL, then select the corresponding Preferences command. As for highlighting, when you Revise a FT or FL, the message is highlighted in the dialog box. When you Edit a FT, just use your usual "select all" keys.
3. This is a bit more control than SketchUp's dialog box routines allow for. All we can do is set things up ahead of time, then deal with the results after the User hits "OK." If the Trimble folks will enhance this in a future version, we'll be sure to take advantage!

Bill T's picture

What is the process of creating your own font? I need a stencil style font, do you know if there is one available anywhere?

Thanks You.

David P's picture

Hi Bill,
We don't have a Stencil font, but you can make one of your own.
I've put up an instruction sheet here:

Bill T's picture


I'm rather slow to adopt to new versions of Sketchup I have Sketchup 2015, and 2016 installed on my computer. When I first installed flat text I did so to 2015, is there a way to get it to work in 2016 as well?

David P's picture

To install your extensions into SketchUp 2016, start the program (make sure you're running 2016 and not 2015), open the Extension Warehouse window, sign in to the Extension Warehouse, select My Extensions from the user menu, and click the Install All option.
I know you can run your extension on two different computers, but I'm not sure you can run it in two versions of SketchUp on the same computer. You might need to ask Extension Warehouse support to get that question answered.

Lê V.'s picture

Hi, i made a payment and got receipt email from SketchUp Extension Warehouse but cant find where to download your plugin?

David P's picture

Hi, and thanks for buying FlatText!

To install FlatText, run SketchUp, go to the Window menu, and select Extension Warehouse. When the EW window opens, go to the upper-right corner and click on "Sign in." Be sure to sign in with the same email and password you used when you purchased FlatText! The link will become a pop-up menu. Select "My Extensions" and FlatText should appear in the list, along with a link to install it.

If any of this doesn't work, please contact Extension Warehouse support and they'll help you out.

Best regards,
Dave P

Lê V.'s picture

I got it, Thanks so much

Jay C's picture

Can't uninstall 0/10

David P's picture

Hi Jay,

Please contact our tech support email, dave@buildeon.com, and I'll see what we can do to help.


Fanz Josef S's picture

Hello David,
thanks for your script and for giving the opportunity to try the full version of FlatText.

I'm running it on a WIN7-maschine.
It works quite well, but:

1. It swallows all my zeros "0"! In fact I can see them, when I try to correct the error, but they do not appear in my sketch.
2. I can not write German letters like: "öÖäÄüÜß". It draws several black boxes one of these Letters. If I try to correct or delete these boxes, it leaves blanks and I can not delete them either. So I got to rewrite the whole text.


David P's picture

Hi Franz,

Version 3.0 adds support for many international characters, including all the German letters and punctuation, and we've added a new way to identify missing letters as well!

Best regards,

Kourosh P's picture

Great extension.

Does it get transferred to a rendering program like Kerkythea?

Thank you in advance.

David P's picture

Good question!

FlatText font glyphs are SketchUp components, so they render just like any other components. A glyph can be any component - it doesn't even need to be flat!

The fonts that come with FlatText are made of just edges, no faces. If your renderer does not recognize edges, you will need to make your own font that uses faces.

Then share it with the rest of us! ;-)

Kourosh P's picture

Thank you David for your reply.
I am going to try the free version and see how it looks like in Kerkythea, and purchase the full version. It would be very handy for my work, I am a Hardscaper and when I do my Sketchup models for my quotes, I even do a Step by Step Outline what is happening in which area. For that, I divide the model in sections.
Is it possible to "point" to something with FlatText or any plans in upcoming versions for "pointing" to something?

Thank you David.


David P's picture

FlatLeader is coming soon!

Bruce L's picture

Great extension. We like to include a model no with our SketchUp components. Replaces very tedious workflow where we were importing the model number as a dwg file/one-line vector font (from onelinefonts.com). Thanks.

yunqiang z's picture

can't enter Chinese,maybe you should consider the issue about coding

David P's picture

We now support Unicode with UTF-8 encoding, which includes many languages. We still need to add support for right-to-left and top-to-bottom flows. Stay tuned!