Place Shapes Toolbar
A toolbar for placing basic shapes (primitives)
Place Shapes Toolbar

This extension adds a toolbar (and some menu items) that lets you easily place several common 3D shapes (geometric primitives). While SketchUp’s native toolset allows you to create any of these shapes without too much effort, using this toolbar permits quick “solids-based” modeling where you only work with added and subtracted primitives to end up with a perfectly watertight object that poses no problems for 3D printing, for example.

The toolbar is also a good starter shape set for beginners and kids that want to dabble in 3D modeling but have no interest (yet) in learning e.g. the intricacies of the follow-me tool. To be honest, I made this extension because our daughter wanted to “make a penguin” and I was too lazy to explain the follow-me tool…

Before placing shapes, you can pick a base unit: foot, inch, mm, cm, m.


The easiest way to work with this extension is to show the “Place Shapes” toolbar and click on the shape you want to place. Alternatively use the Draw menu’s items. Most shapes will orient themselves based on the underlying geometry. You can also place multiple shapes – just go to the select tool (or hit the space bar or the Esc key) when you are done.

Once a shape has been placed, use the move and scale tools to work with it. If a shape doesn’t behave as you like, right-click on it and select “Unglue”. As you can see when placing any of the shapes, they all stick to the underlying geometry. You can also always explode a shape (using the right-click menu) to work with its raw geometry.

When you select a base unit from the dialog, all following placements will have that unit. Already placed items don't scale. This allows you to model small stuff (e.g. for 3D printing) or large stuff (e.g. buildings).

Some tips:

  • Turn on the X-ray face style (via the View menu) to enable snapping to hidden points.
  • Make hidden lines visible (View > Hidden Lines) to allow for more precise snapping.
  • These shapes work well with SketchUp Pro’s Solid Tools (intersect, union, subtract,…). All shapes are “solids” and if you work with only the shapes and the Solid Tools, then you will end up with a “solid” – perfect for 3D printing.
  • Use the 3D Text tool in SketchUp to add text to any of the shapes.

More Info and Help:


Last picture is extremely cute!

Andréanne L's picture


Works great but when I export my model in 3ds those shapes made my model unmanageable to the software in which I try to open it!

Dave B.'s picture

Very useful extension.
I watched the entire helpful movie.
Did notice that some features, as a Sketchup Make 2017 user, are not available to me.

Hello Alex,
Thank you very much for coming back to me.
Your advice worked absolutely perfectly.
It is much appreciated.
You wouldn't possibly consider something similar for gears?
I know I am pushing my luck but I thought I would give it a try.
Thank you very much anyway. It is an excellent tool.
Kind regards,

I want to draw a capsule, the kind you use for medication.
I managed to put a dome on a cylinder.
How do I get rid of the line between the dome and the cylinder.
I do not have Sketchup Pro.
Thank you.

alexschreyer's picture

You need to use the "Outer Shell" tool to combine both shapes. Then edit the resulting component and go into the erase command. then Shift-click the line and it will disappear visually.

thank you for the video the tools is useful
I am working on interlacing "with model" a 3d geometry "creditcard microship lines style in 3d "
on a 3d cone so by using "place space toolbar" is there a way to actually have the cone as 800s

as usually I was create a circle and make it 800s then create a triangle on the base ring and then use follow me, I found this plugging very convenient It will be a pleasure to have a little hint for making the cone as 800s and then re scale to the final size 11 diameter by 17 height?

thank you alex for your help

Dan K's picture

So great thanks! :)

NIce job!

Minh N.'s picture

Thank you so much!

Vlad C.'s picture

gmm, sketchup keeps "quitting unexpectedly" after placing several objects. is there any solution?

is it working w/ the latest version of SUp only?

thank you

alexschreyer's picture

Could you tell me which version of SU and operating system you are using? This is a bit odd if lets you place some and then quits.

Vlad C.'s picture

i am running OSX ElCapitan 10.11.4
my SU v.16.0.19913

exactly, it lets me put 5 or 7 objects then crashes.

thank you for your reply,
looking forward to your answer

still great extension)

alexschreyer's picture

Two things you can try: There was a maintenance release for v16. It should come in as You could try updating. Also, open the Ruby Console window and leave it open while you place the items. See if you can glance an error before SU crashes.

Vlad C.'s picture

thank you for your answer
i'll try there)

Vlad C.'s picture

great ext, thank you author

EDER ANGELO S.'s picture

Alex, your extension is great, but not are complete, you can put a lot of shape.... Sketchup is an big program but in start is very hard, to do shape, curve is very hard, spiral is hard.... i think you have capacity to put more shaps . You can put an list complete how in word. or put possibility put in variable angle ... put image how tube curve 90°... oh my god, a lost 2 hours with an curve !

pleasy, urgent is curve in cylinder.

alexschreyer's picture

There are certainly more shapes and I may expand my list in the future. However, it is meant as a simple way to get into modeling. If you want more control over creating shapes, check out SketchUp's shapes extension or any of the spiral extensions.

Hi, how do you change the number of segments that a sphere is drawn with, after placing the sphere? Is it possible? Thanks

alexschreyer's picture

That is not possible with this extension. You may be able to do that with SketchUp's own Shapes extension (which uses dialogs).

Jb S.'s picture

This works exactly as promised. I would though like to see the ability to set the components dimensions at creation time.

for example when placing cube have the ability to enter width, depth, and height and direction of axis such as x,y or z,x etc.

this would save woodworkers who are not computer artists so much time!


alexschreyer's picture

I just published version 1.1 where you can pick the default unit from a set (inch, foot, mm,...). That should help you. If you need to enter exact values, then use SketchUp's Shapes extension instead.

Jb S.'s picture


Amanda B's picture

Best shape tools ever, variety and well put together! Thanks so much!

purea b's picture

It works perfectly, thank you!

Thanh D's picture

very nice . very thanks a lot of :)

cristian fabian j's picture

lo chupa

Clayton T.'s picture

To all,

Just tried to install for SUPro-2016 & it say's..."not compatible with my current version".
Therefore please confirm status as the install panel suggests it is compatible with 2016 !!

Over & out,

alexschreyer's picture

That is odd. I set it as compatible and that should take care of it. Do you have your Extensions Loading Policy set to anything other than "Unrestricted"?

Clayton T.'s picture

Hi Alex,

Thats' a new one on me, what's an Extensions Policy & where do I find this to set as Unrestricted, if it isn't...?

My system by the way is WinPro-7-64bit.

Over & out,

Ps. Alex, I tried again this morning with a fresh install & computer system clean-up/restart, all loaded ok. I'll now give this Extension a go & report back. Thanks.

alexschreyer's picture

Good to hear it works. Must have been some old version somewhere in the download pipeline.

Kurt M.'s picture

Good extension, but I think should be better that shapes were created as groups instead of components.
If you create a box and then you edit the box, all subsequent boxes will contain the changes you made to the original one.

alexschreyer's picture

Hi Kurt,

Thanks for your feedback. Interesting point, however, I was envisioning folks to use the shapes by placing, copying, scaling, and with the solid tools, which all works without needing to edit "inside" the component. You can always make a component unique, too. But maybe there should be at least the option to have these as groups...

Kurt M.'s picture

You're right Alex, but remember solid tools are only available in Pro version of Sketchup, so some transformation could require editing the shape itself to get expected results in the free version. Of course you can make a component unique to work on it without affecting the others, but if the shape is a group from the beginning, you get all the benefits already provided, without this drawbacks or extra steps needed.
Anyway, this is only a suggestion, and I totally agree with you there are ways to get what we want with the extension as it is now. This is just a simplification in some process paths ;)

alexschreyer's picture

Good point about the free version. I'll see how I can modify the plugin to work better with it.

Ariel G.'s picture


dario C.'s picture

please, explain me how to install PLACE SHAPES TOOLBAR because, I download a file .rbz but I don' t know how to apply it.

I' m sorry for my english, I hope to be clear...

thanks in advance for the answer


alexschreyer's picture

No problem. Just go to the Window > Preferences menu and select the Extensions tab. Then click on the button that says "Install Extension".


NotAvailable N.'s picture

Handy and quick, life is too short.


elena g's picture


michel A.'s picture

Thanks a lot !

Chestina's picture

Thank You

jonk's picture

This and the smoothing feature are very helpful.

Fereydoon M's picture

thank you so much.

David H's picture

thank you!

kt s's picture

Thanks a lot....Usefull....'s picture

Genius.... ta

Markus T's picture


ezz e's picture

thanks a lot. that works nicely.

29287 users
299.61 KB
Place Shapes Toolbar (1.2); July 21, 2017
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Extensions: 7
I am a Senior Lecturer at the University of Massachusetts and author of the book "Architectural Design with SketchUp". My favorite topics are SketchUp, AEC-CAD/BIM, Wood Engineering, Web Design, and Photography.