Some time ago, I discussed moving components and materials folders out of the typical location that SketchUp places them.  This can ease backing them up, organizing them, and reviewing them.  One thing that has been difficult is having a common place where you can keep all of  your plugins up-to-date between computers (say, your desktop and your laptop).  Online “Cloud” storage can solve this.

First, you will need a program that can make a folder on the cloud appear as if it is a local folder (creating shortcuts from a cloud service to a local folder won’t work).  Link Shell Extension (LSE) works on all versions of Microsoft Windows that support NTFS version 5.0 or better.  It works so well in fact, your computer won’t know that it has made a special link between the cloud services and your SketchUp program location.  Here is where to get  Link Shell Extension:

Follow the directions on the website to install it.

Second, here are the steps for linking cloud storage to SketchUp plugins:

Open Windows Explorer.  Copy your Plugins folder from your SketchUp program folder to your cloud storage space.  Then right click over the Plugins folder.  Click on Pick Link Source (this is a new function from LSE).  Then go back your SketchUp program folder.  Right click on Drop as… then Junction.  Open SketchUp and it should find the plugins from the cloud.

Third, many of the online “cloud” storage services have upgraded their in the last few weeks.  The amount of free storage and functionality varies (as doesUpdate upload time). Will online storage affect the amount of time it takes to open SketchUp when your plugins load?  Well, not very much.   I uploaded the same 22.5 mb of plugins to Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft SkyDrive.  They were all within a tenth of each other (6.8 seconds) opening SketchUp with Google maybe slightly faster.  Typical load time with the same amount of plugins from my desktop was 6.4 seconds, so using cloud storage did not greatly affect the plugin load time when opening SketchUp or even using the plugins.

Note: Paul Russam and Andrea Bianco were the first to offer directions on using Dropbox and Symbolic Links at:

Next blog I’ll share techniques for “xref’ing” SketchUp and using the cloud as a virtual collaborative office.