SketchUp has lots of little nuances that can go unnoticed.  One of them is SketchUp’s ability to use fonts.  Typically we would think of fonts as adding annotations to our models or from time-to-time using a font to create 3D text, say for a sign.  But there are many kinds of fonts out there including some of people in silhouette, rock and boulders, and plants symbols.  So by finding the right font, you can grow your SketchUp component library!

Here are some of the fonts that can expand your component library:


Most of these are Truetype fonts, but there are Postscript versions (some for Macs too).  The files can be added to your Fonts directory by a right-click on Install.  Now head over to SketchUp.

1.       Push-Pull a box to a height of 6’.   Average height of a US adult male is 5’10” and an adult female is 5’5”, the average height for other countries can be used as well. 

2.       Click on Place 3D Text – the A symbol on the Main menu bar.  Next scroll down to one of your new fonts.  I’m showing ND_Urban II. 

3.       Don’t select Extrude Text, we’ll want this to be a 2D component that will rotate with the camera.  The box allows you to tip up the font and then get it to the right scale.  And as you can see, the fonts will cast a cutout shadow saving you time. 

4.       Explode it and then Hide the edges (if you like) and add a little color if you wish. 

5.       Right-click again and Make Component.  You can name the component, Set the Component Axes, and DO check Always face camera (this will rotate the component so you always see the front no matter where the camera view is). 

6.       With that, Make Component and continue to expand your Component Library! 

The interesting thing with using fonts is you can use them in your various workflows and programs:  you can bring them in to CAD (and export components as .dwg’s from SketchUp with the Pro version) and also use the fonts in Photoshop.  So finding good fonts can rapidly allow you to expand the symbols/Components you have at your disposal!