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How to View Your Google SketchUp Model in Google Earth

After you make (or simply position) a Google SketchUp model on top of a geo-location snapshot, sending it to your copy of Google Earth is a simple operation. And after you do that, you can save your model as a Google Earth KMZ file and e-mail it to all your friends. If you model for clients instead of friends, you can send the file to them, too.

Exporting from SketchUp to Google Earth

This process is so simple you can probably figure it out while you talk on the phone. Follow these steps to send your model from SketchUp to Google Earth on your computer:

  1. Choose File, Preview in Google Earth.

    Doing this sends everything in your modeling window (with the exception of the geo-location snapshot) over to Google Earth. Your computer automatically switches to Google Earth and flies you in so that you look at your model.

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  2. If you want to make changes to your model, go back to SketchUp, make your changes, and then choose Preview in Google Earth again.

    Google Earth pops up a dialog box that asks whether you want to overwrite the old version of the model you placed the first time.

  3. Click the Yes button if you’re sure that’s what you want to do.

  4. Continue to go back and forth between SketchUp and Google Earth until your model looks exactly the way you want.

When you preview your SketchUp model in Google Earth, it’s visible only on your computer — no one else can see it. If you’ve modeled an existing building and you want to contribute it to Earth’s default 3D Buildings layer, you can.

Saving your model as a Google Earth KMZ file

You can save your SketchUp model as a Google Earth KMZ file that you can send to anyone. When someone opens the KMZ file, Google Earth opens on his computer (if he has Google Earth), and he’s “flown in” to look at the model you made. Try sending directions to your next party this way. Follow these steps to save your model:

  1. In Google Earth, select your model by clicking it in the Temporary Places list on the left of the screen.

    Unless you’ve renamed it, your model is SUPreview1.

  2. Choose File, Save, Save Place As.

  3. Give your file a name and figure out where to put it on your hard drive.

  4. Click the Save button to save your model as a KMZ file.

You can skip the Google Earth step altogether if you’re in a hurry. Choose File, Export, 3D Model while you’re still in SketchUp, then choose Google Earth File (.kmz) from the Format drop-down list.

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