A window or "Tray" for groups?


Is there a way to create a tray for groups (specifically NOT components) either in sketchup or through the use of one of the plugins/extensions?

I have asked some questions before regarding my problem but still being new to sketchup, sometimes i’m not looking at the problem the right way or i don’t understand how to ask the right question.

I come from years of using MS Visio so i am used to having a window that has all of my pre-drawn “stencils” and when i would grab on and drag it onto the main drawing area I would have a new object not linked to anything and ready to be edited in any way without consequence to other parts of my drawing.

I understand the power of components and they are useful for some of what i do. but when i need to make multiple unique versions of the beams that im working with (so i can change the length) every time i “make unique” it adds a copy to the component window, and now im sorting through 400 copies of the same object in the component window just to find one of the components i do actually need.

I guess just like framing a house (in skectchup) i would not want create every 2x4 from scratch but if i make a 2x4 component things get messy fast.

Thanks for the help


I’m not aware of any way to display groups without components in an (apparently standard) tray. But a couple of things come to mind:

  • Groups DO display in the Outliner tray (which you can also use to rename a group), but they are mixed in with component instances.

  • It can be annoying to have a “2x4” component that - should you edit it - changes every instance. But there is a solution! You can separate components from it’s “brothers” by selecting it, then right clicking on it and selecting “Make Unique” from the context menu pop-up. If you select more than one instance, they are collectively split off to their own connected set of components. So you could have a “2 x 4 Full Stud”, “2 x4” Cripple Stud", (etc.) components. Want to change your wall height throughout your design? Edit any “2x4 Full Stud” component and they all change. Want to change the height above the floor of all your windows? Edit the “2 x 4 Cripple Stud” and they’ll all change.

One warning: Keeping the Outliner Tray open slows down redrawing of your model!


You can scale groups and components without affecting other instances.


You could group the content inside the component and then explode the components once you’ve placed it.


What you do not yet realize is that groups are “special” components whose component definition has a “group” property set true. Groups are designed specifically so that their definitions do not appear in the Component Browser’s “In Model” collection listing.

Also, they basically were meant originally to have one one instance. But then it was recognized that often several might exist that are the same. But once there are more than one group instance, if you double-click one to edit it, it is automatically made unique (ie, a unique definition is created) and then you begin editing that group definition’s entities collection. (Ie, instances don’t own entities; definitions have the entities collections that you edit. This is done transparently from the user’s point of view. Whenever you are in an editing context, you are actually editing a definition not an instance.)

I’d make a dynamic component that had the 2" and 4" dimensions static, and could only scale or stretch in the longitudinal direction.


DanRathburn, THANK YOU!!!

I have been struggling with components vs. groups since day one.

I have far more programming experience than design/modeling exp, so I appreciate your explanation.

Also thank you to everyone who helped me along the way


If you learn to understand the API, you’ll better understand how SketchUp handles things “under the covers”.


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