Big drawing management: Favorite way to create new sketches in the middle of a larger drawing?

I often find the need to make smaller sketches late in a larger drawing.
I currently find myself hiding the rest of the model, or worse- accidentally selecting part of my main model as a I try to make a quick new sketch… On top of that, I’m left with a mess of new construction lines…
In AutoCad, I used to simply open up a new drawing tab, and make a clean sketch there…

Straw poll: What is everyone’s favorite way to get you main model “out of the way” so you can sketch new parts?

Example: This project calls for me to replicate vintage (water damaged) cabinets in an existing kitchen.
I’m answering/solving installation questions within my layout, AS WELL AS designing actual parts as I go…


By modelling correctly with groups and components.

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One obvious way is to do exactly what you did in Autocad and then import the sketch if you need to.

I do think that one small annoyance with Sketchup is that you have to draw at least two entities before you can create a Group or Component. There is immediately a danger of interacting with the model. But like so many things, it is something you get used to.

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I find this confusing, I always try to think in parts, albeit it might be the same all along (you can never model the real world ‘an sich’, it’s always a visual representation of a thing or part)

That said, if you think of parts of a model, you can easily manage different levels of details by the use of Components. Components can be ‘Saved as’ through the rightclick contextmenu, or all components by creating a collection in a (sub) folder of your project.
You can the edit those parts in a seperate instance of SketchUp (on Windows, you must go to the file in the windows explorer and open it, on Mac, you can have different ‘tabs’.

Reload the component in the master model when done.
That way, you can easily explore design options, not only edited by yourself, but also in collaboration with others, have their options as well.


The method Mike suggests is what I tend to do also.
Keeps everything separate.


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I like “saved as” method and it creates a pivot point for ongoing design and modeling, even between different related models or versions of the design. Also it puts you working in a smaller model file that is smoother and faster.

I also make a component and drag a copy off to an empty area of the model quite often.

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Simply open another instance of SketchUp.
You can have as many instances of SketchUp running as your system can handle.

• Build what you need, make it a Component, and then right context click > Save As
• Bring the Component into the main model via the Components Browser.

That way, you develop a library of Components for future use.

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I do need to get more fluid with the components browser for sure, as your idea definitely makes sense…

Has anyone ever proposed a “new tab” option for SU?

My computer definitely struggles with one instance as it is…

Thanks again!

This is only true about the right-click context menu (and is maybe a bug in that specific case). The Edit menu and shortcut keys are able to create a component from a single edge:


Modeling technique has a tremendous impact upon model performance.

How do I make SketchUp run faster? — SketchUp Sage Site

Money can by you a fancy new system.
But only good technique can make SketchUp perform at top speed.

Steve, you are of course absolutely right. Can’t think why I had never noticed the difference between shortcut/menu and right click but now you have pointed it out, it does seem odd that they work differently.

However, my main point was that you cannot start a Group/Component without first drawing something that could get entangled with other geometry. It’s not really a big problem because you get used to the limitation quite quickly. But you can imagine a situation where you invoke the command and then start to work in the secluded environment without danger of affecting anything outside it.

If you are, all I can say is that you have strange dreams!

This is pretty typical. By the way, that is NOT a large model. A large model is 900,000 megs. (one of my current ones.)

You need to make better use of layers (sigh…tags)
I use a system similar to what the AIA used to recommend in AutoCAD days.

NEW =…NEW :upside_down_face:

Similarly, for your Casework

OK, so you have all your arch stuff…Walls, Doors, Windows (I use a combo layer called A-DOORWIND-NEW or A-DOORWIND-EXG), Casework, Entourage (artwork, pots and pans, plants, etc)
A-ENTG-NEW…etc…you get the point.

All your existing stuff, that goes on the A-CASE-EXG layer.
Maybe some of it wants to stay. OK…so it stays in the A-CASE-EXG layer
Then you have another layer A-DEMO-CASE (also other demo layers)
When you know that some cabinets are toast, change them to the A-DEMO-CASE layer)
It will be turned off in every view except demo plans/elevations and exiting conditions.

One cool trick I have come up with to avoid having to recreate all these layers in every new drawing…
Make a “schedule” of layers.
Make a list of layers using 2D text or Flat Text tools (Flat text will burn less memory that 2D text)
Now make a little circle or square…make it a component, because you will be making a lot of copies of it.
So your list of layers, as text lined up, will be like:
And so forth…with the initial circkle being a physical circle or square.

Make all these layers manually.
Try to keep stuff organized so they all “stack up” next to each other .

Now, put each little circle or square (and the text if you want) into the appropriate layer.
Got it all? Now make a component of the entire darned thing.
Call it something like “LAYERS TEMPLATE”, and save it where you keep your master files and stuff,

Now, when you open a new drawing…get rid of the stupid Eddy or Suzie…and insert that component.
Just keep it off to the side somewhere.
BINGO! You have all your pre-created layers all set up in your new drawing.
Lock it so you don’t delete the component or any layers completely by accident.
See how that works?

You can do the same thing with all the materials you use…your standard Cherry, Maple, Birch, Dark Granite, Light Granite, and so forth.
Then you will have all your standard materials in the new drawing and not have to go hunt and peck around for them.

To start…I hope you are at least Grouping EVERYTHING. Good!
Now learn to use components. Will make your life and workfklow so much better.
You make a component (or buy) of each type of stock casework. Each size. Save all to a master folder somewhere. the beauty of the components is twofold.
First, your file size will be way smaller and second you have the ability to edit just one of those suckers and they ALL will get edited.
So as you go on, you think, that ogee edge on the stiles and rails looks goofy…I’m just going to model these with a simple chamfer, You edit on of them and they all get edited. Cool. You can also make components within components…so that several components all use the same 16:" door…for example. So if you edit the stiles and rails on the 16" door, ALL components using the 16" door will have their door changed. You can start to get the sense of the power of components.
Similarly, you could have six different door pulls…each a separate component. One is a standard D-pull, one is a bar…etc. Put each of them on a separate layer…A-CASE-HDWE-PULLS- OPT01, A-CASE-HDWE-PULLS-OPT02…etc.
Now, form the master list of layers you can control the door pulls for the entire project. Turn off all of them except for the Option 2 pull. there you go…make a scene with that layer on and none of the others. Since each of those six “pulls” components appear in every single door component…well, you get the picture. It can be extremely powerful.

So to get back to your original question…
This is all done with layers and scene tabs, you can turn all sorts of layers on and off…assign it all to a scene tab and forget it.
Of course, you can also copy stuff off to the side and make separate models.
but then you are going to have to create new elevations and plans because the new stuff is in a different place.

Good rule of thumb…don’t hide anything!!! It’s a real PITA and creates all sorts of headaches down the road. There’s really no reason to use it for 99.99 percent of your work. so don’t.

hope that helps.

Oh one more thing…I probably don’t have to mention it…but EVERYTHING you draw, as you draw, is on Layer “0” or default. EVERYTHING! Why? Because if you deviate from this you will end up in a lunatic asylum sooner or later.
EVERYTHING you draw is going to end up being a Group…or a Component. GROUP EVERYTHING!!! And inside…it’s all Layer 0 goodness.

The only time Layers/tags come into play, is once something is drawn (in layer 0, right?!) and then grouped…that GROUP is put into a layer. This is probably the single most important piece of advice I give to new uses!
Everything is drawn in layer zero
Everything is Grouped.
And make them tattoo that on their forearm.

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All this has of course now changed since the release of SU 2020.1

You can now start an empty component and begin drawing inside it without having created anything first. Works well.