Groups & Components

Hello Community

Just a quick question I’m studying a book “ Sketchup to Layout” by Matt Donley and it whole he is discussing getting your model ready for Layout he states that When making your model you can use groups to simplify the model into sections because you can edit edit groups easier but my question is if there not components you can’t really label them

is there a way to get both Use the group section tool and label the parts so ultimately when using the cut list tool your list had the wood and part name in it

Sorry I hope this makes sense

When you create a group it gets the name “Group”. Every group will have the same name so obviously that makes a cut list nearly worthless. You can name groups after they are created by selecting them and changing their name in Entity Info.

If you look at my rework of your model, you’ll see that all the parts are components. There’s no advantage to using groups and in fact, groups will result in more work for you than if you use components.

To what are you referring, exactly?

I like the feature that groups have in that you can copy and edit 1 item and it doesn’t reflect in copy’s ilof the same part… take my legs for example I can make changes to 1 leg and not effect the other legs.

A matter of specific designs. In mine, I run into legs that are at least in pairs and sometimes 4 the same (with likely flips needed for symmetry) far more often than I find ones that are all different. So, at least for me, components are the better choice. But YMMV…

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I thought I already explained that to you. If you prefer to use groups instead, go for it. That’s the nice thing about SketchUp. You can use groups if you prefer. I’ll stick with components so I don’t need to work so hard.

Sorry !!! You did I’m just getting a lot of conflicting ways of doing things !!! I feel like everyone has there own way and from a learning stand point it’s frustrating … the books and articles that I am buying and reading all have there own way of doing similar tasks…

I need do a course and then stick to that way of using Sketchup and layout

In my opinion, just stick with components and make them unique , if say your back legs end up being slightly different from your front legs, for example.
I prefer to stick with the available power of components. It’s a case of “I’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it”.

Different strokes for different folks. I probably use Groups more often than I use Components. I have a very useful plugin that warns me when I edit a component how many of them I will be altering. I guess that if you have learned to use Components by default, you are probably aware of this problem and know to hit Make Unique when necessary.

If you can do everything with Components that you can with Groups but Components are more powerful, there is an argument for getting rid of Groups from SU to simplify things and reduce confusion.

Most certainly.

Here are a few reasons I use only components.

Editing one instance results in the other instances getting the same changes. With groups you would need to edit each one to make the same change to all of them. If you don’t want to be editing all instances of a component in the model, make unique is available. If it’s too much to get to it from the Context menu, make a keyboard shortcut.

For the majority of my models this gives me an ordered approach to detailing which translates into the processes in the shop. Four side table legs start out as identical, albeit flipped, components. All of the detailing (joinery, edges details, foot shaping, etc.) gets done to all of them by editing a single component. Only when it is time to get different details do they get separated. That’s the way I handled the legs when I redrew Ed’s table. Up until it was time to cut the dovetail sockets and small mortises on the front legs and the mortises for the back apron tenons on the back legs, the legs were instances of the same component. Immediately before adding those last details, I used Make unique on the back pair of legs to separate them from the front.

The Dave Method for very small objects doesn’t work with groups.

Axis orientation and origin can be set for components. This can make texturing easier, allows setting insertion point, makes it easier to get accurate dimensions in reports.

During creation you get prompted to give the component a name. You don’t have to give it one but you can. With groups they all get the same name. Outliner and reports are virtually useless when everything thing shown has the same name. You can go back and edit the names of the groups in Entity Info but that’s extra steps. If you don’t want to give components names just press G, Enter.

Consistency. Exact same process for every object. There’s never any question of what the object is. It’s always a component.

Some people say they make groups first and then, before they make a copy, they make it a component. That adds extra steps to the process and those same people frequently moan about forgetting to convert the group to a component before making a bunch of copies. They figure it out when the edit they want to apply to all of them doesn’t work. Since I only use components, I’ve never had that problem.

Or some people forget they made something a component and thought it was a group. Never a problem when I’m modeling.

I’ve seen others report these.

Fat finger Hide in the Context menu and hit Erase without noticing. The visual effect is the same but when you go to unhide the group 20 minutes later, it doesn’t come back. If you happened to have another copy of the group in the model space you can copy it over. If it was the only one, you’ll be redrawing it. If it was a component, meh, pull another instance of it out of the In Model Components collection and move on.

Computer crashes and your SketchUp file gets corrupted. I know of two different architects who had this expereince. Both burning the midnight oil to be ready for presentations early in the morning. In both cases, when they reopened their SketchUp files, they were presented with blank modeling spaces. Nothing there. The first guy had only used groups. He pulled an all-nighter to redraw the model from scratch. The other guy used a mix of components and groups. He was able to pull the components out of the In Model Components collection. He only needed to recreate the groups. He switched to using components instead of groups altogether.

I would agree but there are plenty who don’t agree. I’ve been using SketchUp for over 15 years now. Never once have I come across a reason to use a group over a component even for the non-woodworking projects I do. But there are many users who resist using components and only use groups. as you said at the beginning of your post, Simon, “different strokes.”


Hi @DaveR

Quick one… From what you say, do you also use ‘Components’ to group other components, for example 10 doors, all components, grouped together as one component, say, named ‘First Floor Doors’?


I do use components to create nested components however I’m not sure I nest all the doors on a floor. I’d be more likely to assign them all to a layer of their own instead of nesting them together. Now for something like drawer or door that is drawn as the separate parts, I would create a component nesting them all together to make it easier to select the drawer or door.

At the moment, I create the individual parts as components, such as door leaf, door frame etc, then group those as one component, (meaning I can change its ‘instance’ name to D1, D2, etc while still maintaining the same component name). I then Group all first floor doors using a Group. I assign a layer to this too.

That way I can then select that group in Outliner to create a Door Schedule.

I’m assuming I could group them as a Component as well, which could be handy in a Multi storey building, where each floor is the same.

I do use Components extensively, and am in the process of setting up Component libraries for a client I work for. The aim is to be able to assemble what is needed by selecting the components from the library, and they’ll have all the attributes already assigned, such as cost, supplier, etc.

I’m hoping that when I create the component, assign the attributes, and the right click save as, that all the attributes I assign save with it, so that when I select it from the library in a new model, the attributes come in as well.


Yes. That is an option. If the floors would always remain the same but perhaps a door would need to be moved, you could edit a single floor’s nested doors component and the same door would move on the other floors. Or, of course, if you need to make a change unique to one or just a couple floors, make those components unique. Either way, with the doors as components, too, a wholesale change to the doors is dead easy.

This is a great idea. I’ve done the same for several clients. I have libraries for parts they commonly specify and for one client at least I file away components I use in a project on the off chance I might need them again. This has paid off handsomely many times. Especially when it’s something that would take a couple or three minutes to draw like this vise hardware. When I drew it I never expected to need it again but I was glad I saved it when it came up again a few years later in another project.
Screenshot - 1_26_2018 , 6_54_26 PM

They should get saved just fine.

Do you know about making your own collections using Open or Create…

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I’d like to know what other people do for collecting and organizing components.

Yes, that was the approach I was going to use. Starting with a blank model;

  1. Create a Collection for the components
  2. Create the individual components, complete with Attributes
  3. Context Click the component and Save As, into the correct folder

I’ll do it systematically creating the components, and then purging everything else out before I save.

There’s not too many to complete, but I can get the initial ones done, and then just add to that collection as needed.


These are the sort of components I’ll need initially.

I don’t need that level of detail though so won’t be including the grub screws.


Have a look at a set (not as complete as your picture) of low-poly dynamic components I made, just like these.

They are on the 3D Warehouse at

They work well with a copy of PipeAlongPath plugin, adapted to default to 1.9" (approx 48mm, more exactly 48.26mm) diam pipes (standard UK scaffold pole size). (6.3 KB)

Sorry, i’ve changed the file extension to .rbz on my computer, but it won’t stay changed when I re-upload it. Perhaps the forum has cached the file?

Say you sit down to make a bunch of those terminal fitting components. You can make them all in the same model. If you construct them correctly it’ll be a simple matter to modify a copy of the first to make the second and so on. Once you have the components you’re making all complete, go to the Components window. Make sure you’re showing the In Model collection by clicking on the house icon.
Screenshot - 1_27_2018 , 6_45_29 AM
Click on the right to open the Details menu.
Screenshot - 1_27_2018 , 6_48_12 AM
Click on Save as a local collection… From here you can create the folder in the correct location and with the desired name. Once that’s done, the Components window will switch to showing your new local collection. Click on the Details menu again and you can add that collection to your favorites so it’ll appear in the drop down list.

If later you decide to add another component to the collection you can still do the right click thing or you can open the secondary Components pane. Set one pane to In Model and the other to the collection and drag the thumbnail from In Model to the destination. I like this latter method I don’t have to navigate to the Collection’s folder. Faster the first time, anyway.

This same sort of process could be done for doors or windows or kitchen cabinets or whatever else you might be using where you want to draw them yourself instead of using the 3D Warehouse.

My collections and their organization developed over time. In the woodworking plans I do I need to show small hardware like screws, hinges, pulls and such so I’ve created collections for each. There’s also a few miscellaneous collections for things there aren’t enough of to justify a unique collection. For screws, I didn’t try to make a collection of all the screws I might need. I started out with the one I needed at the moment but I made the component so it is easily adjustable. That screw got saved into a Screws collection. The next time I needed a screw, I pulled out the existing one, modified it, renamed it and made sure to save it by dragging it to the Screws collection as above. I do the same thing for other components as well.


Hi @MichaelSiggers
I have enjoyed reading this topic. For my workflow I do organize all component doors, windows, skylights & etc into a group called Openings, This organization follows the US CSI system (Division 8).

IMHO, I believe this is an example of a good practice of using groups. Where I combine the strength of components for the individual openings with the individuality of a group then assigned to the Openings layer.

I then do the same for cabinets, plumbing & etc (all components). I next place all these (CSI) groups into a Floor group, again assigned to the First Floor layer (as an example).

Hope this helps with your workflow development.

Yeah, me too. I’ve used CSI for years because that’s what I know, but I always wondered about other systems.

…and when you do that, where’s the best place to store all this stuff? On the Mac, SU by default seems to want to go to ~Library/Application Support/SketchUp 2018/SketchUp/Components, which is a location normally kept invisible to the user unless they know how to go find it, but I’m personally more inclined to put it in a location where all my other SU files are.