Groups within groups

Kind of a theoretical question at this point:

Create an object, say a cube, triple click then group. Now double click that object to enter into it, then triple click again and group that. Now we have a group within a group which are almost identical except for the grouping hierarchy. The subgroup and group can be placed on individual layers, allowing the “group” to be on 2 layers at the same time.

Is anyone aware of any downside to this?

I’m thinking this may be useful in conjunction with John Brock’s Estimator plugin, as that seems to be focused on layers for material estimates.

Thanks in advance for the conversation.


@clearplanmodeling, I use this technique from time to time when I want to associate a group/component with a material Tag/Layer and a location Tag/Layer. I have not had any downside to this method in my modeling.
Best, Lindsey

Great, Lindsey. Thanks for weighing in.

When you do it by accident, it seems like a bug, but when you do it on purpose, it can be a feature.

I’ve been thinking the same thing as I’m working out layering structure going forward. I’ve noticed such an organization, I think, in Marvin windows components in 3DWarehouse, but I don’t know what their system is.

I do it all the time, if you use components, you can use the ‘outer wrapper’ (highest level) to use as ‘dummy’ or void that goes through different layers of a wall, for instance.
The second in line has some attributes that refer to the ‘Parent’ attributes, like LenX, LenZ and LenY.
If you set up right, all scaled voids or instances can be altered at once. (eg. You switch between different types of windows)
They need to be drawn in the right directions, though.

Often, I use a group inside a component for solid actions.

I always try to think of components being a little SketchUp Model.
If you save it and then open that saved component file, there is only loose geometry, which is considered bad practice.

Ya, I’m using a spreadsheet to plan mine out. Each project seems a little different, so while I have a good idea of my layering structure going into a project, each ends up being unique to the particular project.

Thanks for weighing in, Mike!

It’s why I was asking about ASCII sort order a while ago. I’m trying to use it to make neighborhoods in the layer palette. For example, I put a tilda (~) in front of all the layers I import via DWG so they go to the bottom of the list. They’re there for reference, but I don’t put anything more on them while working.

This is one of the reason SketchUp “layers” have never been layers. They aren’t locations in a document hierarchy but properties that you can apply to elements anywhere in the hierarchy.

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I’ve seen a lot of people mention this lately and I just want to point out this is expected behavior.
When you save a component it is indeed a little skp model of it’s own which is designed to be inserted from the component browser into a model, or imported or drag and dropped into a model.
However, if you open it directly it appears to lose it’s wrapper and just be loose geometry.
The model itself is the wrapper, you have opened that wrapper for editing, this is the same as double clicking a component, you have opened that little skp within a skp to edit the geometry within.
So if you have components saved to a local collection you can open those components and edit them directly, save them, and the edits will be in the components when you drag them out of the component browser in the main model.
It gets confusing when you save a component, then upload that component file to the 3d warehouse. You download it to your computer and ‘open’ it and low and behold it’s not a component, just a bunch of loose geometry. But if you load it directly into a model it is a component. Or drag and drop into a model or add to a collection etc
A component is a skp file. When added to another skp it is a component, when opened directly it is open for editing.
This is one of the reasons many warehouse models end up double wrapped.
Hope that makes sense and I haven’t just made the water even muddier.

I actually prefix my layers with a number system

I know, but find this very annoying.

Trimble should fix this, make components having their own extension like skc ( save as component ) and wrapped the way the creator of the component it saved, and loaded that way in all the situations.

You may have misunderstood me, I was explaining how it works, not highlighting a problem.
I see nothing to fix.

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I know how it works, I wrote about this before. And it works not consistent. So, It doesn’t work right.

I look at it this way


‘Anything you can buy or build’

The raw geometry must be grouped, preferably a solid
Any wrapper that goes up, should be a component.
Data should be attached to the Component

Direct editing inside the model is just a convenient way of bypassing opening other instances of SketchUp.

You decide how deep you go and what to model.
ie. You can model a framed door with all the different parts as solid components, but you might not have the time so you could just draw some lines on a rectangle to represent that.
But the data attached to the ‘visualized door’ should be correct.

Even if you have time to model all parts, ‘how low can you go?’

Though it might add more confusion, I like the idea of a ‘special’ component extension for Manufactured Content.
It could have IFC-data, for instance.
BIM ready, Content Enabled to keep us Connected with other software.

Edit. Btw the .skc is allready taken…for classification tags

Incorrect language, … use of the word "on".

SketchUp tags (previously layers,) do not have geometric collections, so geometry cannot be on a tag (or layer.)

As Julia said, they are not analogous to model object hierarchy, but meant to control visibility behavior independent of whatever the geometric hierarchy may be.

This confusion, speaking and thinking that SketchUp geometry can be “on” a layer, was why the name has been changed to tag for the 2020 release. Please begin thinking of tagging objects (groups and instances,) to control their visibility.

Agreed. When we’re talking about a different concept for “Layer” than is commonly associated with CAD, avoiding confusion is important.

I’m still working in SU’19, so I don’t have to think in terms of “tags” yet. Using the term “tag” is even misleading since, as Matt Donley points out, every other application that uses tags allows for more than one tag to be assigned.


Which has also been long requested for SketchUp. Don’t be surprised if you see movement toward this in the next version or so. (Ie, reading more into the name switch.)

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Fix what?

It is consistent. A model inserted to another model is a component. Making a distinction between two types of models would be inconsistent.


Tags in SketchUp are kind of different then tags in other applications, (they actually are more like layers then tags)

We will see where this leads, somehow, SketchUp is struggling in what role they could take in the industry (visual concept model or data-model) while the rest of the software is data-driven, the rephrase from layers to tags is just cosmetic, for now. The use of layers in Revit is becoming less important and merely just for compatibilty with other software or backwards compatibility.
Its more object driven.
The way you organise now in SketchUp is static, meaning, if you want to create a workable model, you would have to nest objects to get some sort of nested tags (layers) but I would like a more dynamic approach.
Consider an appartement building.
If I want to see a level, it is easy, just wrap all elements in a group and switch all tags of except for that level.
But what if you want to display all doors from the whole building?
Or to show what walls are going to be build by subcontractor
Now, you would have to either change your order in the nesting, or start all over again.
With the introduction of the visibility state of objects in Outliner, we are getting close, but are not there, yet. We need an option to ‘Display only’ in it.
The filter in outliner could be used to ‘group by’, the first being the most important. (eg. ‘Doors’ would display all the doors of the building, ‘Doors’,’Level1’ would display only the doors on level1, etc)
That is why I think the Tags panel is gonna be left alone for backwards compatibility reasons (SketchUp now supports up till four versions, whereas it used to be three).
The big changes are gonna be in the Outliner panel.