How can I color by material for a specific Tag/Layer?

My models are based off architectural drawings that used grid systems. I have my grid lines in a separate Tag that allow me to control their visibility. The system works fantastically, but I would like to color the grids lines red to make them stand out against other geometry in the model. I have tried changing the edge color to “color by material”, which does what I want with the grid lines, but it also affects the other edges in my model because I use materials everywhere (studs are one color, bricks are bricks, concrete is concrete…).

I have figured out that the way I apply material affects how the edges appear - I typically create my geometry, triple click, apply material, and then create a group while everything is selected. This is a fast way to get all my surfaces, but I’m obviously grabbing the edges as well. Now that I know this, I can use Selection Toys to only color the surfaces, leaving the edges in their standard state.

Is there something I’m missing in the Styles menu, or is there some other work-around to do this? I read miles of a thread on this topic, but honestly got lost along the way!

I hesitate to post the model, because it is the property of the architect who created it, so hopefully these screen shots help illustrate my point.


Group the specific geometry first!
In group’s editing context in ‘WireFrame’ window-select all →switch to viewing all (edges and faces) → hold down [Shift] while window-selecting all again (this will subtract edges from selecting all) → apply material to selection of (thus) only faces → close group.

Although in latest versions of SketchUp you can reverse selections, meaning that the latest window-select can be replaces by this swapping selected/not selected geometry.

Thanks Dan, but I’m afraid I don’t understand the steps here. I understand creating the group, going into the group’s context, but I lost you at WireFrame window. Are you referring to something within the Styles menu? I understand doing inverse selections, but I’m unclear how you are doing it to isolate the edges. I have been playing with Selection Toys with success, but I’d love to understand your method.

Thanks again,


Color by material for a specific layer with ‘Deep Select

Well that’s a pretty cool trick! I used it to fix the rest of my model. Stalled my machine out for quite a while, but got it done in the end!


WireFrame is one of the Face style (icons).
In wire frame a window-select selects edges only, there are no faces.
Returning to another style including the faces, (with the edges still selected) lets you swap the selection from edges to faces.

Thinking out loud here, but could the grid Lines be created, grouped, then assigned a Tag such as “Grid Lines”. That Tag could have a Dashed Line. Then a scene could be created with just the Grid Lines group visible and a Colour by Layer Style applied.

Although in the latest version a separate scene may not be necessary as the Tags and Styles can also be controlled in the Sketchup Model Tab in Layout.

These scene could then be overlaid in Layout, in a separate Viewport.