How do I select only what is showing on screen?

When you draw a selection box around something (such as the window frame on a house) Sketchup also selects everything behind it. How can I get Sketchup to select only what is visible?

Geo, thank you for the answer! I apologize for not having located the answer myself. It must be tiring answering such questions when all the user has to do is look it up first. Please forgive me.

If you use a drag box, the selection tool will always get everything within (left-to-right) or touching (right-to-left) the box, regardless of whether the entities are obscured in the view by closer ones. There are various ways you can deal with this:

  • as in the training video Geo referenced, switch to parallel mode, orbit the view so that you are looking perpendicular to the original view, and then drag the box so it gets only the original “front”. Depending on complexity of the model, this may still get more or less than you wanted, requiring you to add or deselect anything extra. When you are happy with the selection, orbit back to the original orientation (and switch back to perspective if you like).
  • hide the entities that are “behind” either by placing them temporarily on a non-visible layer, or by explicitly hiding them via Edit->Hide. The selection tool does not include hidden or non-visible entities.
  • bite the bullet and click-select them one by one
1 Like

You’ve very welcome @dreamer9450
No apology necessary. We’re here to help.
Answering such questions is rather effortless compared to other work.


I know this is old, but I’m sure someone like me is sure to stumble on it again.
I found it helpful to use all the techniques in this thread in combination with a section plane.

For me, I was trying to erase a drop ceiling from a drawing of a room. I was trying to select the lines and squares that made the ceiling in one shot (or at least not as individual lines and squares), but kept also selecting things like floors and walls.

I made a selection plane on the blue axis right below the ceiling, set it to active cut, and reversed it to hide everything below the ceiling. I hid the lines for my walls, and then was able to do one big select.

Hope this helps someone.

Hi, I have made a Sketch Extensions which aim to solve the problem to deselect any entity the camera is NOT viewing.

Why my post was flagged as spam seems wrong!

1 Like