Is there a way to have layers that, when activated, turn off other layers?

Hi all,

This may be a convoluted way of doing things, but I have made a few layers that show different positions of an object over a time period. Basically a bunch of frames of a movie to allow me to see how these objects interact with each other over time.

When I turn on layer “1”, I want layers “2”-“4” to be turned off. When “2” is turned on, I want “1”, “3-4” turned off. Etc.

I can do this manually, but I was wondering if there was an automated way of doing this? Or perhaps there a better way of doing what I am asking?

What version of SketchUp are you using? Please complete your profile.

Generally what you describe involves creating scenes that have the desired tags/layers visible or not visible as appropriate.

There isn’t a way to do what you describe automatically.

Hi David,

I’ve not been on here in quite a long while. I don’t see anywhere to say what version of SketchUp I’m using in my profile. I’m using Sketchup Make 2017.

As for using scenes, thanks. That’s just what I needed.


Click on the brown circle with the A in the upper right corner of the forum screen, then Preferences and Profile.

I’ve always wished for a “solo” button for tags (this comes from my experience with audio mixers). Basically, you’d either have a button next to each tag that when clicked, turns off all other tags except the one selected. Or it could be done without an additional button by using a modifier key when clicking the tag. It’s extremely helpful when you just want to look at one tag layer–which is not the same as selecting groups or components as you might do in the outliner.

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Thanks David. Added it to my profile.

I don’t see Tags in the Tray. Is that available in 2017?

Layers in 2017 became tags later. Same thing different name. Remember in SU2017 Layer 0 remains active at all times. All edges and faces get Layer 0 assigned to them. Only groups and components get other layers assigned to them. Same rule with tags except all edges and faces remain untagged and only objects (components and groups) get tagged.

Oh, ok. Actually, looking back at your example, that is what I was trying to avoid (doing multiple clicks where I just want one, like a radio button group).

Thx tho.

So you can select multiple layers/tags and adjust their visibility with one click. Use scenes to save the visible ones. That’s how I did this animation.

I’m aware of what you showed in your clip, but it’s a long way around. If I want to solo one tag, I have to highlight everything above it (4 clicks) and below it (another 4 clicks). And I have to either rely on a saved scene or a series of undo’s to get back. A solo button is one click to turn everything else off, one click to restore.

Yeah I get it. Select the group to shut them all off and then select the individual and turn it on. Still want a single click solution.

Nice animation.

well, I guess you can assume it’s not going to happen in SU2017 Make now.

Yeah. I think we are saying the same thing. To be able to group a set of layers/tags and have a radio button group button.

well, I guess you can assume it’s not going to happen in SU2017 Make now.


I could perhaps do this in ruby. However, I’ve not done any programming in SU before. Any resources you could direct me to?

You mean like you can in 2021.

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One complication with a solo button is that the default layer/tag won’t want to turn off, and making the default layer be something other than layer0, or default tag be something other than untagged, could lead to other problems.

There is an unrelated feature that may give you some of what you want, and it does exist in Make 2017. In the View menu is Component Edit, and in there you can choose to hide the rest of the model while you are working inside a component. You also can choose to hide other copies of the same component.

Working with that you could double-click into the component you want to make changes to, and the rest of the model will hide. It in a sense solos that component for a moment.

I’m not a programmer, but would having layer0 always stay on when invoking solo really be that much of a hurdle?

This is basically a great example of “soloing” but applied to components rather than tags. I find this incredibly useful and find myself frequently toggling “hide/unhide rest of model” while inside the component. I’d love to combine that with a solo button on the tags so when there are a lot of tags turned on and there’s too much stuff when unhiding the rest of the model, soloing the tag associated with the component being edited–or soloing one or more tags with just the parts of the model I want to see while editing–would be great. And, like on an audio mixer, you could solo more than one layer. Once people experienced this feature, I think they’d wonder how they managed without it all these years–I wouldn’t be surprised if it was used at least as often as component editing (depending on how one chooses to organize their visibility options within a model).

Toggling visibility in the Outliner is also really valuable, but most of SU viewing functionality is oriented towards unchecking or hiding objects (or tags)–usually one click at a time. Soloing flips that 180° so you’re narrowly selecting what to view rather than what to hide.

extension s4u Layer