Merging Layers And Outliner Window Into One

I think that the layers and outliner windows perform similar functions, so maybe it’d be more organized to merge them into one window. Kinda like this or something…

23 PM

What do you all think?

I don’t like it. Layers and Components are completely separate concepts in SketchUp. Merging them together in one UI would further blur the differences that already confuse too many newcomers to SketchUp.

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Could you please help me understand why people need the layers window and the outliner window separate, as opposed to one combined window?

They are similar bot not at all the same. Layers are global visibility tags/labels. Groups and components make up the actual document hierarchy.

I just don’t see any reason to combine them; they are two concepts. Combining them would make as much sense as combining the component browser and material browser into one.

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That said I think the interfaces could be better unified. The layer panel would benefit A LOT from the filter the Outliner already has, probably more than the Outliner benefits from having it.

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I like the idea of the layers window having folders and a search bar, then the layers window would look almost the same as the outliner window. Regarding the unification of the windows, the worst case scenario I can think of is when a person makes an extremely complex model and has to change the visibility of multiple groups/components, rather than just one layer. Although, if they group by type (example: a windows group, a doors group, etc.), then they could just change the visibility of the group (except in certain circumstances).

You’re mistaken, They do not.

Mixing in Layers is a bad idea. SketchUp layers are shared behavioral property sheets. They are not geometric collections as in other CAD applications. (And yes, should never have been called “layers”. Old argument.)

The Outliner displays the nesting tree of geometric collections regardless of their layer association. In addition SU2018+ also shows the nested section planes in these collection objects (and is often the only way to access them as they are often be hidden.)

The mock panel you show has already been suggested but would have nothing to do with layers.
Instead, the visible and color controls would apply to the geometric collection object to their left.
Adding these controls would enhance the Outliner.

It has also been suggested that adding a “Layer” column to access the outliner object’s layer association property might also be a benefit.


I think SketchUp is pretty much perfect the way it is. I just figured I’d share my idea to see what you guys think. Thanks for the feedback!

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If you’re on Windows, you could always make Outliner and Layers two tabs on the same tray window.

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This is how I do it on Mac. I have no complaints, but I was thinking less is sometimes more.
26 PM

I’ve tried that model organization approach and it didn’t work well. Often you want to selected several different elements, e.e. a wall, a window, a door, and a piece of furniture and move them together. If all doors are in a parent door group, all walls in a parent wall group etc you have to move each type individually. Also this approach fails when you want to conceptually group objects to toggle their visibility, e.g. in the stages they are constructed, or into re-occurring modules such as identical apartments.

This is what makes layers great! They are global, and not dependent of the model hierarchy. You can have one door placed in the document root, one inside a re-occurring apartment component, one inside a garden shed group (that can be selected and moved around as a whole), and still with just one click toggle the visibility of all these doors.


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