Noob Q about tags

I have a lot of experience with AutoCAD but am brand new to SketchUP. I am having flashbacks to my early learning days with AutoCAD and thus, I am making a concerted effort to develop some “best practices” for overall organization before getting too carried away with the easier stuff. My experience learning AutoCAD has taught me that some of these concepts are easy to understand in retrospect but not until spending an exorbitant amount of time doing something one way only to realize later, “Aha! Now I finally realize how I should have been doing this!” Which brings me to the topic of Tags.

I have read numerous times in one way or another that… “You should be leaving the pencil icon at Untagged. All edges and faces should be created as untagged and should remain untagged.” (copy/pasted from an answer in the SU Community).

I warned that this was a noob question… Why?! I am obviously missing a core concept here.

My idea was to create a template file and label a bunch of tags ahead of time, using a nomenclature that makes sense for my workflow. That way every time I start a new project, all of my tags are already created (similar to the way my template file in AutoCAD already has my layers pre-loaded). That way, most of the things I will be drawing can just be assigned to a tag.

Examples of some of my tag name ideas:

  • “Exterior - Existing - Vegetation”

  • “Interior - New - Walls”

  • Interior - Demo - Fixtures"

…and so on. Everything would either be “Interior” or “Exterior”. From there, it would either be “Existing”, “New” or “Demo”. And then from there, I would start labeling things more specifically, i.e., walls, fixtures, appliances, floor structure, roof structure, etc. And this is where I am confused. My idea was to start off right away by assigning something a tag. So for instance, if I am starting a drawing by creating the plot plan, I would start with a tag called, “Exterior - Existing - Property Lines”. In my nooby way of thinking, I would choose the appropriate tag and start drawing the property lines on that tag. Or draw the property lines first and assign it to the appropriate tag. But this seems to contradict the advice that everything should be untagged.

I’m sure I am missing the point here so any clarification will be greatly appreciated!!! :slight_smile:

Tags don’t provide any separation between entities. They are mainly only a control for visibility. You need to make groups or components to keep things from sticking together. Turning off the tag visibility will make any groups or components that have been assigned that tag invisible even though the geometry inside is untagged.

Leaving the geometry untagged and assigning tags only to the groups and components in the model actually makes for a simpler work flow because you don’t ever chase the active tag when you create new geometry or edit existing geometry. So it doesn’t matter if you edit the geometry in a new wall or modify a a fixture.

If you choose to give the raw geometry tags, you will be forever chasing the active one before you make any edits in the model. Using the recommended workflow, you won’t need to do that at all.

You can go ahead and create the tags for your template. You just won’t use them until you have groups or components that should be tagged with them. If you create all the needed tags in advance, you won’t even need the Tags panel open unless you need to control visibility or you want to use Color by Tag or the Dashes feature.

Thanks for your reply! I think I understand your answer. So I should only apply tags to groups and/or components, not raw geometry. By “chasing the active tag”, do you mean that it would become too confusing if I started tagging every single line, circle, surface, etc? So I should draw something first, make it into a group or component, decide where it belongs, and then tag it…? That make sense to me! I can see how it would become problematic if there were multiple tags within a group or component which I suppose would be an easy mistake to make if I wasn’t paying close attention to the active tag.

Much appreciated :slight_smile:

Yes. Exactly.

Yes. And any time you needed to do any editing that would add geometry, you would need to make sure the correct tag is active. By leaving the pencil icon at Untagged and leaving ALL edges and faces Untagged, you never have to worry about that. No chance of forgetting it because you don’t need to remember it.

Yes. Before you move on to modeling something else make sure you create the group or component. Think about what it is you are modeling. If you were working on a bathroom, for example, the walls might be a group or component but you want the fixtures to be separate groups or components so they don’t stick to the walls and you can move them around as needed.

FWIW, I would suggest doing as much modeling in place as you can. This means you don’t have as many dimensions to keep track of and will spend less time modeling and potentially create fewer errors. For example, if you are modeling a deck, model a post, make it a component and then copy that component to the other location. Then draw the rim joists using the posts as a reference. You don’t need to know how long the rim joists need to be. They just have to fit the post locations. When you put in the intermediate joists, put them in between the rim joist and the ledger board. Again, you don’t care how long they are as long as they fit. You can get SketchUp to tell you later how long the joists are if you want to know.

Yes indeed. Some people try to use Tags (used to be called Layers) like they would in other prgrams and then get frustrated because they’ve created all sorts of problems. Like I said before, if you just leave Untagged as active and ensure all edges and faces remain untagged, you will find the workflow is pretty easy and relaxed. Also remember to make groups or components for discrete objects so they don’t get stuck together.

This is a super important point and one we see a lot of confusion and frustration about. It’s worth really stressing that having raw geometry assigned to separate “tags” does nothing from preventing that geometry from interacting. It just controls the visibility. So if you have raw geometry assigned to a hidden tag it will not be visible but you might be unknowingly destroying it as you work with other geometry in the same spot. Later you turn on visibility to the first tag and find your geometry mangled. Only groups or components can isolate your geometry to prevent it from sticking and interacting.

To be clear: this is what NOT to do.

Thanks! I am using the quarantine-time to get past this learning curve which means you will be seeing more questions from me :wink: I learned some bad habits when I started in AutoCAD so trying to get off to a better start with SketchUP, ha!

Any if you do assign tags to raw entities you can quickly revert them back to untagged with a plugin like “cleanup”

One more thing to watch out for is what happens with tags when you explode an object. When you explode an object (group or component), any untagged entities inside it are assigned the tag of the object you exploded. If they had a tag before, it gets left alone, but anything untagged gets assigned the tag of the exploded object. This includes faces and edges and also any groups or components at the top level of the exploded object.

So even when you’re being careful to avoid tagging faces and edges, SketchUp sometimes does it for you.

You can work around this by changing the object to untagged before exploding or re-tag them after exploding.