Sketchup 2019 Layers Tray - Allow more customizability for ease of use

I have recently updated to Sketchup Pro 2019 after using Sketchup for 3 years for work.

I like the new eye diagram for the layers - that makes it a bit more intuitive as to what layers are on and what the user is literally seeing.


The function to draw/place directly into a layer previously occupied by the eye location is frustrating on two accounts, one reasonable the other less so.

First, swapping the column location for “draw in layer” and “turn on layer” (the eye) is a minor inconvenience but I’m sure I’ll get used to it in time.

Second, and to the point of this post, moving the “draw in layer” function as an unlabeled 5th column?? Really. This is the second most useful aspect of the Layers function. I can understand wanting to push the new Dashes function - whatever purpose that might serve, I haven’t experimented yet - but to shift the previous first column function to 5th place and unlabeled and after a function that seemingly has no use seems naive.

The least I could ask for here is to allow the Layers Tray to be customized, such as being able to change the size of every column (Dashes does not allow this). Also being able to change the order of these tabs, perhaps after the eye and the name because those are likely to be everyone’s first two columns of choice anyways.

This seems to be a hard line on pushing Dashes at the cost of confusion and limiting the drawing space by putting the oft-used “draw in layer” function right next to a scrolling bar.

Which do the designers really think will be used more often and should be more accessible, Dashes or “draw in layer”?

EDIT: For clarity this is specifically for drawing numerous Labels on geometry.

Summary: Layer0 always for geometry. Less of a hard rule for Labels.

I’d like to see the Layer Tray columns be moveable in and be able to size all columns.


When I read this I get the distinct impression that you have been using Layers incorrectly. You shouldn’t be “drawing in a layer” in SketchUp. Layer 0 should always be the active layer. All “drawing” should be done on Layer 0 and only groups/components assigned to other layers. The raw geometry inside those groups/components should remain on Layer 0.


I think you need to read up on how layers work in SU.


Can you explain more why it would be wrong to draw directly into a layer? Having the raw geometry inside the layer hasn’t hindered my work, yet. What problems would I run into?

Thanks. Can you be more specific?

For clarity my usage here is to place labels. I have 147 in one model. Keeping everything drawn on Layer0 and then changing each component to my desired layer seems to take far more time

Layers don’t provide any separation in SketchUp. They are only used to control visibility. Separation is created by the use of groups and components. Following the rules of leaving Layer 0 active, creating and leaving all geometry on Layer 0 means, for one thing, that you never have to chase the active layer. So you don’t even need that pencil icon. Leave it on Layer 0 and forget about it.


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Having to tell people to draw in Layer 0 only seems to be a daily occurrence. I’m all for giving people the right to work the way they want (even if inadvisable) but you do wonder why SU makes it possible to work the wrong way quite so easily. As a default, wouldn’t it be better to make it possible but difficult for people to draw in other layers?

You didn’t mention that originally, text and dimensions etc (non geometry) are just about the only reason when it is appropriate to change the active layer.
There was a similar thread a few days ago that showed historic usage wasn’t always perfect.

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Good thread. It makes sense from building shapes but yes, my current workload where I noticed this SU2019 difference is in making many, many labels.

I have run across the chasing active layer before but it is rare, at least in what I do.

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I think if Sketchup wanted to shun this behavior of drawing in other Layers than they would do just that. It actually seems to be that way with this update - it is much more difficult from a muscle memory perspective to draw in another Layer.

Yes, putting the crayon column at the end demotes it, I guess. I had in mind something like this unless there was a more elegant solution.

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My “Story”:

When I first saw the new layer panel, I read Layer0 is a Default. Yes, sure. Since this is the only one…
Let’s add one more. Layer1 is Default too. What?
Ohh man, NOT! The dashes pattern for the layer are set to Default.
Okay. Then what is the “Default” means?
Can it be the pattern defauld value differend than solid (continious)? Let’s check the styles.
No, no. You can’t change the default pattern there. But you can chose if the line which is dashed will looks like dashed or not. Wow. Smart!
Then where can I see or change the default pattern? Can I?
If not why not just shows like _____?

Happy dash in! (?) :grinning:

moving or removing the ‘draw on layer’ radio button has been high on most Sages wish list long before SU dreamt up adding Dashes in that panel…

personally I was hoping for it to be made a ‘Right Click’ context menu item, so even less people find it…

I think they took the opportunity of a make over only because they were adding ‘Dashes’…

I made the ‘dashes’ column half width for my mac…


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How did you do that?

The word Default is under the column entitled Dashes and means a continuous line. I guess most people will figure that out pretty quickly. But why it doesn’t just have a continuous line is a mystery. It would be more WYSIWYG.

I modified the ‘mac’ only .nib file to increase the Name field and reduce the Dashes field…


no disrespect, but having read many of your post, it’s likely above your pay grade…

I’ll PM you a .rbz [ when I make one ] on the condition you don’t post it publicly or share it around…

my modifying .nib files is ‘known’ and ‘tolerated’ ,but I have a self imposed condition of not making them ‘publicly downloadable’…


John, it’s defo above my pay grade! I agree not to post or share anything you send me privately.

Have you not heard of the Bevans method?

yes and it’s origin is, in fact, less dubious than the ‘Dave’ method… :kangaroo:


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“less dubious” maybe, but I think that the proper term is the “Evans Method”, is that not so Simon ?

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