Sketchup MAKE - bringing to Front

I have created a rather simple building which has one single window style. For simplicity, I created the Window as a separate file. This file shows some details as far as filigrees and shows a translucent blue for panes of glass. Now in this building where I want to place a window, I select it, COPY, switch to the building itself and press paste.

As I move the Window into position the details get lost (everything shows up as various squares) and in some instances the Window disappears entirely - as though it is being hidden by something.

How can I FORCE the window to the FRONT or top layer of the drawing?

(Redrawing the existing building is out of the question - too many details already in place)

Are you trying to overlap an existing face with another? SketchUp doesn’t have the option to pick which face will show and won’t, they will continue to conflict. You will have to delete the face you don’t want, or move one forward (just a little is enough to resolve the issue).

An explanation of ‘z-fighting’:

You seem to have some unfortunate misconceptions.

What you are creating is a 3D model, not a drawing, although some drawing may be involved. Unlike a 2D drawing, everything does not sit on the same plane, so there is no need for a “stacking order,” as with 2D drawings. In SU, when something is in front of something else, it really is in front; that is, it is closest to the obserever (the camera). So when you want to bring something forward, you have to move it through space, closer to the camera location.

Layers have nothing to do with stacking order; they are for something else entirely. You would be wise to look up how layers work in SU before you paint yourself in a corner with them.

Now, also, it sounds from your description that you are unclear about how the Move tool works, how you can use it to place an object precisely on a face instead of pushing it down into the face. That’s something else you should add to your reading list.

This forum is less useful for telling you how the tools work–the documentation and videos already do that in detail–than for advising you in their application and fine points. What we’re talking about here are not fine points: they are the basics.


Thank you. I think you are spot on.

Sorry to have wasted your time

On the contrary, I think we have made good progress. Not a waste of time at all.


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I have a similar issue, but with imported images. I’m trying to extrude a floor plan from a PNG file. I have 2 PNGs with different variations, and would like to flip the z-order of the second embedded PMG so that I can do a before/after.

I understand the 3D mode of operation, but how does that apply to zero height objects like image files? If I push these to deeper in the z axis the parallax is too much to accurately trace over the image.

Zero height objects still have to obey the 3D space parameters.if you want one to appear above the other you have to put it above the other in 3D space.

Fair enough. I just haven’t been able to control the height in the z-axis, would like to move the plan down a minuscule amount, but what I enter in the manual input box doesn’t seem to correlate to predictable movement either positive or negative.

Are you starting the move manually? Can you move it down by a greater distance?

Yes, I start it manually through selection of the object (the 3d floor plan to be extruded) and then snapping to an axis (z). Manually it seems to want to snap to immediately below the reference image. Entering values in the input box yields unpredictable results, sometimes moving up or down by a distance greater than the value.

If I’m understanding this description, maybe you want to be thinking about this differently. If we’re talking about two different ideas for objects that occupy the same location in space, separate the two versions on different layers, and alternately turn their visibility on and off. That way you only see what you need in order to to work on each one at a time. Is that where you’re trying to get to?

Yes! I have been trying this with layers also, and flipping the visibility is what I am trying to do. However, layers don’t affect the z-stacking, as I have learned. it seems to me that if 2 objects occupy the same exact z coordinates, layers should work just as in 2D design.

Layers aren’t the same in SketchUp as they are in 2D programs like Photoshop. In fact they probably shouldn’t be referred to as layers in SketchUp since that seems to cause confusion. Layers in SketchUp ONLY control the visibility of entities associated with them. If you associate one image with Layer 1 and the other image with Layer 2, you can determine which of the two is visible by ticking or unticking the appropriate box.

I’m sure there is a super-easy shortcut to achieve this. I’m a total n00b at this, I’m always surprised at the power of Sketchup but it is quite challenging.

You can also manually hide each item by right clicking and select Hide, but layers would be a better way of going about it.


One thing that hasn’t been mentioned yet is that you should only assign other layers than Layer0 to groups or components. I would say that this applies to images too. For at some point you may want to explode one or both images and then you’ll get a textured face and four bounding edges. They should result being in separate contexts to not interact with other geometry.

Forgetting about layers for now, if 2 2-d images are sitting precisely atop another, how can I manipulate the top image so that it is sent behind the other, by a minuscule amount? The move command doesn’t achieve this with any fidelity, the images seem to snap way above or behind. Entering a number for the move amount doesn’t seem to work at all.

What scale are you working at, sometimes are jumpy at a small scale,

If you draw a path next to the shapes to the height you want to move, select one of the flat planes and then move it along the small line you have drawn. (does that make sense?)

You can use the move tool, and then use the up arrow to constrain movement to vertical, drag it well more than you need to (to make sure it’s in the right direction), then type a number like 1mm, and return and it will lift it by 1mm (no snapping involved). That said, I doubt that’s what you really want to do. Anything you build off that will be off by 1mm.

Here’s the key big question: Do you need to see both at the same time?