Using Layers in Sketchup Pro

Since today I am using Scketchup Pro. Formerly I used the free Sketchup version. In the free version I could work with layers. However I cannot find this option in the Pro version. I have tried to find information on the Ketchup website and the program help function. But nothing came up. Can somebody help me with this feature?


With SketchUp 2020 the term Layers has been replaced with Tags. They work in the same way as Layers used to.

The proper use, in case you were doing something different before, is to leave the pencil icon set to Untagged. Create all edges and faces as untagged and leave them untagged. Use components and groups to separate discrete parts and give them tags as needed for visibility control or assigning dash styles.

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It works! Thanks for your help.

Best regards,

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I make it a habit of deleting non-standard layers that come in to my models when I download a component from the warehouse. The pop-up warnings 1st selection is “Move contents to Default Tag”. This in the past was Layer 0, I believe. Now there is an 'Untagged" layer (tag) and a “Default” tag. What is the difference and why do I have both?

It’s simply a name change. Since layers in SketchUp have never really been layers in the conventional sense, the name has been changed. Layer 0 is no Untagged. Untagged should always be the active tag just like Layer 0 was in older versions. And all edges and faces should remain untagged like they used to have Layer 0 assigned to them.

In SketchUp 2020, the equivalent of the former Layer0 is “untagged”. It’s a technical point, but there actually never was a Layer0, that was just how the GUI indicated “no layer assigned”. The new “untagged” terminology is, IMO, clearer.

The wording “default tag” in the warning corresponds to what used to be called the “active layer”. This is the tag that will be assigned by default (or in the case of “untagged”, left blank) when you create new geometry. As @DaveR pointed out, except in a few special cases that generally don’t apply for beginners, you should always leave the default tag set to “Untagged”.

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So, why does deleting a tag send it to the “Default” tag instead of “Untagged” and why do I want a "Default: tag separate from “Untagged”. They seem redundant and just another stray tag to deal with.

“Untagged” and “Default tag” are separate concepts.

Every SketchUp entity has a data slot holding a tag reference. The way SketchUp was programmed, it is not possible to add or remove this slot, it is always present and must contain some value. So, SketchUp reserves a special value for when no user-defined tag has been assigned, essentially meaning “referenced to nothing”. That special value used to be shown as “Layer0” in the GUI. Now it is shown as “Untagged”, which should be read as “not associated with any user-defined tag”.

"Default tag" is an operational setting that tells SketchUp how to assign the tag slot value when you add new geometry to the model. Or, in your specific example, when you delete the prior tag. As I wrote above, SketchUp can’t just magically remove the data slot, it has to put something there by default. It used to be called “Active Layer.” The little pencil icon in the rightmost column of the tags window lets you select which tag you want used by default, including the special “untagged” value.

As noted earlier, there are only special situations in which you should make anything except “untagged” the “default”, as this can lead to very confusing visibility issues. Deleting an existing tag would be an example, as you might want the selection to be referred directly to another user-defined tag instead of becoming untagged. In general, though, you should always leave the default set to untagged.

Since the default layer is set by the pencil icon, why do I care to see the operational setting?

OK, so ‘Default’ is an operation setting and ‘Untagged’ is a tag. Are you saying that the Default tag is assigned to the layer I have the pencil icon on? Since the default layer is set by the pencil icon, why do I care to see the operational setting? And if ‘Default’ is not a tag, why is it listed here?

There are no layers in SketchUp.

There are a couple of limited applications for which it can be useful to make tags active by moving the pencil icon. For the vast majority of users leaving Untagged active makes the most sense and the easiest work flow.

Forgive me, but this statement is nonsense. The pencil icon marks the current default tag, which is the operational setting. It’s what tells SketchUp what tag to use in circumstances other than when the user explicitly assigns one via the GUI.

If you are seeing “Default” as a tag name in the tags window (or a layer name in the former layers window), a tag with that string name was created by someone at some time. To SketchUp that is just a name, with no more meaning than “Use Me When You Don’t Know What Else To Do”. That’s why I called the default an operational setting, not a tag name. Your default tag can be set to any tag, it has nothing to do with the name “Default”.

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I guess I am not making my self understood. I work only on ‘Untagged’ tag (formerly ‘Layer 0’) and assign all my groups to other layers, then by turning these off and on, save to scenes. No early version has had a ‘Default’ layer or tag as a visible selection. It seems that ‘Default’ is not really a tag at all but as you have said an ‘operational setting’ that is handled by the pencil icon. Why has this suddenly shown up in 2020?

It would make more sense if I could delete this ‘Default Tag’ and rely on my pencil icon.

Are you saying as long as I keep my pencil icon on ‘Untagged’ the I can turn off ‘Default’ visibility and not affect my scenes?

Are you looking at the word Default in the Tags panel?
Screenshot - 2_10_2020 , 12_42_43 PM

That only refers to the Dashes style applied to the tag. It has nothing to do with which tag is “default” or active.

Leave the Pencil icon at Untagged and forget about it. Continue giving groups and components tags as needed. Leave all geometry untagged. Don’t agonize over it.

OK, I give. Here is a screen shot BTY

Default Tag

I’m wondering if you are looking at the word “Default” in the “Dashes” column and confusing it with the default tag setting? That column introduced in SketchUp 2019 added ability to show edges with various dash or stipple patterns. The word Default there refers to the default solid line pattern.

OK. Default in the Tag Name was put there by someone. It wasn’t created by SketchUp. It might have been inherited from a CAD file import.

It’s too bad you didn’t post that screen shot in your original post. It would have saved you and us a lot of time and back and forth.

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I tried again to delete it and now it is gone. I don’t know why it wouldn’t go away before.

That tag named “Default” is something some user added. It has nothing to do with either the default tag setting or the default dashes pattern. It is just a name. And it is not a name that SketchUp itself ever gives to a tag.

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I think I now understand the source of your confusion. There was some geometry using that tag named “Default”, and when you tried to delete the tag the dialog asked whether you wanted to reassign the geometry to “the default tag”, which sounded like it would do nothing. But after you let the operation complete, there was nothing using that named tag, so you could delete it.

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