Using scenes and layers and propagating changes

I’m new to SketchUp and trying to figure out how to use scenes and layers to view a build in various ways, including an exploded style view with parts pulled apart and showing dimensions, and a view of the item (e.g., a storage cabinet) in use (i.e., with items stored on it), etc.

I watched Matthias Wandel’s video on using scenes and layers:
[SketchUp: Using scenes and layers][1]

He’s using different copies of the build/project in different layers, and then using a particular layer in a particular scene. This seems like a clunky solution because if you need to make a change to the build, then you have to copy the updated build into all the layers.

Is there a better way to have a build shown in various ways (completed, torn apart, etc.) that all rely on one source so that if you make a change to the source, it propagates into all your layers?
[1]: SketchUp: Using scenes and layers - YouTube

Components do exactly what you need…

make each part a Component and changes propagate to the copies on the other Layers…


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You need to have a separate instance of your “build” to represent each transformation or alternative arrangement of elements and use layer visibilty, controlled by scene definitions, to turn the various instances on or off depending on what each scene depicts.

As @john_drivenupthewall observed, to the extent that you want changes propagated to every alternative instance of “the build,” make them all instances of the same component.


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Thank you both! I had mostly used groups and not components. So I went back and made every part (or combination of parts if I had no need to subsequently alter the individual parts comprising the combination) a component. Now the behavior is as desired.

Is this the preferred way of using components? Or should components be limited to parts used multiple times in a build?

If you skim through the discussions on the forum (or do a search), you’ll see that the question of whether to use a group or component in a given situation comes up rather often. A growing consensus among experienced users seems to be that groups are useful mainly as a temporary means to protect or isolate geometry. A more permanent buildup of geometric elements–say, a part of an assembly, should be a component even if there’s only one of them in the model (and certainly so if there are two or more of them). Put it this way: you can hardly go wrong with a component unless it causes you to make inadvertent changes to something you didn’t want to change, but at that, the remedy would be separate, unique components, not necessarily groups.