Why can't I duplicate a group?

I want to duplicate a group then move that group into a different tag. But when I go to the new tag, all I get is the box (blue lines) around the group - but there’s nothing in that box. If I duplicate it then explode it, then I can move it to a new tag - unless the group was made up of a collection of other groups. Then I have to duplicate and explode each of those and move them to the new tag one by one. Somebody PLEASE tell me there’s an easier way.

Share the SketchUp model file with us so we can see exactly what you’ve got going on. I expect you’ve given the geometry inside the group a tag instead of leaving it untagged like you should be or you are not leaving Untagged as active but those are only guesses with almost nothing to go on.

Your post confused me a lot but I’m sure I’m doing some things very, very wrong. Here’s my file…Absolut Sawhorses.skp (1.5 MB)

Going on what I think you’re saying, I took a very simple group (crossbar – tag: crossbar), exploded it, and clicked each individual surface (and all the lines left over when the surfaces were hidden) and retagged them all as Untagged. Then I went to Untagged, selected all of them, created a group, and tagged the group as “crossbar”. When I exploded that and looked at various lines and surfaces, they were all tagged “crossbar”. So then, I thought when you said “the geometry inside the group”, maybe you meant the hidden geometry. So I toggled that on, hid all the lines and surfaces, selected everything that was left, and tagged it as “Untagged”. Then I unhid everything and it was all untagged. So I guess what I really don’t understand what you mean by “the geometry inside the group”.

I’m supposed to leave Untagged as active? Why?

I don’t understand what you want or what you are doing, your model is full of duplicates.

Leave untagged always active as that is what it means, untagged. It doesn’t have a tag yet and shouldn’t have a tag until it is a group or component.
All raw geometry, the stuff inside a group or component, should remain as Untagged, while the group it is in is assigned a Tag.

When you explode a group, something you shouldn’t need to do often, whatever is contained within that group inherits that groups Tag. Unfortunately this also includes any raw geometry, so that should be reassigned as Untagged.

Broken gif due to forum software.

Thanks, Box! I’m trying to do a couple things… One is to put a 2nd sawhorse about 3-4 feet away from the first one. I didn’t want to model it from scratch, so I was trying to just duplicate the first one. The other thing I’m trying to do is (again), duplicate the saw horse so I can show it folded up. And once it’s folded up, I’ll want to duplicate that one as well. I think a lot of the duplicates were due to me trying to duplicate things and not having much success (because I was doing it wrong, I guess).

OK. That explains a lot. Thank you! Why do you say, “something you shouldn’t need to do often”? I find myself having to put a notch in something or drill a hole through it and I can’t really do that until I explode it.

I fixed all the duplicates and exploded everything to put the raw geometry on “Untagged” then I remade the groups and tagged them for the proper layer. (I’ve uploaded the new file.) Should I be able to duplicate groups and components, now? And is this the right procedure for doing so?

  1. Select the group or component (can I select multiple groups?)
  2. Right click → Copy
  3. Paste In Place
  4. Change the tag to the desired layer

Absolut Sawhorses.skp (1.7 MB)

I can’t look at your file now, in the pub. From my quick scan of your post you need to learn to Edit Groups. Double click to open a group for editing then click outside the open bounding box to close it again.

@Box is right: to modify the contents of a group you open it for edit you don’t explode it.

And in my view, most of your groups should be components anyway. Make components of any parts you expect to use more than once, and (for me anyway) even those you only expect to use one of.

Groups are only a special and rather more limited form of component.

Some of your sloping wood parts still have tagged edges and faces inside them, and so does your hardware.

And you have far too many invisible faces inside your hardware - 735 entities inside a simple hex nut (or maybe it should be a bolt head), for example. It should only be a few dozen at most. You or someone else modelled the threads inside it. For an assembly drawing, you don’t need that invisible detail.

It’s easy to lose track because paste-in-place puts the duplicate exactly atop the original, so there is no visible indicator of the duplication! I’ve seen a fair number of models here on the forum that create confusion by having such duplicates.

In my workflow, I use paste-in-place only to transfer entities from one context (model, group, or component) to a different context.

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I would post a gif showing move copy and array but the forum is broken,

I didn’t know you could do that! Thank you, I’ll check it out.

All of the hardware but the straps were components I imported from the 3D warehouse. I’m sure it’s obvious that I’m not yet good enough with Sketchup to create them myself! I am trying to learn, though! :slight_smile:

Thanks for telling me about components. Now that I know I can edit them, I’ll be sure to follow your advice. Can you please elaborate on

Groups are only a special and rather more limited form of component.

I want to understand when I should/not use them.

A recent example from the forum:

Several differences:
Any component has a component definition, which is listed in the Component Browser. Groups aren’t listed there.

If you copy a component, it is based on the component definition, and any changes you make to one copy of the component will be instantly repeated in all other copies.

If you copy a group, it remains identical to the original until you edit any copy, BUT when/if you do edit one, the other(s) will NOT change - it becomes a unique group, with a different (but still hidden) parent ‘component’ definition. A group, as I said, is a special case of a component.

If you want to make changes to only one or several copies of a component, but not all, select the one(s) you want to be different from the originals, R-click, and Make Unique.

Different instances of a component can be given different Instance names in Entity Info, but still keep the same component definition and definition name.

When you save a file, you save all the Component Definitions, whether or not you have used them in the model. To remove them permanently, you need to use Purge Unused - either from the Component Browser, or from Window/Model info/Statistics/Purge unused.

If your file becomes corrupt, it often seems that components can be rescued, even if the model itself cannot.

For those reasons, I almost never use groups. Anything you can do with a group, you can do with a component instead.

The only advantage I see of groups, in a large model, is that they don’t appear in the Component Browser, reducing clutter in that.

PS. Other things I forgot.
When you create a component, you are prompted to give it a name. DO SO. It’s much easier to know what something is in Outliner or the Component Browser if it has a meaningful name, rather than the automatically generated Component#1, Component#2 etc.

You can give a group a name, but you have to do it as a separate operation via Entity Info.

If you copy and Make Unique a component, remember to go and edit its unique name in Entity Info, unless you are happy with the auto-generated name which will add a suffix hash and number.

You are getting excellent advice here from some of the best. If you are interested in exploring more on your own consider following some of the exercises here.


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And there’s a new video series on YouTube called Square One. Starts with the Line Tool, from here, and goes on from there.

They are all pretty good and thorough. Though I’ve been using SU for nearly 15 years, I learned some new feature from most of them that I hadn’t been aware of before.

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Thank you so much for the detailed explanation on components. I’m working on a different model (from scratch) and the things I learned from your post have been super helpful!

Thanks very much for that link! I’ve been using Sketchup for a while now. I thought I had a pretty good foundation and I would be able to skip the first few lessons… But I haven’t even finished the Quick Start course and I’ve already learned a lot! Super helpful!

Thank you, John! I’ll check those out as soon as I get through the Sketchup Fundamentals courses.