Why can't I hide layers?!

Damnit!!! I was just creating layers and showing and hiding them at will… now SketchUp keeps saying “You cannot hide the current layer”!

I don’t understand. Please help.

Is the current layer the default layer? You can’t hide the default layer.

It sounds as if you have a layer checked as the active layer. Open the Layers window or tray and check a different layer. Then try to hide the layer you wanted to hide in the first place.
As you may know, layers just control visibility, unlike the layers function in other programs. I’ve been taught that it’s pretty much a fail-safe ironclad rule to do all the modeling on Layer 0, then associate specific components with a different layer if you wish. For example, woodworkers using SketchUp often keep a parallel-projection view of a component on Layer 0 but set up a separate layer for dimensions; the dimensions also go on Layer 0 but are associated with a different layer. Use the Entity Info box or tray for this.
Hope this helps.

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Ah yes! That’s very helpful to me. Thank you!

As for the ‘ironclad, failsafe rule’ this is the first time I’ve ever used layers since I started in SketchUp, a year ago. So I should do everything on Layer 0? I have set up my layers to be: 'Text Layer", “Construction Layer” and “Experiments Layer”.

I will take your advice but… can you possibly elucidate on the rule of modelling on Layer 0? Do you mean I should keep my components there, then delegate copies of them to different layers if I wish?


Draw all raw geometry (edges, faces, construction points) on Layer0 ALWAYS.

Make components or groups of objects as you draw them, to avoid the geometry of one affecting that of other objects.

Than assign ONLY Components or Groups (or Dimensions, if you use them) to layers other than Layer0. And don’t explode a component or group on a layer other than Layer0 - a quirk in Sketchup then assigns the exploded geometry to the layer the component or group was on.

Search this forum for Layer0 to find more on this vexed topic.


Create/relocate all of your ‘raw’ geometry [edges|lines/faces] using Layer0.
Always have Layer0 set as the default [current/active] layer.

Then assemble related geometry into ‘containers’ == Groups or Components.
You can the assign other layers to those ‘containers’.
Layers control the visibility of the objects to which they are assigned.
Never assign alternative layers to geometry - unless you want to jump through many hoops that are quite frankly unnecessary…

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Urgh dear… that is starting to sound complicated. Maybe I should just forget layers and do everything on Layer 0 as I was doing before. I had never heard of this rule before.

Thank you for telling me that.

I’m afraid I have not yet got as a far as ‘exploding’ things. Have no idea what this term refers to.

It really isn’t complicated. Use Layers and Scenes to show different views of your model. DON’T be tempted to think that Layers in Sketchup work like layers in Photoshop or some other CAD programs - they don’t.

They only control what objects (assigned to that layer) are visible or not, if the layer is turned off. They don’t separate objects from each other.

And Exploding just refers to unmaking a group or component - returning it to raw geometry, the reverse of Make Group or Make Component. It’s rarely necessary, so don’t worry about it for now.

Ah… thank you! I see now. I just tended to edit components. I get it now. And yes - I am so used to Photoshop that that’s how I was viewing layers. That’s worth knowing, so cheers!

Here’s how to find some models I’ve drawn of stage sets for our amateur theatre, on 3D Warehouse ( https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com ) , from which you can see the kinds of thing you can do with Scenes. Layers, Components, and Groups.

Search the warehouse for “abbey theatre” without the quotes, download a few of my models (those by JohnMcC), and look at the Scene tabs and what layers are visible in different scenes. Have the Layers window open as you change from one scene to the next.

And open the Outliner window to see how the model is built of nested components and (in a few cases) groups.

This will be a long-winded answer, and at least one SketchUp Sage may have something better to say.
In SketchUp, layers only control visibility. This is different from other programs, such as PhotoShop, where objects actually reside on different layers; it’s the digital equivalent of the old commercial-art technique of composing an advertisement or book cover by pasting different elements onto separate layers of clear acetate.
But in SketchUp, it’s best to keep all the objects—components, groups, etc.—on Layer 0.And never mess with Layer 0 by deleting it or making it not visible. Use the Entity Info box to assign individual objects to whatever layers you choose. So, for example, you can keep your text on Layer 0 but assign the text elements to your Text Layer.
Layers work tandem with SketchUp’s Scenes. Imagine you have designed a cabinet with a door, and you want to show the door closed and open. All the parts of the cabinet are components, of course, and all reside on Layer 0. Create 2 additional layers. Associate the Door closed component with Layer 1. Create a new scene showing the door closed; have layers 0 and 1visible, layer 2 not visible. Now, copy the door component and rotate it open. Make the copy unique and associate it with layer 2. Create a new scene showing the door open; this time, have layer 0 and 2 visible, layer 1 not visible. You can toggle between the scenes or go to View>Animation to watch the door open and shut. If you make layers 1 and 2 not visible, you will, of course, see both the closed and open door on layer 0, where they reside.
And if you really want to kill a lot of time, arrange 12 circles in a circular array. Keep them all on Layer 0. Create 12 scenes and 12 layers, and associate each circle with a different layer. Have only 1 layer visible in each scene, going in numerical order. Play the animaiton and watch what appears to be a single cirlce moving around an orbit.

Do all work on Layer (0), make each object a group or component. Name a new Layer, select the group(s) or component(s) you want to separate to new layer. From View>Toolbars scroll down and select Layers, and then dock it on the lower part of the screen next to your VCB.
With the one or how many items you selected click the layer number or name an they are assigned.

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Re: @davidheim1’s explanation. It falls into the trap that causes confusion about SketchUp “layers”.

SketchUp layer objects have behavioral properties (visibility being the most important,) that can be shared with many objects.

But SketchUp layer objects have no entity collections, so drawing element objects can not actually be put “on” any layer.

Conversely, it is the individual objects themselves, that have a “layer” property, which can be assigned to point at some specific layer, a thereby assuming the behavior of the layer.

So, let us try to use the terms:

  • “assign an object to use a layer”
  • “associate an object with a layer”
  • “set an object’s layer property to point at a desired layer”

The opposite is not true. A layer is not assigned to a specific object, because it is only a behavioral property object that is shared. And it doesn’t have an interface to the collection of objects that “use” it’s behaviors.

So, the Layer toolbar and Layer manager panel’s “current” (or “active”) layer, is simply the default pointer to be assigned to the layer property of any newly created drawing objects.

The Entity Info panel’s Layer dropdown control, is the override for the selected object(s) layer property. (You can set or change the layer property pointers for multiple objects, in one action, if multiple objects are selected. And they need not be the same type of object.)

This action can also be done with the Layer toolbar (as shown above.) When multiple objects, using the same layer are selected, the toolbar background color changes to yellow and the icon to the selection arrow. When multiple objects, using different layers are selected, the toolbar display is blank, but any choice made in the dropdown control, will change all selected objects.