Why rename Layers to Tags?

Along with most other photo editing programs that also isolate changes to each layer.


Well herein lies the original concept, layers where and are used to control the rendering behaviors.
Be it objects or edges.
If tags should be considered as labels, you might as well add rendering behaviors to other ‘organisational’ methods, too. Like in Outliner (there is only the eye for visibility) or Classification tags, which are now the only tags that behave like tags…

Of course. What I was trying to say that modelling in SU is nearer to using a CAD application than a photo editor or other graphic industry applications (DTP or illustration)


No, it is not difficult to understand. Layers are as Layers in all other CAD software, except that EVERY entity may be alone on a layer, a geometric entity or a group/component.

People who started to work with LastSoftware/Google SketchUp had to know that they must change layer only on group/component by default. Geometric entity as exception.

Now people ask were are the layers.

The change of the name of the layers in Tag is one of the pseudo-novelties of Trimble which does nothing. Besides, to my knowledge, no other software uses this name of “tag”. When I saw these “tags” coming in beta-test, I was about to report a localization error, so I did not imagine it possible.

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As has been pointed out countless times (the way I see it) it was pretty much necessary to change the name of layers in SketchUp to something else because of the new override ability in Layout…

There’s nothing pseudo about it


Well, it did no good, it did no harm. No fluffy animals killed in the process. It was unnecessary, but I can live with it quite well.


Right. I used SketchUp 2020, and now I go back to 2018. There is almost nothing new.

I don’t know if you are programming, but maybe you can guess. Technically it’s nothing to change the layer name to “Tag”.
If it was a real problem, why did Trimble take several years to do it ?

Personally, I don’t care. I just amusedly notice that now there is a regular question “where are the layers?”

Of course, this touches on the very subtle issue of software ergonomics. What the creators of SketchUp mastered.

In addition, the explanations that can be read here reveal that the word Tag is not clear, with for example confusion with the BIM classification.

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Did you not read what I said? Have you not been following the release notes?

The issue is not that this was a “problem” that has taken Trimble years to sort out, but, because of a new feature in Layout where there is already a Layers ability they needed to change the name of SketchUp Layers to Tags.

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I skim-read this so not sure if it’s been mentioned…

But yes…we have “Tags” but the interface/panel that’s used to assign them and apply styles (both in SU and LO) looks and behaves very much like the interface one would find in Photoshop, Autocad, etc. ie, it’s a list of names that have an order to them and some visibility and style overrides.
AutoCAD has Layer Filters, which is more similar to SU’s Tags.

“Tags” I would expect are something you might drag and drop onto a selection of JPGs or MP3s (lol) and assign multiple tags, like adding keywords/metadata. Surely it’s been considered whether SU objects coudl belong to multple Tags at the same time (i dont see why not)? then give Tags panel a filter?

In my 17yrs sketchup experience (including as a tutor) I’ve witnessed a large majority of new users completely struggle to understand the realtionship between groups, components, layers/tags, styles and scenes (especially). It’s the part of the SU+LO ecosystem that that needs a lot of specific instruction , otherwise people can go years using Sketchup (dabbling, really) before fully understanding how to organise a model and get decent-looking drawings out of LO. Learning Tags/Scenes/Styles is probably the biggest plateau to reach in learning SU.


There is no new feature in Layout that justify the name changed. Layout had layers since the beginning.

The dashed line for example controlled by tag is in fact a layer… or a tag if you want.
And it was understand in Layout as a SKP layer inside a panel that control SKP viewport. So, there is no confusion with layers in Layout.

The only change of name who had sense was when Layout beta was created. The pages in SketchUp were renamed as scenes because there is pages in Layout.

I agree with this.

I also skim-read this thread. But “layers” in SU don’t make sense, for the same reason peoplle are complaingin about “tags.” There are inherent connotations of these words, as they are well established in the design/creative community.

“Layers” imply a stacking heirarchy
“tags” imply descriptive labeling, or Metadata

My workflow utilizes Vectorworks and SketchUp equally, and Vectorworks has a much cleaner method for organization, called “classes.” This makes a whole lot more sense from a nomenclature sense. They use Layers like you would expect, to determine a stacking order in 2d space. For all other organization, you categorize by class, which format along Architectural Drafting Standards.

One other thing, in case it wasn’t mentioned, you can easily “multi-tag” things through nesting. I would recommend SU not use tagging like one might for photos or assets in the metadata sense. I think it would get far too messy

Finally! Someone mentioned Vectorworks and classes. I’ve never used ACAD, but I’ve always heard that VW’s classes are the same as ACAD’s layers. VW has both layers, which represent the 3D spatial relationship of objects, and geometry on an upper layer can obscure geometry on a lower layer; and classes represent objects with similar characteristics, such as plumbing or electrical fixtures, so they can be turned on or off across all layers. So if ACAD’s layers actually act the same as VW classes, I can see why they were called that from the outset of SU. But I’ve never understood why the term layers was ever used in SU or ACAD for objects that don’t have a spatial stacking relationship. Bottom line though, I don’t really care if they’re called tags, or layers, or little green men from mars!

The change to layout was the new ability to control tag visibility in viewports directly from layout, which is fabulous. This meant that layout needed a new pallet to control this feature, and had the name stayed the same layout would have had two “layers” pallets controlling totally different things with different concepts of the same word.

Since the term Layers in SketchUp had always added confusion for those coming from other, particularly 2D, programs a new word was chosen. I’m ambiguous about the choice, but I don’t loose any sleep over it. And, I love the control of tags in layout. Much of the resistance is simply discomfort with change. In 3 years nobody will have this discussion, tags will be tags.


I know. But there is no confusion, because it is a function in viewport panels. It is fabulous… yes and no… there is some problems with scene. Scene control viewports from SketchUp in Layout…

There is now questions in different forums, about were are the layers in SketchUp…

It seems that it has taken some people over 2 years to notice the change. We are discussing changes that were introduced in version 2020.


I trust that Trimble developers are taking a really good look at how other software (VW, Archicad, etc…including InDesign/Illustrator) handle these things and picking the best fit for what we do (not easy).

To be honest I dont really care about the change of name from Layers to Tags (Classes would have been a better name, perhaps).

I also think a lot of software starts simple & easy, then starts adding features (SU has definitely done this) and then at some point people have to make a decision: do we keep with the status quo which may become “clunky”? … or do we streamline the interface around the new features and make everything flow much better?
I think SU+LO has added some pretty good functionality around tag & edge styles, but it’s about time for a top-down interface refresh.


This question is asked by newbie users from what I understand.

How would newbie users know about layers?
It’s rather users jumping from antediluvian versions to current ones.