How to Use Layers in SketchUp

By Aidan Chopra

You can find the Layers dialog box on the Window menu in SketchUp. It’s a pretty simple piece of machinery, as shown. Here’s what everything does:

  • Add Layer: Clicking this button adds a new layer to your SketchUp file.

  • Delete Layer: Click this button to delete the currently selected layer. If the layer you’re trying to delete contains anything, SketchUp asks what you want to do with it; choose an option and click Delete.

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  • Layer Options flyout menu: This menu offers the following useful options:

    • Purge: When you choose Purge, SketchUp deletes all the layers that don’t contain geometry. This is a handy way to keep your file neat and tidy.

    • Color by Layer: Notice how each layer in the list has a little material swatch next to it? Choosing Color by Layer temporarily changes all the colors in your SketchUp model to match the colors (or textures) assigned to each layer. To see what’s on each layer, this is the way to go.

  • Layers list: This is a list of all the layers in your SketchUp file. You need to know about these three columns:

    • Name: Double-click a layer’s name to edit it. Giving your layers meaningful names is a good way to quickly find what you want.

    • Visible: This check box is the heart and soul of the Layers dialog box. When it’s selected, the geometry on that layer is visible; when the check box isn’t selected, the layer’s geometry isn’t visible.

    • Color: You can choose to view your model using Color by Layer. You can choose which material (color or texture) to assign to each layer by clicking the Color swatch.