SketchUp’s Components Dialog Box

By Aidan Chopra

It’s all fine and dandy that SketchUp lets you turn bits of your models into components, but wouldn’t it be nice if you had someplace to keep them? And wouldn’t it be great if you could use components that other people made to spiff up your model instead of building everything yourself?

As you’ve probably already guessed, both of these things are possible, and both involve the Components dialog box, which you can find on the Window menu.

You can bring any SketchUp model on your computer into your current file as a component. That’s because components are really just SketchUp files embedded in other SketchUp files. When you create a component in your model, you’re effectively creating a new, nested SketchUp file. Neat, huh?

The Components dialog box is made up of four major areas:

  • Info and buttons

  • The Select tab

  • The Edit tab

  • The Statistics tab

Info and buttons

This part of the Components dialog box contains information and buttons. Here’s what everything does:

  • Name: The name of the component you select appears here. If your component is in your model, it’s editable. If the component is in one of the default collections, it’s not. A component is considered to be in your model if it appears in your In Model collection.

  • Description: Some, but not all, components have descriptions associated with them. You can write one when you create a new component, or you can add one to an existing component in your model. Just like the name, you can edit descriptions for models only in your In Model library.

  • Display Secondary Selection Pane button: Clicking this button opens a second view of your collections at the bottom of the Components dialog box. Use this view to manage the components on your computer.

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The Select tab

This is where your components live (if they can be said to live anywhere). Use the Select tab to view, organize, and choose components.

The Edit tab

The options in this part of the Components dialog box are similar to the ones you get when you make a new component.

You can use the options in the Edit tab only on components in your In Model collection — everything is grayed out for components that live in any other place.

The Statistics tab

Can you remember who won the 1975 Super Bowl? How many home runs did Hank Aaron hit in his career? Do you always check the nutrition information panel on food packaging? You may be a sucker for statistics, and if so, welcome home . . . .

Even if you’re not, the Statistics tab is a useful place to spend some time. Use this tab to keep track of all the details related to whatever component you have selected in the Components dialog box. This tab is especially useful for doing the following things:

  • Checking the size of your components: The information in the Edges and Faces areas of this tab lets you know how much geometry is in a component. If you’re worried about file size or your computer’s performance, try to use small components — ones with low numbers of faces and edges.

  • Seeing what components are inside your components: The Component Instances line lists how many component instances are in your selected component. If you switch from All Geometry to Components in the drop-down list at the top of the tab, you can see a list of all the constituent components: subcomponents within your main component.

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The Statistics tab doesn’t show details for components you have selected in your actual model; it shows only information about the component that’s selected in the Select tab of the Components dialog box. To see information about whatever component (or other kind of object) you have selected in your modeling window, use the Entity Info dialog box (located in the Window menu).