The Select Tab of SketchUp’s Components Dialog Box

By Aidan Chopra

Your SketchUp components live (if they can be said to live anywhere) on the Select tab of the Components dialog box. Use the Select tab to view, organize, and choose components.

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  • In Model Collection button: SketchUp automatically keeps track of the components you’ve used in your model and puts a copy of each of them in your In Model collection. Each SketchUp file you create has its own In Model collection, which contains the components that exist in that model. Clicking the In Model Collection button displays the components in your In Model collection, if you have any.

  • Collections List button: The components listed under the Favorites heading are a mix of two collection types:

    • Local collections are folders of components that live on your hard drive. You can access them anytime because they refer to files on your computer.

    • Online collections are groupings of components that live in the 3D Warehouse (which you can read lots more about in this book). Unlike local collections, you can access online collections only when you’re — you guessed it — online.

    Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell just by looking at them in the list which collections are local and which are online. If you click the name of a collection and see a progress bar before you see any models, that collection is online.

  • 3D Warehouse search box: It works just like any regular search box: Type what you’re looking for and press Enter. Models in the 3D Warehouse that match your search terms appear in the Components window below. Naturally, you need to be online for this to work.

  • Components window: This window displays the components in the currently selected component collection, or the results of a 3D Warehouse search you’ve just performed. Click a component to use it in your model.

    Components that have a little green arrow icon next to them are special; they’re Dynamic Components. They have special abilities.

  • View Options button: Pretty simple, really. This is where you decide how to view the components (or subcollections) in the Components window.

  • Collection Details menu: Here’s where you manage your component collections. A bunch of options exist:

    • Open a Local Collection: Lets you choose a folder on your computer system to use as a component collection. Any SketchUp models in that folder show up in the Components window, ready to be used as components in your models.

    • Create a New Collection: Allows you to create a folder somewhere on your computer system that you can use as a component collection. A collection is handy if you have a number of components that you use all the time; putting them all in one place makes them easier to find.

    • Save as a Local Collection: When you choose this option, SketchUp lets you save the components that currently appear in your Components window as a brand-new local collection. If the components you’re viewing are online, copies of them get downloaded to your computer. If you’re viewing the In Model collection, the contents are copied and included in a new folder. If you’re already viewing a local collection, this option isn’t available.

    • View in 3D Warehouse: If you’re viewing an online collection, this option opens that collection in a separate window that displays the 3D Warehouse in much more detail.

    • 3D Warehouse Terms of Service: Choose this option if you’re having trouble sleeping. If you’re wondering who owns the stuff on the 3D Warehouse, this is where it’s at.

    • Add to Favorites: Choosing this option adds whatever you’re viewing in the Components window to the Favorites section of the Collections list. That goes for local collections (folders on your computer); online collections (from the 3D Warehouse); and 3D Warehouse searches. That’s right — you can save a search as a favorite collection. The models in a Favorite Search collection are always different, depending on what’s in the 3D Warehouse.

    The next two options appear only when you’re viewing your In Model collection:

    • Expand: Because components can be made up of other, nested components, a component you use in your model may really be lots of components. Choosing Expand displays all the components in your model whether or not they’re nested inside other components. Most of the time, you probably want to leave Expand deselected.

    • Purge Unused: Choose this option to get rid of any components in your In Model collection that aren’t in your model anymore. Be sure to use this before you send your SketchUp file to someone else; it significantly reduces your file size and makes the file a whole lot neater.