SketchUp Help Center

How Can We Help?

Working with Hierarchies in the Outliner

In SketchUp, the Outliner enables you to view a model’s groups and componentsgroups, components, and section planes as a hierarchical tree. With the Outliner, you can

Note: The Outliner is also included with SketchUp for Web, Shop edition. To learn more about the features in SketchUp Shop, see SketchUp for Web: Free vs Shop.
  • Navigate large models.
  • Name groups and componentsgroups, components, and section planes.
  • Find a component instance or section plane.
  • Restructure the model hierarchy.

To open the Outliner, as shown in the following figure, select Window > Outliner from the menu bar. select Window > Outliner from the menu bar.select Window > Default Tray > Outliner from the menu bar. Your model’s name appears at the top of the hierarchy. In this example, the model is named Two story house and, within the House group, it contains three groups named First floor, Second floor, and Roof. (The Roof group is hidden.) You also see a section plane called Plan view, although the section plane isn't visible and the section cut isn't active.

In SketchUp's interface, open the Outliner panel to see the hierarchy of groups and components.

In SketchUp's interface, open the Outliner panel see the hierarchy of groups, components, and section planes.

When a group or component contains nested elements, the Outliner’s navigation tree displays a plus sign (Microsoft Windows) or triangle arrow (Mac OS X) next to the group or component’s name.

You can explore the hierarchy of your model in the following ways:

  • To see what’s nested in a group or component, click the plus sign or triangle next to its name. The plus sign changes to a minus sign or the right-pointing triangle turns downward. After you display nested elements, you can then click the minus sign or downward triangle to close that branch of the hierarchy.
  • To see all the groups and componentsgroups, components, and section planes in a model’s hierarchy, click the Details arrow () and select Expand All from the menu.
  • To close the hierarchy, click the Details arrow and select Collapse All.

In the sections that follow, you find details about naming and finding groups and componentsgroups, components, and section planes and changing the structure of your model’s hierarchy.

Table of Contents
  1. Renaming a group or componentgroup, component, or section plane
  2. Finding a group or componentgroup, component, or section plane
  3. Identifying the status of a group or componentgroup, component, or section plane
  4. Restructuring a model’s hierarchy
  5. Controlling visibility with the Outliner

Renaming a group or componentgroup, component, or section plane

After you create group or componentgroup, component, or section plane , the Outliner enables you to give that entity a meaningful name.

Tip: Giving these entities meaningful names enables you and others to find, select, and edit the entities quickly and easily. For example, a meaningful name might describe a group or component’s location. In a model of a housing development, you might create a group for each plot of land and name it after the plot numbers. As you continue to build the model, you might import SketchUp models of standard house designs, and each component’s name would reflect the design name. In the preceding figure, each group was given a more descriptive name than the default name, Group. With the descriptive names, you can easily see which group is the roof, first floor, or second floor.

Rename a group

To name (or rename) a group in the Outliner, follow these steps:

  1. Context-click the group name in the Outliner and select Rename from the menu that appears.
  2. Type a name.
  3. Press Enter (Microsoft Windows ) or Return (Mac OS X) to save the name.

Rename a component

Compared to renaming groups, renaming components is a bit more complicated. You can rename the component definition or an instance of that component’s definition. ( Adding Premade Components and Dynamic Components explains the difference between a component definition and a component instance.)

By default, every component instance has the same name as its definition, and in the Outliner, all components are enclosed in angle brackets. If you have several component instances with the same name, you may have a hard time finding the instance you need. Say you have four instances of the same chair component, and each instance illustrates a different color option. To locate each color option quickly and easily in the Outliner, you might add the color name to each component instance. To rename a component instance, follow the same steps you use to rename a group.

When you rename the component definition, you change the name of every component instance in your model. To rename a component definition, follow these steps:

  1. In the Outliner, context-click the component name and select Entity Info from the menu that appears.
  2. In the Definition text box, select the component definition name and type a new one, as shown in the following figure. When you’re done, you can close the Entity Info box. Back in the Outliner, your component instances all show the new definition name.

Rename a section plane

The Outliner enables you rename both the section plane and its symbol. To rename a section plane via the Outliner, context-click the section plane and select Rename Section Plane or Rename Symbol. Then type your desired name for the plane or symbol and press Enter.

For details about section planes, see Slicing a Model to Peer Inside.

Finding a group or componentgroup, component, or section plane

When you need to find a specific group or componentgroup, component, or section plane in your model, here’s how the Outliner can help:

  • Select: When you select a group or componentgroup, component, or section plane in your model, it becomes highlighted in the Outliner, too. Conversely, select a group or componentgroup, component, or section plane in the Outliner, and you select that a group or componentgroup, component, or section plane in your model.
  • Sort: To sort all the model entities in the Outliner by name, click the Outliner’s Details arrow () and select Sort By Name. If this menu item is selected, choosing it deselects the Sort By Name option. When Sort By Name is deselected, components are sorted by creation or insertion.
  • Filter: At the top of the Outliner, type a term to filter what entities appear in the Outliner. In the following figure, you see the Outliner is filtered to show only entities that contain the word Floor.

Identifying the status of a group or componentgroup, component, or section plane

The Outliner uses icons and text to identify a group or componentgroup, component, or section plane, as well as its status (open, locked, or hidden). The following table shows how the icon and text change as the group or component’s status changes.

Tip: Open means a group or componentgroup, component, or section plane t can be edited. Locked means the group or componentgroup, component, or section plane can’t be edited, as explained in Grouping Geometry. Hidden means the group or componentgroup, component, or section plane isn’t visible, as explained in Softening, Smoothing, and Hiding Geometry.
Status Group Component Section Plane
Open *
Inactive n/a n/a
Locked
Hidden

* Section plane cuts are also active or inactive. This image displays a section plane that is unlocked and an active cut.

Restructuring a model’s hierarchy

If a model’s group and component hierarchy needs to be adjusted, you can click and drag an item to a new position in the Outliner.

For example, say you want the sofa to be tucked inside the First floor group, so that the hierarchy reflects where the sofa is located. Simply drag the sofa component to the desired position, as shown in the figure.

Controlling visibility with the Outliner

As mentioned in the table earlier in this article, any item that's grayed out in the Outliner is hidden. Indeed, the Outliner can be a helpful way to hide or show elements in your model as you work on it.

To hide an element in the Outliner, context-click it and select Hide from the menu that appears. Everything your element contains becomes hidden. For example, to hide everything in the second floor and see only the first floor, all you have to do is hide the Second floor group and Roof group, as shown in the figure.

In the SketchUp Outliner, you can hide a group or component

In the SketchUp Outliner, you can hide a group, component, or section plane

To see the hidden group or componentgroup, component, or section plane again, simply context-click it in the Outliner and select Unhide.

OS:

Need Help Fast?

SketchUp’s outstanding community of passionate experts have answers to your questions.