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Editing a Component

When you edit a SketchUp component, you can edit the component definition or the instance. When you edit the definition, you change every component instance. When you edit the instance, the component becomes an unique component and no longer reflects changes to its fellow components.

For example, say you’re modeling a picket fence. In your fence model, shown in the following figure, the Fence Panel component contains subcomponents: Post, Rail, and Picket.

Edit an SketchUp component instance or definition.

The following sections explain a few different ways you can edit components, using the Fence Panel component as an example.

Table of Contents
  1. Editing all instances of a component
  2. Changing a single component instance
  3. Editing a component with the Solid tools

Editing all instances of a component

To edit all instances of a component, follow these steps:

  1. Open the context for the component you want to edit. In this example, that’s the Picket component. To open the context, you can double-click the component. Or select it, context-click the selection, and choose Edit Component.
  2. Use the SketchUp drawing tools to edit your component. In this example, we used the Line, Tape Measure, 2 Point Arc, and Push/Pull tool to change the top of the Picket component. All component instances change as you draw.

    When you edit a SketchUp component definition, all component instances update automatically

  3. Click outside the component’s context and save your work. SketchUp automatically updates the component definition to reflect your edits.
After you edit a SketchUp component definition, click outside the context to see your edits

Changing a single component instance

Say you want to edit only one instance of a component. For example, perhaps you want to model two or more picket styles so that you can experiment with the options. Follow these steps to edit one instance but leave the other component instances as they are:

  1. Select the component instance that you want to edit.
  2. Context-click the selected instance and choose Make Unique, as shown in the figure. If you have the Entity Info panel open, you see that SketchUp changes the Definition by adding #1, or something similar. By making the instance unique, you’re basically creating a new component based on your original.

    To edit one instance of a SketchUp component, choose Make Unique

  3. Open the context for the unique component. To open the context, you can double-click the component. Or select it, context-click the selection, and choose Edit Component.
  4. Use the SketchUp drawing tools to make changes to the component. In this case, we made a slight change by selecting the edges on each side of the picket and moving them inward 5/16 inch. This made the picket width slightly narrower.

    Open a SketchUp components context to edit the component

  5. Click outside the component context when you’re done editing. In the figure, you can see that one picket is slightly narrower than the others.
When you finish editing a component instance, click outside its context to see the changes

Editing a component with the Solid tools

When you edit a component with the Solid tools, the steps are little different than the steps for editing components with the other drawing tools.

Tip: To start, if you want to use the Solid tools to edit a subcomponent within a component, you need to explode the main component. For example, to edit the Picket component with the Subtract tool, which is one of the Solid tools, you need to explode the Fence Panel component so that you can click the Picket component immediately after selecting the cutting object. After you’re done editing the Picket component, you can re-create the Fence Panel component.

The following steps explain how to edit a component with the Solid tools, using the fence model as an example:

  1. Edit the component with a Solid tool In this example, the Subtract tool cuts a hole in the Picket component. In the Entity Info panel, notice that the name of the component instance changes from Picket to Difference.

    After you edit a component with a Solid tool, the component becomes a unique component instance

  2. To update the component definition so that all pickets reflect your changes, context-click the modified picket and select Make Component.
  3. In the Create Component dialog box, make sure the component Name Definition matches the original component name. In this example, that name is Picket.
  4. Click the Create button. A dialog box asks whether you want to replace the component definition.

    Update all instances of a component with your changes

  5. Click Yes. All instances of your component reflect the change you made with the Solid tool or tools.
  6. (Optional) If you exploded a component to access subcomponents, you can re-create the component. For example, select all the entities in the updated fence and re-create the Fence Panel component.
If you explode a component to edit a subcomponent with the Solid tools, re-create the parent component
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