Controlling Visibility with Tags

In SketchUp, you can use Tags to organize objects and control their visibility. By hiding tagged objects in one click, you can hide large chunks of your model to find things faster, and even speed up SketchUp a bit too. Especially on large projects, you don’t need to see everything in your model all at once, but SketchUp tracks everything displayed in a model as you work. So, use tag visibility both to set up scenes in SketchUp, but also to set up your model for efficient operation.

To control visibility with tags, first create tags in the Tags panel; then assign tags to selected objects in Entity Info. We strongly recommend assigning tags to objects (groups and components) -- and not to entities (edges and faces).

By default, any new raw geometry you create is on the ‘Untagged’ tag. Before assigning tags, make sure you understand the process of making groups and components. Your models will be much more predictable if you refrain from assigning tags to entities, or changing the active tag. (Unless you are an experienced modeler, don’t use the pencil icon in the Tags panel).

Note: in previous versions of SketchUp, Tags were referred to as Layers.

Now that you understand the basics, let’s walk through SketchUp’s Tags in two parts:

Getting to know Tags

Let’s take a quick look at how to control tag visibility. In the following figure, each group has been assigned its own tag, and each tag appears in the Tags panel. After the Visibility for the Roof tag is deselected, the roof becomes hidden, and you can peer inside the second floor. Simple as that.

To create and manage tags, let’s take a tour of the Tags panel. Find this panel under Window & Tags on MacOS, or in the default tray on Windows. (Window > Default Tray).

  1. Add tags: Click the plus sign in the upper left and a new tag appears in the list. Type a name for the tag and press Enter (or Return). If you decide to rename a tag, simply double-click its name in the Tags panel and enter a new name. Remember, you’ll need to add tags, before you can classify them as selected objects in Entity Info.
  2. Add Tag Folder: You can create folders to organize tags into like categories. Use tag folders to turn off large chunks of a model (by controlling the visibility of an entire folder’s tags), and also to make things easier for models with long lists of tags. Tag Filtering: To zero in quickly on a tag or tag folder, use the field at the top of the Tags panel to search for a tag. Your search will filter the Tags panel to only show bolded tags with a matching string (as shown in this figure). Note: While filtering, we suggest using the ‘Expand All’ option in the Details Menu to see tags in folders.
  3. Details menu: This sidecar menu offers utilities for managing tags, including Delete Tags. When deleting selected tags, SketchUp asks where you’d like to move its contents. To delete all unused tags (and empty folders), open the Details menu and hit Purge All.
  4. The 'active tag': Remember, this the setting we recommend not messing with! If you like, you can change to active tag, to create new geometry by default on a tag.
  5. Dash Pattern: Here, you can set the dash pattern of a tag to style the lines of all objects with this tag.
  6. Sort tags by name or visibility: When you click the Name or Visible column header, you are sorting the list of tags into order by either Name (ascending or descending) or Visibility (visible or not visible).
  7. Color by Tag: A relatively unfound gem in the Tags panel is the Color by Tag rendering mode. In the Details menu, you can turn on Color by Tag to visualize all object in the modeling window with the color of their assigned tag. Set a tag color by clicking the color swatch next to its name. Revert to non-colored Tags by toggling off this mode in the Details menu.

Working with Tag Folders

Once you find your groove with Tags as a visibility and object management tool, you may want more options for organization. The more complicated your model gets, the more the Tag window will fill with a list of similarly named tags, this can be hard to scan and may slow you down when you want to control visibility on the fly. Luckily, you can group your tags together in meaningful Tag Folders such as "furniture" or "entourage" or "living room." Your organizational style is your own, we just create the tools to let you do it.

There are two ways to create tag folders, first go to Window > Tags to open the Tags panel.

Click the Add Folder icon ().

If no tags are selected then this will create an empty, unnamed folder. After hitting the folder icon, you can type to name the new folder and hit Enter to continue. If you don’t name your folder, SketchUp will automatically number it. Now, select one or multiple tags to drag them into your folder.

You can add a new tag to an existing folder by selecting the desired folder and clicking the Add Tag icon. This will plant a new tag, ready to name, in your folder. You also add folders to tag folders in this manner.

If one or multiple tags are already selected then this will create a new, unnamed folder containing the tags you had selected. To select tags, use the CTRL (Command on Mac) key to select tags one at a time. Use the Shift key to select a range of tags.

Bonus points: filter your tag list (using the search box at the top of the window, you can use the Details menu to Select All, and create a Tag Folder of your selected search. For example, type "floor" to show all tags that have "floor" in the name, select all of those results, then create a new folder as described above.

You can add as many folders as you need. If you choose to remove a folder, simply right-click the folder you wish to delete, open the Details menu, and choose Delete Tag. This will delete the folder but leave the Tags intact, moving them up one level in the tag tree