Grouping Geometry

In SketchUp, there are two types of Objects; Groups and Components. Objects are there to help you organize your model because:

  • Objects hold other entities. In a 3D model of a house, for example, you can put all the house geometry into an object, either a group or a component.
  • You can nest objects within objects. For your house model, this means that the first floor, second floor, and roof can each be an object within the house object. In each of your floor objects, you can nest furniture, which may be groups or components.
  • Objects don’t stick to other entities outside their own object. This means you can edit each object independently of other objects, even if the objects are stacked on top of each other. For example, if you need to change the footprint of a house, you can change the floor first and then edit the roof to match. Without these objects, the walls in the house would stick to the roof, and all the geometry can quickly become distorted.
  • You can lock objects to prevent editing. A locked object can't be moved or edited and is a great way to have boundaries for convenient snapping without accidentally modifying your geometry.

If you need a bit more insight into what the difference is between a Group and a Component, take a look at this Skill Builder:


Tip: When you need to see how objects are nested, look no further than the Outliner.Working with Hierarchies in the Outliner explains everything you can do with this handy feature.


To create and work with objects in a 3D model, here’s what you need to know:

  • To select an object, click it with the Select tool. The object's bounding box becomes highlighted, as shown in Callout 1.
  • To open an object’s context so that you can edit the entities within the object, double-click the object with the Select tool. The dotted box indicates the object’s context is open and you can edit the entities. (See Callout 2.) To leave the object’s context, click an empty part of the drawing area, or choose Edit > Close Group/Component.
  • To create an object, select all the geometry you want to include in the object. (Selecting Geometry offers lots of tips for making selections.) Then, from the menu bar, choose Edit > Make Group or Edit > Make Component. Alternatively, context-click the selection and choose Make Group or Make Component.

    You can also create Groups and Components without any geometry selected, that process is detailed below.
  • To break up the object, click to select it and choose Edit > Group > Explode or Edit > Component > Explode.
  • To lock an object so it can't be edited, context-click it and select Lock. After you lock an object, the menu item changes to Unlock, so you can reverse the change. Lock an object to prevent it from being edited accidentally as you work on nearby parts of a model.


Creating Blank Objects

With SketchUp 2020.1, you can create a group or component “from scratch” without having geometry selected.

To start a blank group:

  1. To start the creation process you have three options:
    1. Go to Edit > Make Group
    2. In the work space, right-click on empty space and select "Make Group."
    3. Press the Make Group shortcut (if applicable)
  2. The group selection will return the cursor in the model work space inside of your empty group. Begin drawing in the model to create your group.
  3. When you’re done with your edits, switch to the Select tool, then click outside the group to exit.

To start a blank component:

  1. To start the creation process you have four options:
    1. When no geometry is selected, click on the Make Component button.
    2. Go to Edit > Make Component.
    3. In the work space, right-click on empty space and select "Make Component..."
    4. Press the Make Component shortcut (if applicable)
  2. You’ll now have an axis at your cursor which you can place. Click anywhere in your model to start your component.
  3. Once you place your axes, the 'Create Component' dialog will appear. Name your component, click the Create button.
  4. Start drawing as you would with a normal model.
  5. When you’re done with your edits, switch to the Select tool, then click outside of the component to exit.
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