There’s more than might initially meet the eye with the humble select tool () in SketchUp. How many times you click will affect your selection.
This guide will cover:
- how single, double, and triple clicks will change your selection
- the differences when you’re selecting loose geometry (faces, edges, and vertices that are not part of a group or component) vs. selecting groups and components
Selecting loose geometry
Single-click selects a specific entity
With the select tool activated, a single-click will select the specific geometry you’re pointed at. The single edge, face, or vertex.
Double-click selects entity and neighbors it touches
Double-clicking will select the geometry you’re pointed at and it’s immediate neighbors. For example, double-clicking on a face will select the face and the edges that are touching it. If you double-click an edge, it will select the edge and any faces it touches.
Triple-click selects all connected entities
Triple-clicking on geometry will select all connected entities. For example, you can select a board in all three dimensions (all faces and edges) with a triple-click. This works with more complex connected geometry as well.
The triple-click is often helpful when creating components. The workflow follows a standard pattern. First, you’ll draw a board, table-leg, shelf, etc. Then, you’ll triple-click to select the full 3D component. And then you can either right-click and select “Make Component...” or use the keyboard shortcut (G) to make the component.
Selecting groups and components
The select tool behaves slightly differently when clicking on groups and components. For brevity, I’ll just refer to components in this section. But selection works the same with both components and groups.
Single-click selects a single component
Single-clicking on a component is similar to how it acts with loose geometry. It will select just a single entity, the specific component. The important difference when working with components is that it will select the entire component. This includes all geometry within the component, not just a single face or edge.
Double-click opens the component for editing
When you double-click a component, you will open the component up for editing. You’ll now be able to select and edit the specific faces, edges, etc., that belong to the component. In this editor view, the select tool now has the same behavior as selecting loose geometry. Clicking outside of the dotted box around the component will exit this editor view for the component.
Single, double, and triple clicks have different selection effects in SketchUp. This is similar to how single, double, and triple-clicking changes your selection in a text editor. And don’t overlook how helpful triple-clicking can be when creating components.
Drag-selection also has some helpful (but hidden) features when selecting entities. This guide on drag selection in SketchUp will help you make sure you understand the difference between dragging to the left vs. to the right.