Minh Tran from Architecture Inspirations did an excellent job explaining how to use ComponentFinder.
ComponentFinder in Detail
ComponentFinder is a tool for quickly filtering and managing your components without going outside of SketchUp. So first things first, you need to choose which components from your hard disc you're going to work with and add them into the ComponentFinder viewer.
Choose a folder or a few folders from your hard disk. Each folder will appear as a separate ComponentFinder tab showing all the components of that folder.
To open multiple folders at once, hold Ctrl or Shift button when selecting.
Search and Find
Enter a keyword or a phrase to search through the open tabs. Matching components will pop up as you type.
Click on any component and place it into your model.
Zoom In / Out
Make the thumbnails larger or smaller.
Show or hide file names and their sizes.
Folder Tab View
In each folder tab you have two ways to view the components:
Flat View (Default)
See all the components in the current folder and in all of it's sub folders and in their sub folders... (5 levels deep).
The familiar browsing view of folders and components. Go in and out of folders.
Save Selected Component into Current Folder
Let's say you've made some changes to a component and you want to save it for later use. Select the component, decide on the folder and click on the blue [+] button.
Make a toolbar from any folder in one click.
Component toolbars can be docked anywhere on the screen (top, bottom, left, right) and will stay in place from session to session until they're closed - just like regular Sketchup toolbars.
📌 If you've created a components toolbar and then made changes to the components in the original folder - the toolbar will be updated with the correct components only after restarting Sketchup.
Sort components by their name or size.
Open Source Folder
Click to open the original folder in Windows Explorer / Mac Finder that the current folder tab is referring to.
If you've made file and/or folder changes in Windows Explorer / Mac Finder, you may need to refresh ComponentFinder's folder tabs. Click to refresh.
Right Click Options
Open containing folder in a new folder tab
This will open a new folder tab pointing to a folder where the right clicked component is located.
Use case example:
Let's say you have a folder called People. In that folder you have another folder called People-3D and a lot of other folders with all sorts of people. You open a ComponentFinder folder tab that is pointed at People. It's set to Flat File View since you want to see all your people in one place. What you want to do is save a 3D dude from your currently open model into the People-3D folder.
If you were to click on the blue [+] button, the save dialog would open into the root folder (People) - Probably not where you want to save your lovely 3D dude to. Instead,
- Right click on another 3D dude that is already in the currently open folder tab >
Open containing folder in a new folder tab=> Voila, the People-3D folder is open! Now you have a better view of where you're saving to.
- Click on the [+] button on the newly opened folder tab to save the component.
Rename the component for easy searching.
Overwrite with selected instance
This saves a component you've selected in the model, over the component you just right clicked on. (Model => ComponentFinder)
Use case example #1:
Let's say you have a component in your library that you want to make changes to, and then save it back.
- Pull it in. Make your changes.
- Right click on the original in the ComponentFinder folder tab >
Replace with selected instance=> The component in the library is updated.
Use case example #2:
This is also a great way to quickly update component thumbnails.
- Pull in a component
- Change the camera view
- Right click on the component >
Replace with selected instance=> Thumbnail updated.
Say Bye Bye to a component!
Click on the 'Home' button (or double click below the search field) to open the 'In-Model' components tab.
In-Model Tab Views
The In-Model tab shows you components and groups that are currently in your model.
It also has 2 different viewing modes, but they are a bit different from the regular folder tab views mentioned above.
Top-Level View (Default)
See all the components that are in the Top-Level, i.e., that are not contained within any other components.
To view all components, and all sub-components and groups that are in the model.
Note that when this view is enabled - it can take quite a long time to fetch all the components and it can make Sketchup tremendously slow until it's done.
On the bright side - You can stop the 'Fetching' any time by pressing on the button again to see Top-Level components only.
Once the fetching is done, the component thumbnails are cached in memory so the next time you open the In Model components they will load a lot faster!
Refresh The In-Model Tab
Usually the In-Model views will refresh automatically when new components are created/added/deleted... If for some reason something is missing, or you purged the model and the changes aren't visible, click to refresh, and you will see all the components as you would expect.
Right Click Options
Select all the instances of the component definition in the current model context.
Save the component out into Window Explorer / Mac Finder.
Deletes the component definition and all of it's instances in the model.
Faster In-Model Searching
When you need to search through a lot of In-Model components. Consider maximizing the In-Model tab window all the way to the bottom. This can dramatically enhance search speeds.
You can also double-click on the divider between the In-Model tab and the folder tabs to quickly maximize the In-Model tab.