How to Delete Unused Materials in SketchUp

Written by darrin koltow
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How to Delete Unused Materials in SketchUp
Deleting a SketchUp model's materials doesn't remove the material files themselves. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

By default, Google's 3D design program SketchUp stores several materials in your scene files -- even materials that the models in those files aren't using. This produces unnecessarily large scene files. Deleting -- called "purging" -- these unused materials reduces the disk space and the processing power needed to work with your scene files when SketchUp loads them into memory. Purging unused materials involves working with the eyedropper tool and the "in model" option of the Materials browser.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Click the file menu's "Open" command, then navigate to and double-click the SketchUp file containing a model whose unused materials you want to purge.

  2. 2

    Click the "Materials" item of the "Widows" menu to open SketchUp's Materials browser.

  3. 3

    Click the "In model" option from the drop-down box at the top of the browser to display all the materials available to your model. Though the materials listed are stored in your model's scene file, your model isn't necessarily using all of these materials, so now determine which materials your model is actually using.

  4. 4

    Click the Materials browser's eyedropper tool.

  5. 5

    Click one of the surfaces of your model, such as a face or edge of a polygon. The Materials browser displays a blue selection box around the material that the face you clicked is using.

  6. 6

    Hover your mouse over the selected material. SketchUp displays a small text box showing the material's name. Write that name down on paper.

  7. 7

    Repeat Steps 5 and 6 for each surface of your model to make a list of all the materials the model is using. You now have a list of used materials to compare against the materials stored in the current scene file, making it possible to delete the scene file materials that aren't on your list.

  8. 8

    Click the first icon in the Materials browser, then keep your mouse cursor hovered over the icon so SketchUp displays its name.

  9. 9

    Right-click the icon, then click "delete" -- but only if the material's name doesn't appear on your list from Step 7. If the name is on your list, do nothing, because your model is using this material.

  10. 10

    Repeat Step 9 for the remaining materials displayed in the browser to purge all unused materials from your model.

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