I would like to show/hide a Google Earth folder without affecting the visibility settings of items nested within that folder.

For example, several top-level folders might each contain a hierarchy of folders and placemarks, each of which may have had hand-tuned visibility that I don't want to lose when temporarily toggling visibility of folders higher up in the hierarchy.

It appears that when the visibility of a higher-level folder is toggled, its new visibility setting is forced upon all its children.

Is there a way to preserve the visibility settings of children (ie., make them independent) when their parent's visibility is changed?

[Of course I'd expect if their parent is hidden, a child would be hidden too regardless of its visibility setting. A child item would display if their parent's visibility is set to 'not hidden' AND their own visibility is set to 'not hidden'.]

If that's not possible with the current GE interface, is there a good alternative or work-around? RadioFolder style does not seem to be a solution as it seems to be handled by the GE interface the same way as regular folders (children settings are altered when parent visibility is altered). I guess I could convert folders into network links and then manage them independently, manually doing a 'save' (overwrite) to set child settings and a reload to restore the visibility settings (but that would be clumsy). Any suggestions?


You are correct that you cannot change the visibility of the parent folder without applying it to all of its children. This is a limitation of the Places UI which helps keep things simple. The ListStyle "checkHideChildren" option would not work well without it.

As you suggested, you can sort-of do what you want by using network links to refresh the original version of the file with your desired visibility settings.

A similar approach is to have each top-level folder be its own KML file on your local drive, and instead of toggling-on the visibility checkbox, you can right-click and select "Revert" to re-load the file (with original visibility settings). It takes a bit of setup, and is not a single click in the UI, but could be a workaround depending on your needs.

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