GSoC 2019: Outliner Improvements Ideas

I would like to see it possible to use the copy/duplicate command inside the Outliner on individual/multiple selected objects in a scene (only works on collections right now), so you don’t have to do it just inside the 3D Viewport.

I actually made a bug report months back that making a copy shortcut on an object would crash the program, but that was eventually patched up. However, it still lacks that functionality sadly.

Another functionality I would love to see is the ability to rename groups of objects at the same time to have the same name, and also give them individual numbers at the end to differentiate between them (i.e. Balloon_1, Balloon_2, etc.). Would save a bit of time if you could select several objects, then type a new name which renames all selected objects instead of having to copy+paste everything.

Also, being able to sort stuff in alphabetical/numerical and last created/edited order would be neat.


I stumbled upon this today, just to mention it here if you are not aware of it:
On - D4806
Covers the synced selection with 3d view and click and drag box selection.


Often when I add a new collection, it’s to organize and then hide a group of objects. After I hide and collapse the collection, I go back to editing other stuff. Then a half hour later I add a new object. But since the last collection I selected is hidden, the new object gets added to this hidden collection. I get confused for a few moments (the first time took me longer), wondering where my object is, and then realize my mistake and drag that object into another collection so I can see it. I can’t think of a time when anyone would want to add a new object to a hidden collection.

Off the top of my head, here’s a couple solutions:

  1. Do like Photoshop/Krita/etc. with layers and don’t allow new stuff to be added to a hidden collection, with a message on screen. For example, when trying to use the brush tool on a hidden layer, Photoshop says “Could not use the brush tool because the target layer is hidden”, and Krita simply says “Layer is invisible”
  2. When the last-selected collection is hidden, add new objects to the scene collection instead.

Then, besides what to do when the you try to add a new object with a hidden collection selected, I think that when you select an object, it should also consider that object’s collection to be the last-selected collection. In my example, this would also fix the problem, since I was editing an object in a visible collection before adding a new object.


Hi Nathan,
I summerize here is the complete list of patches by Aqib Maqbool implementing already most of your proposition aparently.


Allow to sync outliner filtered elements when you use the search box with viewport visible elements. Like unity.


Please, check this one. There is some moment that need more attention. Object hierarchies visibility toggle.

Hi Nathan!
Thanks for the updates and everything here are a suggestion I’ve come up with.

When the outliner is set on “Scenes” make the collections openable, could really help on big projects with a lot of objects :heart: (please)


Ctrl or shift click for selecting all the way from A to B like in any file explorer

Using b actually selecting the object and not just the outliner, why do we have this phase of semi selection tho ? It’s just annoying

Use 1234567890 shift and alt 1234567890 for hiding collection just like in the viewport

Making a more distinct visual difference between collections and objects

Having some memory info, how much vram the object take ? The mesh ? The texture ?

Having some mesh info, how many faces ? Poly ? Tris ?

Arrange in order of how much vram/poly the object, to quickly see who are the non-optimized assets


Make the toggles (visibility, selectability, renderability, etc.) operate on all selected items, rather than toggling a single one.


Hi. Some users think that visual numbering order for collections and sub collections independent of collection names, could serve for faster visual feedback and ordering. For example to quickly move elements between collections only with M + Numpad collection/subcollection number + Enter.


Hi! I made this proposal a while back on how to handle unlinked collections. Please check it out!


Can we have option to assign color to collection and this would make tint whole segment of outliner to such color. and also in viewport objects would be tinted a bit to that color.


+1 for “Arrow key navigation”. Feature I hoped to see for years :slight_smile:

This may sound extremely naive, but has proven to be very useful in practice (in Maya):
It would be great to be able to do “arrow” navigation (modified hotkey, or have an option to assign such) in Outliner hierarchy but from the 3D view. This is very useful for navigating bone/parent hierarchies, when it becomes almost impractical/impossible by clicking. It saves a lot of time and concentration compared to moving mouse to/from Outliner.

I get that it’s not a hotkey needed for every kind of user, but maybe some obscure key combination?


Sooo nice that the outliner gets even more love now!

I have some suggestions

-Propper drag and drop for all items, (parent child dependencies) should be changeable with drag and drop of multiple objects

-sort objects with drag and drop and without alphabetic order

-change colors of collections for better overview

Good luck!


Possibility to allow collections to behave like groups in Maya (so they exist and can have their own transforms, etc)? Probably beyond the scope of the project though. But my recommendation is to look at Maya’s outliner and to just copy it :stuck_out_tongue:


I would love to be able to freely rearrange objects in a hierarchy. By default Blender arranges the objects in a hierarchy in alphabetical order. You can turn it off, but you can’t rearrange them in the order you need them to be. I love this feature of Cinema 4D and would be happy to have it in Blender for better scene organization.


It would be nice to easier see your selection…

It is such a small difference today, I would like to be able to change color of the selection background. Orange on a orange icon is really hard to see :confused:


Devs are workin’ on this.

Hi, and thanks for all the effort!

Put in short (Outliner improvements)

  1. loose multiple styles of highlighting of items (there are like 3 types now!! >>confusing) use just one!
  2. what you select in Outliner should match whats selected in 3dview and viceversa!
  3. use principles for selecting/deselecting like in standard OS file explorer (shift selection row of objects etc) never had issue in WIN and Linux like in b3d :slight_smile:
    4)just one interaction tool in Outliner (standard mouse clicking, region selecting, dragging)…why to use more tools (box select) when mouse interaction is capable of all of them!!

Thats all and I will be most satisfied person in the universe! :slight_smile:



Padlock icon on top of each column of Restriction/Visibility to lock in case you want to avoid accidental changes:


Look for an alternative so that when you select Exclude/Disable from View layer, the contents of the collection will not disappear from Outliner. For better organization of the work, it is possible that the user needs to be able to continue seeing the contents of the collection in outliner and working on it, even if the user has configured to exclude it for View Layer. I think the most convenient thing is that grayed out text is reserved only for View Layer exclusion, and not for any of the other Restriction Toggles options. For the others they already have an icon that shows the status, and if necessary an even better status visualization for them, other kinds of indicators could be added, such as changing color in text or indicator marks.

1 Like