GSoC 2019: Outliner Improvements Ideas

Hmm, I agree that the small areas in the properties panel hard to access and work with in terms of shape keys, vertex groups etc, but how would they be displayed in the outliner? Wouldn’t that be just as small? Not that I’m against the idea, I’m intrigued. Could you elaborate a bit on how that information would be displayed in the outliner?

I would like to suggest adding the ability to zoom/scale the outliner with “ctrl-mmb” like we can do with the majority of all windows/panels in Blender.
Is this something you would consider?

Ok, to write more about moving list views to Outliner

pros for this suggestion are in my opinion:

  • by default the Outliner itself is already bigger and easier to make big or to scroll.
  • Outliner has many more features and these could be shared
  • Outliner supports drag-drop which could be used for copying this data between objects or reordering.
  • The code-base would be shared and possibly reused for different types of data
  • This would be all much more logical to newcommers :wink:
  • I can’t repeat it enough. List views are tiny outliners inside another window. It’s like a tower inside a tower inside… you know.

Regarding how it would look, these would be simply tree branches in Outliner. I think accessing them might become easy with shortcuts.Similar to e.g. AfterEffects where shortcuts unfold different things like masks, opacity, e.t.c. (Don’t kill me for mentioning AE here, I don’t like their UI, just those shortcuts for unfolding certain types of data)

Of course, there are things that wouldn’t be possible, like the + - buttons, select vertex group. But these functions would easily go into right-click menu…


Hmm, interesting. I am fond of how cinema4D displays a lot of information in their outliner, but they also have other areas that you can view things like shape keys in a more robust manner. What I’m saying is only having it in the outliner might not be optimal. I’m worried that if that were the case you would run into a couple of issues:

1 - Indentation making it super annoying to find that one nested object just to get to it’s vertex color or shape keys.

2 - Adapting to resizing of the outliner might make creating a clean UI difficult (like if it’s very thin in the top right corner, would that work with say the sliders of shape keys)

3 - Having several tree drop down menus for objects will create annoyingly large spaces that you then have to re-collapse to clean it up. In a shape key intensive work period between a couple objects that might be awkward, ie having to scroll a lot between objects to get to their properties.

I think there is some good to having these options in the outliner, but I think redundancy is good in this case. Having access to objects mesh data in the outliner and the properties panel would be good I think!

I also think that some of the mesh data sections, like shape keys, for instance, should maybe have their own editors. A shape key editor would be nice wouldn’t it?

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Maybe it was already mentioned, but I think that Collections filter should have same States as Object filter.

Currently, user is adding collections to scene and enabling/disabling collections inside View Layers.
So, contrary to early state of 2.8, View Layer view of outliner is not restricted to collections enabled for a view layer.
All collections present in scene are shown although one View Layer may only contain one Collection enabled among dozens of disabled ones.

I think that simply, adding a filter state like All, Enabled, Disabled, Active for collections could help to adapt View Layer view to what user is working on.
User would feel more comfortable to use View Layers as an organized and permanent alternative to informal temporary local view.

I am so sorry, due to lake of time, i am not reading all the prev posts…
So, a guy a suggesting something about renaming of collection, i am just mentioning here.

If its a duplicate, just ignore it, thanks


I see your point. I am pretty sure a lot of discussion went around the icons in the outliner. Maybe the collection icon itself could contain the checkbox. I’ll look into this.


@ZoolooS I chatted with @billrey about the collection indentation. The open/close triangles do show the correct indentation, and that should be enough. I agree and won’t be changing this. Thanks for the suggestion :slight_smile:


Well, that’s pity %(.

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Could there be a “Hash Tag” kind of thing for filtering objects?
I know that the collection system is the intended for that, but its somewhat cumbersome.

Apart from the indentation to show the hierarchy, you could also play with the spacing. Although it is less compact it is a bit clearer.


What I had in mind was a tooltip for every entry, showing the parents on hover after a short delay. Not sure if this works well in practice however.

There might be better solutions, e.g. an entry in the context menu so on right-click. Maybe a Change Parent operator which initially shows a list of parents? Or would a shortcut to collapse the entire outlined hierarchy even suffice?

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I finally got around to addressing the shift+click on disclosure triangles. Thanks again for pointing it out, I probably wouldn’t have noticed otherwise :slight_smile:



Another suggestion is to add Shift+D shortcut to duplicate. I found it inconsistent that you can duplicate with Shift+D almost everywhere (Object mode, Edit mode, Nodes, etc) , but not in the outliner. You can only duplicate with Ctrl+C then Ctrl+V


I’m sorry to be late to the party here, but what use could that checkbox by the collection possibly have that can’t be fulfilled by the half a dozen visibility options already present in the right edge of the outliner!?

Not only that, but if that checkbox is so important, why not add it as a new category along that right edge, and those who want it can reveal it via the already available filtering options.

Further, since I simply don’t understand its function at first glance, it’s not very intuitive, is it?

I may sound harsh, but my god, I do believe that’s possibly the single ugliest UI element I’ve seen in 2.8…


I like this, but like the visibility filtering options, I do think that adding so many different things to the Outliner would probably require its own entire set of visibility filtering options, separate from what’s already there.

EDIT: Oh, I see that a neat solution to that has already been suggested here!

Also, I bet the developers will say that such a big change might become irrelevant with “everything nodes” anyway… :wink:

Thanks for the info!
Which build does parenting multiple objects have it fixed? In RC2 it still works the same.

Selecting multiple objects in outliner also needs fixing. Using B (rectangular selection) feels outdated and not user friendly. Selecting objects like in Windows file explorer or MacOS finder is more convenient and intuitive. Please fix this too.

Hi, these improvements are not in official builds, check for GSoC builds.

Cheers, mib

Check out this other thread too where you can see what’s been already developed:

This is already done.

Great improvements by @natecraddock! :slight_smile:

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Cool, thanks for the link!