GSoC 2019: Outliner Improvements Ideas

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 Using B (rectangular selection) feels outdated and not user friendly.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!

I hadn’t been following this very closely lately, but I now tried one of the test builds, and it is progressing really well. Congrats.

One small improvement that came to mind is when using walk navigation with arrow keys, try to keep the currently “active” selected item in view. In other words, auto-scroll the Outliner to keep the active item always visible if possible.

I second this, opening the Material tab in the Properties Window when clicking a material icon in the Outliner would be very welcome.

Thanks for the great work so far



I love how things are much smoother than in master regarding the outliner.
I just have two points which would be, in my opinion, two small but nice improvement to the workflow for renaming elements in the outliner.

  1. when you are editing the name of an element and when you navigate with the arrow keys up and down while in name editing mode, it is very handy when you are directly in the name editing mode of the next element. therefore you are very fast for i.E. when renaming Indices for many objects.

  2. Also, when pressing F2 in the outliner It would be smoother if the renaming would not be in a popup window but also directly in the name like when double clicking on the name.


@eobet the checkbox is the per-viewlayer toggle for collection exclusion. It is quite useful actually. if you don’t like it, you can disable it in the outliner filter popover.

I like that idea, and I was already considering it for drag and drop. Thanks!

I think this would be a more difficult feature to implement because the text edit mode captures the arrow keys already, and with the batch rename addons that exist, I’m not going to consider this high-priority.

I was thinking of adding support to rename outliner elements to the popup, but this is a smarter solution. I have commited the changes, thanks!


Great, I will absolutely get rid of it the first thing I do. :slight_smile:

Why isn’t it disabled by default (since all but one filtering options are disabled by default)? I honestly still don’t understand what it does from your description, so it sounds like something only expert users would have any use for, so why expose new users to the unnecessary clutter and complexity?

As far as I understand it’s the equivalent of disabling a whole layer with the old system, like in the picture below

@natecraddock Great job on the Outliner so far!

Since you’ve got pretty far with the development of the Outliner, I just wanted to ask if my old suggestion about bulk renaming is still on the table during this GSoC? Thanks!

Thanks! I won’t be considering bulk renaming for the GSoC because addons to rename already exist. Also, the naming of objects in Blender is very accessible from Python scripting alone. The features I am focused on are impossible to add from Python so it is more of a priority to focus on those. This doesn’t mean the feature will never be added though, because it would be useful.


Bulk renaming also probably should not be limited to the Outliner, so adding this probably should not be considered strictly part of Outliner improvements.


I had an idea that I think is very simple and at the same time powerful … can you add “frame select” in the outilner’s menu?



Is the Blender Wiki suggestion list still being implemented?
I ask specially the always visible scroll bar.
Thank you for your hard work, honestly for me the outliner is the biggest thing that has kept me away from adopting Blender totally.

This branch is coming along nicely! Great work!

I realize the project is winding down, but I have some questions/suggestions. If they can’t be added now, maybe could be put on the to-do list for further work in the future?

  1. [Ctrl]+click to deselect currently seems to require two clicks (first being setting layer to active, then deselecting). This would be more useful of [Ctrl]+click on the name would set the object to active, but outside the name would make it deselect right away.
  2. Are you planning to add [Ctrl]+[Shift]+click functionality? In case it needs explanation, basically, the user can [Ctrl]+click on an object to add to current selection, then [Ctrl]+[Shift]+click elsewhere to have all the items in-between be further added to the selection. Very useful in Windows Explorer.
  3. Can we have [Alt]+click to solo the selected layers/collections? Actually, I think if you can make [Alt] inherit all selection key combinations for soloing, that would make for a really powerful solo system I’ve yet to see anywhere.
    E.g., [Alt]+box select instantly makes the selection solo, [Alt]+click on new layers add to current solo.
    *Important thing here would be to make sure [Alt]+clicking again on any currently soloed layer would cancel all soloing and revert visibility options to what they were set before the solo.
  4. When creating new collections in the Outliner, it would be nice and logical to have the selected items be added as a collection that’s a child of the collection the active item is currently in. Right now, all selected items get extracted out of the current collection and placed on the bottom of the list, and that’s not the behavior I want in an organizational tool like the Outliner.
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Hi, a little late to the game as I just got my hands on a computer again, but I had a thought after trying the outliner build. I realized that when selecting many objects in the outliner that the blue for selected objects, and the slightly highlighted blue for the active object weren’t as contrasted as I would perhaps like.

Above is the current build. You can definately tell what is selected overall, but what object is the active object is a little bit hard to pinpoint sometimes. It’s not that bad at all, but I feel maybe it could be improved.

Here is what I thought might be better. I basically just de-saturated the selected objects and kept the nice blue for the active. I think it makes it a bit easier to read. I think this would probably work with other themes as well.

Here they are beside each other for comparison. Does anyone else feel this way? Or is it fine as is?


Allowing the user to select the color for Selected (Multiple) in user preferences would probably be the best option.