GSoC 2020: Outliner Discussion and Suggestions

The main thing that must be improved, from my point of view, is that deactivate a collection remove all the visibility states of the inside objects or collections. It’s a real frustation se all your scene visibiloty reset by a simple click.


I think there is a differential already planned for that. Don’t remember which one is.

  • Selecting hierarchies in the latest 2.9 is still not working for me the way it should.
    With the new shortcut, you still have to select it twice, which makes selecting multiple hierarchies at once not possible.
    My proposal is to make selecting hierarchies a one click solution, like object selection.
    If you select the top root node, it should automatically select all children. Why would you select it otherwise?
    And I know this is outside the Outliner specs, but it would be nice to have this behavior translated to the 3d view as well, in some way. Not just the current shortcut or menu option.

  • Deleting items from the Outliner still doesn’t works sometimes. It seems especially the case for empties (coming in from FBX imports). You have to RMB/Delete it to get rid of it.

  • Duplicating hierarchies seem to work now as expected :slight_smile:



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Sounds great! These improvements will benefit many people. Wish you luck on this project.


Thanks for your work on the outliner last year - it’s a massive improvement over 2.80’s original outliner. Looking forward to seeing some more good changes this year. Here are a couple of small suggestions/papercut things you could probably fix easily:

  1. The selection order of things selected in outliner is not consistent with selection in the viewport. Selection in the viewport results in the active object being the last object selected, and outliner it’s the other way around (active is first and I can’t figure out how to change it…)
  2. When filtering objects by name, collections containing search results can’t be collapsed, which can be a bit annoying.
  3. I would LOVE an option to always put newly created objects, and potentially objects pasted with ctrl+v in the scene collection instead of the selected collection. Sometimes I create an object and it goes into the wrong collection, meaning I have to find it before I move it. If it’s in the scene collection it’s very easy to find. Objects copied with shift+d, or instanced should go in the same collection the original object is already in.

Oh, here’s a papercut I definetly missed to link the last thread… I don’t think there’s a menu entry for “collapse all” or “collapse hierarchy” yet?

EDIT: I just tried the right-click “view” options “hide one level” and “show hierarchy” and got the following super illogical results:

  • “Hide one level” collapses everything up to the collection level… it doesn’t contextually hide one level of hierarchy at all.
  • “Show hierarchy”, if performed immediately after the above, does nothing on a collection…
  • …it does, however, expand everything on the same level, so it should be renamed “expand current level”.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised at these results. :upside_down_face:

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What about splitting collections to Linked Collections and Unlinked Collections in Blender File list?
It is not possible to determine which collections are linked to the scene, they all are mixed in Collections list.



Good News @Alberto! That has been fixed in 2.83 since April 9th.


Thanks, good news @EAW

  1. The selection order of things selected in outliner is not consistent with selection in the viewport. Selection in the viewport results in the active object being the last object selected, and outliner it’s the other way around (active is first and I can’t figure out how to change it…)

Another inconsistency in selecting objects is that in the 3D viewport shift is used to select multiple objects one by one and control to select objects with everything in between; while in the outliner it is the other way around (which is more consistent with other programs/OS’s).


My idea to improve the outliner.
The toggles in the menu under RMB on the Collection, toggles all objects visibility in viewport in it as bounds, wireframe! In heavy scenes it will be useful i think.
Again thank Yoy very much for Your work #blender natecraddock !


Also: those visibility toggles on your screenshot should be enabled by default. I don’t know why only the “viewport toggle” is the only one who comes enabled on the default file.


Hello @natecraddock , good to see that you have been accepted again this year, good wishes for success!
I would like to point out one thing …
Loading the wanderer scene that has many objects, in blender 2.90 I realized that navigating between the names of the objects in the outliner with the key arrows (holding down) becomes exponentially slow until it stops or skips large portions of objects, there is nothing that can be done to solve this problem ??

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Two loose QOL ideas for Outliner:

  1. One of the most requested feature on RCS regarding Outliner is autoscroll with selected item: That would be exceptionally handy.

  2. When selected multiple objects hitting F2 for rename could automatically trigger batch rename utility. One keybinding free, and one shortcut less to remember. Plus in some Linux distros Ctrl+F* is reserved for switching workspaces, so for a user there is a conflict to resolve.


Coloured collections :


Hello, a few requests to consider:

  1. It would be nice to be able to disable non-object data in the outliner (Mesh, Material, Pose, etc.) or even enable/disable visibility by data-block type. Sometimes I just want to see all of the objects in a hierarchy, and when I shift-click to expand a collection, it shows all the data, and it becomes too much to understand at a glance. Maya, for example, can filter object types and hide/show properties. Of course, Maya has the opposite problem: while I can easily make the outliner as simple as I want, the menus are completely indecipherable for all their entries.

  2. I wish I could right-click on an empty area of the outliner and “Link collection…”. For example, in a new scene, there are no collections linked and I have to go to the .blend file view of the outliner to link them. This would be a simple QOL improvement.

  3. I would rather the outliner’s use of CTRL and SHIFT be consistent within Blender than consistent with OS’s. I always get it wrong in Blender, because I am thinking in terms of Blender. Is this editable in the keymap somehow?

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I’d like to give my two cents on some of the ideas suggested above:

Please do not do this. This is inconsistent with the rest of Blender, and it’s a big enough change that it’s really out-of-scope for this project (since it should affect the viewport selection, too). It isn’t too hard to right-click and choose “Delete Hierarchy”, or “Select Hierarchy” and press H to hide the selection.

I agree that the current behaviour is confusing. However… this isn’t the behaviour of the outliner, which extends the selection. Quite a few of the suggestions in this post are out-of-scope, IMO.

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I would like to see the selected objects automatically gathered (grouped) in the newly created Collection as soon as the user clicks on the New Collection icon. In fact, just the same behaviour than layers and groups in Photoshop.

  • Current behaviour (when the new collection is created, the user has to manually move the objects into the collection):

  • Proposal (once the new collection is created, Blender would automatically move the previously selected objects into the collection):

Maybe a modifier key (ALT/CTRL/SHIFT + LMB) could be used to select objects prior to click on the New Collection icon.

Also suggested on RCS: and Blender UI paper cuts


The Sequencer is missing a bin system to organize imported footage. By very little means I believe that the Outliner could work as such. It has already the ability to show scenes and the footage they contain:

The only thing missing is the ability to drag and drop from the Outliner into the Sequencer(like 3D objects into the 3D View).

To add a bit of icing on the cake, the current Sequence outline view mode could be expanded into showing all scenes and the footage in them(the scenes would work as bins).
A double click on a footage file, could switch to that scene, with the playhead placed at the beginning of where that footage is located in the timeline.
Same thing with double-clicking scenes in the Outliner, that could also be used to switch to them.


Two ideas

  • sync outliner searched objects with viewport showed objects (like unity)
  • allow a way to search in the outliner an select only the objects with taht name. Actually if you have childrens of one object all parents are showed and selected.