"Object Modes" is a misleading terminology and inconsistently used

From Blender Manual | Editors | 3D Viewport | Object Modes:

Modes allow editing different aspects of objects. While Object Mode allows you to position/rotate/scale them, Edit Mode allows changing their geometry, Pose Mode allows posing them, and so on.

Several issues I find with that “object modes” term:

  • easily confused with the interaction mode named “Object Mode” in any discussion.

  • Several inconsistencies: 3D Viewport’s header calls them “modes”. its menu tooltip calls it “object interaction mode”:


    Worse is the keymap showing four different names between just two shortcuts:


    There might be other inconsistencies elsewhere…

  • The name could imply it’s about objects, but it’s actually about ways to interact with objects and their data, a more generic and neutral term could be used and its description in manual formulated this way instead of “editing different aspects of objects”.

How about calling it “Interaction Mode”? It avoids all of the above issues. It’s self-explanatory, cannot be confused with objects, and less likely to be named differently across the UI (just one S difference for singular or plural, but always Interaction Mode).

I initially posted on the blender-manual repo ans was redirected here: #104572 - “Object Modes” is misleading - blender-manual - Blender Projects


In Object Mode, you are manipulating the Object. In Edit Mode, you are manipulating the things that create the Object itself. Pose mode is self-explanatory.

I don’t see the confusion here. Are you just talking about the content of the tooltip?


IMO it’s clearly stated.

First, the manual uses the term “Object Modes” to collectively refer to the modes “Object Mode”, “Edit Mode”, etc. The problem is it is confusing to have the term “Object Mode” denote both a general class of entities, and a particular entity in that class. It leads to sentences like “The Object Mode is Object Mode”, “The Object Mode is Edit Mode”.

Second, the terminology is used inconsistently. The tooltip calls it the “object interaction mode” rather than the “Object Mode”.


That name is too generic, since really any mode can be called interaction.

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I’d state the question differently, as the original post creates just as much confusion as the issue it says exists.

Is the suggestion to change the phrase from “Object Mode” to Interaction Mode in every place the prior phrase exists - the manual , every menu, every button, every tooltip, every keymap command"?

If YES, then one is simply exchanging one word for another on a global basis, and using a new word that is less descriptive than the current one.

Or if NOT, in only within the sentences, paragraphs, etc within the manual itself?

Or, other?

And to all of the above, for whom exactly is this confusing? I’ve seen various crits on thing in Blender that can cause confusion (cough GRAB TOOL), but this is one I’ve not seen a lot of discussion around in various internet gathering sites.

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No. Again, the problem is that the phrase “Object Mode” is currently polysemous. OP proposes to split the less common meaning into a separate term.

So only those uses of “Object Mode” which have the meaning “the thing you change when you switch from Edit Mode to Pose Mode” would be changed to “Interaction Mode” (or whatever). Those uses of “Object Mode” which have the meaning “the mode where the Object menu appears in the 3D view” would stay the same.


I was confused as well but your post made it much clearer. I think interaction mode works pretty well. It could be active mode as well -since the concept of “active” is already ubiquitous in Blender (active object, active vertex, active modifier, and so on).


I agree, I wrote a book about getting started with Blender, in the book I did my absolute best to conform to naming conventions, tool tips, the Blender manual, etc… The inconsistency of this killed me.

I think officially rebranding these as “Interaction Modes” is a great idea.


Interaction Modes:

  • Object Mode
  • Edit Mode
  • Pose Mode
  • Etc…

Instead of this:

Object Modes:

  • Object Mode
  • Edit Mode
  • Pose Mode
  • Etc…

Finally, an actual Old vs New example comparison. Thank you.


Object Mode is the mode to interact with object datablocks. It isn’t the explicit interaction mode, as any mode that is active becomes the mode of interaction. The name doesn’t need to change.

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I’m confused, the proposal is to rename reference to all modes as a category from Object Modes to Interaction Modes?

Or to rename the mode itself from Object Mode to Interaction Mode?

If I understood correctly, the first one.

The proposal is to officially rename the category.

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Then yes, I agree that interaction modes is a perfect fit for the category name. It is already called that in the tooltip.


Exactly, that should help make things more clear. :slight_smile:


I’m in favour of this, “Object Modes” is terrible name, but the situation you describe, where keymaps say object mode, to fix that it means you’ll have to rename object modes to interaction modes in every single python operator and property. That will be biggest breaking change Blender has ever seen. Will break 90% of addons probably. Even for release like 5.0 that’s impossible.

Best you can do is rename it in UI and manual.

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Another issue of inconsistency, for some windows it says “call” for others it says “menu” when reassigning keymaps.

I mean is it the one or the other, decide blender ?!

I don’t think that “Interaction mode” is any clearer… because:

Well… the tooltips says Object Interaction Mode… and in fact this explains more what the “modes” are which are mention in the manual ( Object Modes , Object Mode List)

So the docu maybe should also call this Object Interaction Mode (List) because it is not an interaction mode per se because you canot switch between objects and edit them in this mode.

If you have for example multiple mesh objects and switch to edit mode then you can’t switch to another object and be still in edit mode for that object… but calling it interaction mode suggests the user has selected a specific (general) interaction which will be used as the “interaction mode” when selecting any other object… but that’s not the case.

In short: we still choose objects and then as somekind of subselection what kind of object interaction (mode) we want and not a general interaction mode applied to any object we choose.

This is actually not true anymore.
If you change the interaction mode to Edit mode, you will enter Edit mode for the objects that were selected in Object mode. A new icon appears in the Outliner next to each object that is now in Edit mode. Clicking on these icons can switch to other objects while remaining in Edit mode. Alternatively you can hover over other objects and press the Alt Q hotkey to switch between them, this is true of Sculpt mode and the other interaction modes. So you no longer have to go through Object mode in order to change objects while using one of the other interaction modes.

(Also notice how much extra clarity I was able to write that paragraph with by using the term “Interaction modes” instead of “Object modes”)

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Ups… okay… maybe i should have mentioned using still pre 4 …:sweat_smile:

But still have looked into the 4.x.y docu… :wink:

(I know the Alt-Q trick in sculpt mode… but wasn’t aware that this also works in Edit mode …so thanks…)