Outlining some Outliner shortcomings

Coming from other DCC background, heavy use of the outliner or object tree is paramount in any workflow.
But in Blender as you may know, even simple selection from the outliner is counter-intuitive and a huge pain.

  • You can’t drag/multi-select objects or select everything between e.g.
  • Can’t navigate using keyboard, arrows still affect timeline, or rename elements using Return or double click.
  • Unselected objects remain highlighted / disassociation between highlight and selection;
  • Highlight in outliner != selection, if I press A in outliner, all objects are highlighted but not all are selected.
  • You can’t select while in Edit mode.
  • Can’t drag to unparent.
  • No many contextual actions, like Join, Copy, Duplicate, Export…
  • Etc. etc.

In short the outliner is completely confusing, detached from the workflow and lacks a great deal of interactivity, it acts more like just a passive viewer of the scene and that’s it.

Please consider doing something about this, it could use some much needed attention.


You are speaking from my soul xCyborg. Thank you very much for this post! It defines the problem exactly.

Yes, the Outliner needs help.


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this is just an idea for shortcuts in outliner.
Shift + H - Hide unselected Collections
/ - Isolate selected Collection

I’m very happy with the new changes made to the outliner. It’s so much more usable!

I do have a request though: Could the icons for modifiers, materials, object data, etc in the outliner actually take you to those panels when you click on them?

EDIT: Just found this:

We’re still deciding exactly how it will be done, but discussion is found on d.b.o, https://developer.blender.org/D5497 and https://developer.blender.org/T68498 . Essentially we want to make properties sync when selecting obdata. So clicking the mesh data would open the mesh data tab in the properties editor. Before this properties sync to work though, we need a better and smarter way of toggling modes. So, thanks for the feedback :slight_smile: