5 Little Known Tricks in Blender’s Outliner

Posted by Aidy Burrows on October 10th, 2014 | Comments (29)

EDIT!!! > VLOG ADDED BELOW MAIN VIDEO HERE – It’s been some time since the initial above video, we’ve had a couple of additions since then.

Blender’s outliner?! That old unassuming thing? Yup! That’s right! The often neglected outliner has some nice little things up it’s sleeve, here’s a quick tip video with just 5.

AND! Thanks to everyone who gave comments, queries and added extra great tips and tricks, i’ve tried to compile them as much as I can into a VLOG style video below!


If you have anymore, as always! Please let me know in the comments below!

– Aidy

  • http://yunus.sf.net/ tarik bagriyanik

    thanks aidy!
    – might use old 2.45 users do use the “edit” like this

    • http://www.cgmasters.net/ Aidy Burrows

      You’re very welcome! And, aaaah, yeah it’s amazing the habits that can stick from previous versions! 🙂 – Aidy.

  • Christopher Yonge

    If you hover your cursor over the icons and either right click or press I you can animate their on or off states. This way you can animate visibility in the viewport, selectability, and renderability. Very useful!

    • http://www.cgmasters.net/ Aidy Burrows

      Perfect!!! Thanks for sharing! I really liked that they changed to that, you used to have to animate moves between render layers. Much easier to manage this way I reckon! 🙂 – Aidy.

  • osman

    Very useful tips. Thanks for sharing

    • http://www.cgmasters.net/ Aidy Burrows

      Glad you find them useful! Blender’s full of things like that. 😀 – Aidy.

  • http://iluvpixels.co.uk/ Alan Perry

    Great tips, didn’t know about the drag and drop parenting or materials.

    • http://www.cgmasters.net/ Aidy Burrows

      Glad it was helpful! 🙂 Aidy.

  • Nick Vasquez

    Thank you for the tips – I love any tools that help streamline workflow. Here’s a favorite of mine….

    If you have an object selected in the viewport and you cannot find it in the outliner put your cursor anywhere in the outliner and press the period/decimal key ( . ) The selected object will then be centered in the outliner. If you do not see it you may need to expand you out liner by pressing the + key on your num-pad one or more times, and then pressing “.” again. You can also collapse the outliner by pressing minus ( – ) on you numpad.

    • http://www.cgmasters.net/ Aidy Burrows

      Thanks Nick! Thanks for sharing those tips too! 😀 – Aidy.

  • Néstor Arellano Pulido

    Amazing!!! I didn’t even know you could assign materials from the Outliner.

    • http://www.cgmasters.net/ Aidy Burrows

      With the millions of things Blender can do already and the constant stream of new builds and workflow improvements I think they’ll always be some pleasant surprises in store! 🙂 – Aidy.

  • Shane

    Not so much a tip, more of an overlooked feature – searching in the outliner. Items are expanded to find matches so children and materials can easily be found. Matches are highlighted to easily see. Helpful for finding bones in complex rigs.

    • http://www.cgmasters.net/ Aidy Burrows

      Thanks for adding that here Shane! Perfect! 🙂 Aidy.

  • Warren D. M. Reed

    Wow, nice to know. Thanks! One more reason to be daydreaming in blue white and orange! Let the blender bender continue!

    • http://www.cgmasters.net/ Aidy Burrows

      Hahaha! You’re welcome! Blend on! 😀 – Aidy.

  • Reverend Speed

    Dunno if this counts, but you can easily rename objects in the Outliner by double-clicking on the name of the object. And Blender inches that bit closer to consistency with western UI standards… =)

    Did not know about assigning materials! That’s awesome and… weirdly Unity-like. Thanks, Aidy!

  • Daniel Campos Guevara

    hey! just a question! when i put 2 models at the same point, the will “parent” how do i tell blender not to do this?

    • http://www.cgmasters.net/ Aidy Burrows

      Hi Daniel, Do you mean in the outliner? Unfortunately the outliner is alphabetically listed so changing the order isn’t really possible without thinking ahead about naming conventions.

      Or if you mean adding an object (shift A) and then the new object becomes part of the selected object. This maybe to do with being in edit mode when you go to add an object, to keep them as separate objects you’ll need to make sure that you only add objects into the scene while in object mode.

      Sorry if I’ve misunderstood your question! 🙂 – Aidy.

      • Daniel Campos Guevara

        oh i didnt notice i was adding objects in edit mode, silly me, i am getting started on blender and i hope to be as good as you someday, thanks.

  • Douglas

    properties->materials you can also drag and drop on an object to change its material. I just found this because of this great tricks tut.

    • http://www.cgmasters.net/ Aidy Burrows

      you are quite right! There are quite a few little things like that running throughout Blender, like pressing E in certain fields to enable the eyedropper and pick certain objects not just colors. 🙂 Aidy.

  • https://dbmstuff.com dbM

    Great tips – very useful! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • http://www.cgmasters.net/ Aidy Burrows

      Thanks for letting me know you liked it and found them useful! 🙂 Aidy.

  • http://www.cgjam.net cgjam

    some cool and useful tips, thanks. but one question, i can press b in the outliner to box select a list of stuff, but it just highlights the objects. nothing actually gets selected, so if i highlight say, 10 cubes then try to drag them to parent them to another object, it does nothing! well no you can drag the active object but not the highlighted objects. what is the point of highlighting objects in the outliner?

    • http://www.cgmasters.net/ Aidy Burrows

      Hi! I think i’ll be doing an extra video with some of these suggestions and really good questions such as yours.

      Unfortunately I don’t think it’s possible to move multiple objects in the outliner and set it’s parent. Only one at a time.

      As for why things are highlighted, that’s to do with the 3 icons to the right, the renderable, selectable, visible icons. If you use S, V & R you can toggle the status of those objects highlighted.

      I’m not aware of any other uses for the highlighting within the outliner though, I always assume it is locked with much intrigue!


      • http://www.cgjam.net cgjam

        ok i see, cool. helpful when you need to keyframe renderability on several objects. ( although you still need to add the keyframes individually! )

  • http://yoshi5.altervista.org Francesco Yoshi Gobbo

    thank you for these tips!!!!!

  • Rombout

    THere are some great tips here, especially the num. one. Also the [v], [r], [s] are great tips. Thanks and keep them coming.

    PS does anyone know how i can sort material in a mesh? The same menus in vertex and shape keys does have this funtion. Im missing this for materials on a mesh though