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Outliner window


The Outliner Window is used for easily navigating a complex scene. There are two views, the Outliner view and the OOPS Schematic view. The OOPS Schematic and Outliner give you a 2d representation of your complicated 3d world. Use these views to find things in your scene.

For example, suppose you sneeze while moving an object; your mouse flies off your desk (gezhundeit!) and the object is hurled somewhere off screen into space. Simply use the schematic/outliner to find it; select it, and move back to your 3d window to snap your cursor to it and then move it back.

Another more practical example is to evaluate the impact of a change on related datablocks. Suppose you are looking at your TableTop object, and it doesn't look right; the Wood material doesn't look right; you want it to look more like mahogany. Since the same material can be used by many meshes, you're not sure how many things will change color when you change the material. Using the OOPS Schematic, you could find that material and trace the links that it has to every mesh in your scene.


Outliner view

The Outliner window in list mode.
The Outliner is a kind of list that organizes related things to each other. In the Outliner, you can:
  • View the data in the scene
    *Select and deselect Objects in the scene
    *Hide or show an object in the scene
    *Enable or disable selection (to make an object "unselectable" in the 3D Window)
    *Enable or disable the rendering of an object
    *Select data like materials and textures directly (they show up automatically in the Buttons Window!)
    *Delete objects from the scene
    *Unlink data (equivalent to pressing the "X" button next to the name of a datablock)
    *Easily select which RenderLayer to render
    *Easily select which render pass to render (for example, you can choose to render just the Specular layer).

OOPS Schematic view

The OOPS schematic view in the Outliner window.
The OOPS schematic is a kind of picture that shows how things are linked together. OOPS is a highly geeky term for Object-Oriented Programming System. Yeah, right. I think someone just spilled coffee on their keyboard late one night and this was the first word that came to their mind&nbsp;;) In the OOPS view, you can:
  • Look at relationships between objects (for example, which objects use the same texture)

The main difference is that the OOPS schematic shows you all available things (datablocks) in your blend file, organized by type of thing: scenes at the bottom, objects in the middle, materials toward the top. The Outliner shows you things in use within your blend file, organized by parent object with their children as indents.

Selecting the Outliner Window Type

Turn a window into an Outliner window type by using the Window Type menu.
The Outliner window in list mode.

Choose a window and click on its current Window Type button (left-most icon in its header), and select Outliner.

Switch between the Outliner view and the OOPS Schematic view using the menu item View &rarr; Show OOPS Schematic or View &rarr; Show Outliner.

Window size
Choose or arrange a window size that suits the view you are going to work with. The OOPS Schematic needs a wide window, and the Outliner needs a tall, narrow window.

Using the Outliner view

Each row in the Outliner view shows a datablock. You can click the down-arrow to the left of a name to expand the current datablock and see what other datablocks it contains.

You can select datablocks in the Outliner, but this won't necessarily select the datablock in the scene. To select the datablock in the scene, you have to activate the datablock.

Selecting and activating

<br>Single selection doesn't require any pre-selection: just work directly with LMB Template-LMB.png and/or RMB Template-RMB.png inside the name/icon area.

Toggling selection of a datablock.
  • Toggle pre-selection of a group of datablock<br>Useful when you want to select/deselect a whole bunch of datablocks. For this you must prepare the selection using, to your liking:<br>RMB Template-RMB.png or LMB Template-LMB.png, <br>⇧ ShiftRMB Template-RMB.png or ⇧ ShiftLMB Template-LMB.png, <br>RMB Template-RMB.png and drag or LMB Template-LMB.png and drag <br>all outside the name/icon area.<br>You then confirm with a RMB Template-RMB.png on the name/icon area to bring on a dialog.

<br>When you select an object in the list,| it is selected and becomes the active object in all other 3D View window panes. Use this feature to find objects in your 3D View; select them in the outliner, then snap and center your cursor on them via ⇧ ShiftS-&gt;Cursor to Selection, and then C

Click LMB Template-LMB.png on the mesh data of the cube to activate Edit Mode.
  • Activate the datablock with LMB Template-LMB.png on the icon or the name of the datablock. Activating the datablock will automatically switch to the relevant mode or Buttons context. For example, activating the mesh data of the cube will select the cube and enter Edit Mode (see right). Another example is that activating the material datablock for the cube will show the material in the Material context of the Buttons window.

Context menu for the Cube object.
  • Show the context menu for a datablock with RMB Template-RMB.png on the icon or name. Depending on the type of datablock, you will have the following options (Note: some datablock types will not have a context menu at all):
    **Make Local
    *Delete selected datablocks with X.
    *Expand one level with + NumPad.
    *Collapse one level with - NumPad.
    *Collapse/Expand all levels with A

Toggling object-level restrictions

Icons for toggling
The following options are only available for objects:
  • Toggle visibility by clicking the 'eye' icon for the object on the right-hand side of the Outliner. Useful for complex scenes when you don't want to assign the object to another layer. This will only work on visible layers - an object on an invisible layer will still be invisible regardless of what the Outliner says. V will toggle this property for any objects that are selected in the Outliner.
    *Toggle selectability by clicking the 'arrow' icon. This is useful for if you have placed something in the scene and don't want to accidentally select it when working on something else. S will toggle this property for any objects that are selected in the Outliner.
    *Toggle rendering by clicking the 'camera' icon. This will still keep the object visibile in the scene. It will be ignored by the Renderer. R will toggle this property for any objects that are selected in the Outliner.


You can search the file for datablocks, either by using the Search menu in the header of the Outliner, or by using one of the following hotkeys:

  • F - Find
    *⇧ ShiftF - Find again
    *CtrlAltF - Find complete (case sensitive)
    *AltF - Find complete
    *CtrlF - Find (case sensitive)

Matching datablocks will be automatically selected.

Filtering the display

Outliner Display dropdown
The window header has a field to let you select what the outliner should show in the outline. By default, the outliner shows All Scenes. You can select to show only the current scene, datablocks that have been selected, objects that are on currently selected layers, etc. These selects are to help you narrow the list of objects so that you can find things quickly and easily.
  • All Scenes - Shows everything the outliner can display (in all scenes, all layers, etc...)
    *Current Scene - Shows everything in the current scene.
    *Visible Layers - Shows everything on the visible (currently selected) layers in the current Scene. Use the Layers buttons to make objects on a layer visible in the 3D window.
    *Groups - Lists only Groups and their members.
    *Same Types - Lists only those objects in the current scene that are of the same types as those selected in the 3d window.
    *Selected - Lists only the object(s) currently selected in the 3D window. You can select multiple objects by ⇧ ShiftRMB Template-RMB.png
    *Active - Lists only the last selected object.



The Outliner window in list mode.
The outline example shows that the blend file has three scenes: Ratchet in Middle, Ratchet on Outside, and Ratchet Out White. By clicking on the little arrow to the left of the name, the outline is expanded one level. This was done for the Ratchet in Middle scene. As you can see, this scene has some world material settings, a Camera, an Empty, a HandelFixed object ... all objects that were added to the scene.

By clicking the arrow next to ratchetgear, we can see that it has some motion described by the ObIpo.001 curve; that it was based on a Circle mesh, and that it is the parent of HandleFixed.002. HandleFixed is in turn the parent of Plane.003, and so on.

The neat thing is: If you select any of these datablocks here, they will be selected in the 3d Window as well as far as this is possible. Pressing

  • on your keypad with your mouse cursor in any 3D Window will center the view to that object. Very handy. Also, pressing X will delete it, as well as all the other hotkeys that operate on the currently selected object.


Using the OOPS Schematic

Layout of the OOPS Schematic

In this view, the window has a clear background that, by default, shows the OOPS Schematic and a header:
Outliner Window in OOPS Schematic modeA) OOPS Schematic, B) Menu, C) Zoom, D) Display Select, E) Currently selected datablock

The OOPS Schematic window &amp; header have the following areas:

A) The schematic picture
:B) Menus with the basic functions: View, Select, and Block
:C) A zoom control that allows you to focus on a certain area of the schematic.
:D) Visible Select - A number of buttons that toggle what kinds of datablocks are displayed in the schematic.
:E) The name of the currently selected datablock. The datablock is also highlighted in the OOPS schematic. (A)

Making sense of the OOPS Schematic

The schematic is a sort of map that shows the connections between datablocks. Each datablock is shown as a colored box. Boxes (datablocks) are connected by lines. Common types of connections between datablocks are:

One datablock, let's say an object called "TableTop", is held up by four other objects "leg.001", leg.002", etc. The TableTop would be the parent of each of the legs, so that as the table top moves, the legs move as well. In the schematic, four lines would be shown going from the TableTop to each of the Legs.
;Material Use&nbsp;
:Datablock can share the same material. In our Table example, the TableTop and each of the legs might share the same material, "Wood", so that they all look the same. In the schematic, there would be a box called "Wood" with five lines connecting it to each of the mesh datablocks TableTop, Leg.001, Leg.002, Leg.003 and Leg.004.

The schematic uses different colored boxes for each type of datablocks: green for scenes, grey for objects, taupe for text, sea green for materials, etc. to help you visually distinguish between types of datablocks.

The OOPS Schematic Header

Handy functions include switching between the schematic and outliner view. Also, you can change the size of the boxes, so more can fit in the window.
:Key functions include finding users and links between connected boxes, as indicated in the useage examples previously.
:Scales (S) the distance between multiple selected datablocks, and grabs/moves (G) an datablock or set of selected datablocks around the schematic - very useful for arranging and organizing your schematic.
;Zoom controls&nbsp;
:As you can imagine, depending on what you have selected and your scene complexity, these schematics can start looking like the piping diagram for a nuclear power plant. The schematic header provides two buttons to help you zoom in. Hold down LMB Template-LMB.png over the OopsSchematic-ZoomButtons-zoom.png button and move your mouse up and down (forward and backward) to zoom your view in and out. Click on OopsSchematic-ZoomButtons-area.png to start a border select. Select a region in the window, and your window view will be zoomed to that region.
Standard Window Controls
The window, like any Blender window, can be panned by clicking the middle mouse button while your cursor is in the window, and moving the mouse.

;Visible Select&nbsp;
:The series of icons in the header allow you to select what type(s) of datablocks are visible in the schematic. They are, left to right:
:*OopsSchematic-DatablocksButtons-layer.png - Only show the datablocks from the shown layers.
:*OopsSchematic-DatablocksButtons-scene.png Scenes - Your stage, a set, where action occurs.
:*OopsSchematic-DatablocksButtons-object.png Objects - Cameras, empties, and other misc items
:*OopsSchematic-DatablocksButtons-mesh.png Meshes - The main things you model, not to be confused with Objects. e.g. One Mesh can be used in multiple objects and is displayed accordingly in the schematic.
:*OopsSchematic-DatablocksButtons-curve.png Curves, Surfaces, Fonts
:*OopsSchematic-DatablocksButtons-metaball.png Metaballs - Mathematically calculated meshes that can mush together.
:*OopsSchematic-DatablocksButtons-lattice.png Lattices - Deformation grids
:*OopsSchematic-DatablocksButtons-lamp.png Lamps - All types of lights.
:*OopsSchematic-DatablocksButtons-material.png Materials - Colors, paints.
:*OopsSchematic-DatablocksButtons-texture.png Textures - Color maps or gradients used commionly in materials and other places.
:*OopsSchematic-DatablocksButtons-ipo.png Ipos - Actions,
:*OopsSchematic-DatablocksButtons-image.png Images - Imported pictures
:*OopsSchematic-DatablocksButtons-library.png Libraries - Collections of Objects



The base unit for any blender project is the datablock. The datablocks and the ways those are linked together are all there is to it, may it be a simple still image of a sphere floating over a plane or a full featured film. These datablocks can reside within as many files as needed for the good organization of the project.

Scene Datablock

Each "scene datablock" contains a scene. "Scene datablock" is the parent of the rest datablocks.

Object Datablock

Each "object datablock" has the properties of Scale, Location and Rotation and is the 'meeting place' for other datablock that define the other properties of that object when they are linked to it. An object can be linked to other datablock that determine its nature: mesh, curve, camera, lamp or armature datablock are a few examples of such datablocks. Other datablocks, will define the material, the texture, the animation... for that object.

ObData Datablocks

These datablocks are such datablocks that are always connected to "Object datablock" in a way or another.

Curve Datablock

"Curve datablock" may contain NURBS curves or circles, Bezier curves or circles, or Text objects. It may also be linked to a "material datablock".

Camera Datablock

"Camera datablock" contains a camera.

Lattice Datablock

"Lattice datablock" contains a lattice.

Lamp Datablock

"Lamp datablock" contains a lamp.

Metaball Datablock

"Metaball datablock" contains a metaball.

Mesh Datablock

Each "mesh datablock" contains a mesh. "Mesh datablock" may contain link to one or more "material datablocks".

Material Datablock

"Material datablock" contains a material. It may contain links to "texture datablocks".

Note that "material datablocks" can be linked to "object datablock" instead if desired. You can set this in the "User Preferences" window below "Edit Methods".

Texture Datablock

"Texture datablock" contains a procedural or image texture.

Copying and Linking Datablocks

It is possible to copy object and scene datablocks. <!--Not true, I think; and redundant with the "Copying and Linking Object Datablocks" part!
To copy object datablock, first select the objects you want to copy and hit CtrlD while hovering mouse on "3D viewport".-->

Copying and Linking Scene Datablock

To copy scene datablock, use Scene list found in the header of "User Preferences" window. The list is to the right of the menus and window workspace list. Select "ADD NEW" to make a copy of the current scene. Select "Full Copy" from the list that opened to make a copy. The current scene will be copied to the new scene.

Instead of copying everything, you can link datablocks by selecting "Link Objects" or "Link ObData" on the list (the former copying the objects, but not their ObDatas - meshes, curves, materials, etc.). Note that if you select "Link Objects", it means that the objects are linked on deeper level as Object Datablock is parent of ObData datablock. So for instance if you move an object, the move is reflected to other scenes linked this way as well.

Copying and Linking Object Datablocks

  • ⇧ ShiftD is used to make normal copy of the selected objects:
    **The object and some of it's child datablocks will really be duplicated, the other children are just linked; you can define the attributes to be duplicated in User PreferencesEdit Methods, button group Duplicate with object:.
  • AltD makes a linked copy:
    **All datablocks but the object one are linked.

Copying and Linking other Datablocks

You can see a number next to the name of a datablock. This number indicated the number of links. If you click the number, it removes the link to the datablock and creates a new copy.