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Outliner: hold Alt to activate/edit data
Needs ReviewPublic

Authored by Campbell Barton (campbellbarton) on Aug 15 2019, 11:16 PM.

Details

Summary

Based on discussion with @William Reynish (billreynish) and D5493, T68498.

The logic that combines toggling edit-mode with selecting isn't very helpful.

This patch uses a modifier key (Alt) to activate items.

This has the disadvantage that it wont work for middle mouse emulation, however Ctrl & Shift are already used (in the GSOC outliner branch).


As an alternative we could make this work by only clicking on the icons for example, or have a column for this purpose - see T68498: Outliner: Modes & activating cameras or scenes.

Diff Detail

Repository
rB Blender
Branch
TEMP-OUTLINER-ACTIVATE-ON-ALT (branched from master)
Build Status
Buildable 4456
Build 4456: arc lint + arc unit

Event Timeline

Great.

For people who use MMB emulation, and to make it less hidden, I guess we should also add this to the context menus?

I see the benefit of holding alt to enter edit/pose mode, but won't alt+click for activation be a hassle? I would expect a single left click on an object in the outliner to select and activate so I can do operations in 3D view and edit props in properties editor.

The logic that combines toggling edit-mode with selecting isn't very helpful.

Wouldn't a more standard way to separate those actions be to use left-click to select, but double-click for special operations and statuses like entering Edit Mode?

We are doing that a bit now with the double-click on an item name to rename. So double-click on a mesh icon (either when collapsed on not) to enter edit mode. Maybe double-click on a camera to make it the active camera?

But maybe I'm not aware of other details and considerations.

Don't think double click on the icon is needed.

We could make it so a single click directly on the icon activates the item.

  • It works with middle mouse emulation, is more discoverable than Alt-LMB.
  • Unlike clicking on icon+text, it's easy not to do by accident.
  • This icon already changes based on the mode/active state.

We used to have it so clicking in the icon would sometimes perform different actions than clicking on the text labels. I really don’t think we should do that again.
Users don’t expect that clicking on the text vs icon does anything other than *select*.

We should completely separate the concept of *selection* from *activation* & *mode switching*.

We could use double-click to activate, although in that case rename then is no longer available with double-click.

Really I think we should add Activate to the context menu, and keep Alt-click, and leave it at that

+1 for single click

Click on the text = select + properties editor sync
Click on the mesh icon = enter edit mode
Double click the text = rename

Hassle free.

Also if those hotkeys could be available in the keymap settings it would be better, so people could freely change them.

Maybe double-click on a camera to make it the active camera?

A single click in the camera icon already activates the camera in the outliner branch, and it's really a nice feature. (the only thing missing there is that it doesn't toggle the camera view automatically)
So a single click in the mesh icon is the most hassle free and consistent thing to do IMHO.
I'd avoid double click or alt for this.

We should completely separate the concept of *selection* from *activation* & *mode switching*.

While reasonable, it can be counted with:
"We shouldn't add features which don't support middle-mouse emulation."

It's a trade off, I don't have a strong opinion here - if the current icons are not obviously clickable we could make the icons highlight on hover, since many applications mix clickable icons in list-views (gmail for e.g.)

I’d be fine with double-click, and also adding it to the context menu. Rename then is removed but we already have a new keyboard shortcut for that anyway.

The icon is like the file icon in a file manager. Clicking on the icon doesn’t open the file or change the state of that file, other than selecting it. In the Outliner, the icon and text are conceptually part of a single object, which you can click to select. Making it so that if you click on certain parts, random actions start happening, is really confusing and users don’t expect that to happen.

Users will inadvertently change active scenes, and randomly change the active camera, or unexpectedly switch to Edit Mode when they simply are trying to select something. That’s bad.

@William Reynish (billreynish) There's nothing wrong in clicking on icons in the outliner to perform other operations, this is how it works in other softwares, and I never saw people complaining about that.

Also, double click the text in the outliner to rename is a pretty standard operation everywhere, removing it would be a terrible idea..

Double clicking the icon seems logical to me, and doesn't conflict with rename which only makes sense on the text part.

With single-click on the icon I'd find it harder to quickly select items, have to be more precise. Still I'd prefer that over Alt.

To indicate that icons are clickable separately from text, preselection highlighting around the icon could help.

@Brecht Van Lommel (brecht) Agreed. Double-clicking on the icon could work ok, and not conflict with other things. And it wouldn't lead to accidental scene changes or mode switching. +1

Still I think it should *also* be in the context menu.

Double-clicking on the icon could work ok, and not conflict with other things.

I also think double click on the icon is fine. Though when the subtree is collapsed and the row icons are selected, would it select, or toggle edit mode? I think a single click could do a select, and double click would toggle modes (allowing toggle into object mode as well).

I'm confuse. This is for the mesh icon only, or for all icons?
For example, to make the camera active, a single click on the camera icon is working great already. Double click would be too much imo.
For the mesh icon, double click is acceptable even though a single click would be much better.

And will those things be available in the keymap preferences? I would like to change everything to single click.

With single-click on the icon I'd find it harder to quickly select items, have to be more precise. Still I'd prefer that over Alt.

This can be used for the icons to the left of the text.

When selecting you already need to avoid clicking on the arrows to expand, this would just mean the area one icon to the right would be used for a different purpose too.

The icons to the right of the text (icons representing collapsed data) could be ignored, these get grouped anyway, so they're not always useful to select unique items.

@Nathan Craddock (Zachman) I also think double click on the icon is fine. Though when the subtree is collapsed and the row icons are selected, would it select, or toggle edit mode? I think a single click could do a select, and double click would toggle modes (allowing toggle into object mode as well).

Yes indeed - it should be consistent. Clicking on items always selects them, and double-click on the icon changes scenes, enters edit mode, or sets the active camera.

@Campbell Barton (campbellbarton) - icons to the right of the text (icons representing collapsed data) could be ignored, these get grouped anyway, so they're not always useful to select unique items.

Although got to say that the idea of double-clicking on one of those collapsed meshes to put all them into Edit Mode at once sounds pretty sexy...

Testing it in the latest build, the single click feels very natural. I don't get why people are against it...


the idea of double-clicking on one of those collapsed meshes to put all them into Edit Mode at once sounds pretty sexy...

Interesting idea....

Single click doesn't work, we cannot use it. It means that if you try and select obData or Scene data, you will also switch mode or scene. This is unacceptable, and in my opinion a high priority item to address.

Single click doesn't work, we cannot use it. It means that if you try and select obData or Scene data, you will also switch mode or scene. This is unacceptable, and in my opinion a high priority item to address.

Yes, this way single click is a safe outliner navigation mode.