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I've added an object by linking it. I've selected it and CTRL-ALT-P to make it a proxy. I can make some changes, like overall scale and position, but can't scale just one edge-loop, for example.

Also, in the original blend, the object is shaded smooth. When linked, it's flat and I can't change that either.

What am I missing?

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Linked objects can only be altered in the original file, that's the point of them being proxied.

When you Link and object (⎈ Ctrl⎇ AltO) you can make a local copy. However this won't work unless you make your Linked Group local.

When you proxy the object ⎈ Ctrl⎇ AltP from a linked group ⎈ Ctrl⎇ AltO, it simply creates a duplicate, which change the object level properties (like Transformation, Delta Transformation, etc). The original oject is still in the Linked Group.

enter image description here

If you wish to change your geometry you have to make a local copy by clicking the copy number in the object data section. Editing this copy will however not change the group object.

enter image description here

This copy could also have simply been appended to the current file ⇧ ShiftF1.

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you. I thought I had read that linking also allowed edits which would propagate back to the original, but if I understand you that was a misunderstanding. I would mark this the answer, but if this answers my secondary question (I probably should have split it) about smooth shading not coming through, I don't see how. If you could add that then this would fully answer my question. $\endgroup$ – pr3sidentspence Apr 28 '18 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ Whoops! I was sure it was smooth in the original, but I was mistaken. Thank you again! $\endgroup$ – pr3sidentspence Apr 28 '18 at 16:55
  • $\begingroup$ @pr3sidentspence Sadly, it's a one way link. $\endgroup$ – Leander Apr 28 '18 at 17:20

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