I have been given a .blend to work with to generate some renders. The large model is made up of a number of smaller/reused components. In the Outliner, (under another collection called Instances), there is:

Nested collection(s)

The same component Collection (the white/nested one) gets reused in both. (I've renamed "Collection" from the original reusable component name.)

I am unable, though, to drill down further to get to what's inside the collection. (For instance, if I need to tweak some geometry.)

I've been away from Blender for a while and while I'm no expert I am fairly conversant. What obvious thing am I missing?

  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, I should mention that when I click either collection it selects the relevant component in the larger model — i.e., multiple objects together. $\endgroup$
    – KT_
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 14:09
  • $\begingroup$ @moonboots An instanced collection doesn't have a white arrow icon to expand its hierarchy. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 14:26
  • $\begingroup$ @moonboots In my Blender there's only an arrow to expand the orange colored collection instance, but the collection inside there shown in white has no arrow to expand the hierarchy, although the original collection has objects in it like camera, sun, cube etc. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 6:04
  • $\begingroup$ @moonboots Really weird, your instance isn't shown in orange either. If I right-click on a collection and choose "Instance to Scene", I'll get an orange collection where there's only the collection in it, no objects. And if I select that and press G in the viewport (or R or S) I can only move the complete collection. To manipulate single objects in there I have to do that in the original collection. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 6:47
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    $\begingroup$ oh ok I completely misunderstood the original question, yes the orange collection is an instance, I thought he was saying that the collection inside the collection was a linked collection. I confused linked collection with instanced collection $\endgroup$
    – moonboots
    Commented Jul 28, 2021 at 7:14

1 Answer 1


The doubled orange icon shows that these are instanced collections, i.e. you do not have direct access to the objects inside. The orange "Collection" and "Collection.001" are both instances of the same original white "Collection", that's why it's shown in both of them.

Since Blender doesn't accept name duplicates on same object types, e.g. you cannot name two objects "Cube", this already indicates that the orange "Collection" must be something different than the white "Collection", and it also indicates that the two white "Collection" refer to the same thing.

  • $\begingroup$ Ah, so I'd have to Make Instances Real in order to actually see the makeup of the collection? $\endgroup$
    – KT_
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ If the base collection is not there in the outliner, change the type to "Blender File" (2nd icon in the top left of the outliner), expand the Collections and Right click on the base collection > Link to Scene to make it appear in the scene. Go back to "View Layer" mode to see the regular outliner. Making instances real will actually sever the link to the base collection $\endgroup$
    – Gorgious
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 14:53
  • $\begingroup$ It may also be available in another scene. you can check that in the top right of the window next to where it says "View Layer" $\endgroup$
    – Gorgious
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 14:54
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, very helpful. Thanks so much, both of you. $\endgroup$
    – KT_
    Commented Jul 27, 2021 at 15:08

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