In the Blender UI, what is the difference between the Properties region (the thing that can be opened with N) and the Properties editor (the thing at the very right)?

What do they apply to (e.g. current selection/viewport/globally) and what kind of settings can I expect in each of them? In other words, if I were a developer adding a feature, how would I decide whether to put the UI in the Properties panel or the Properties window?


The Properties region, or as it is commonly called the Properties panel, holds settings for the 3D view and the active object.
In the picture below of the properties region, all the selection specific items are at the top. The bottom seven in the red box are all settings for the 3D view. The grease Pencil can be either object specific or scene specific.
properties region

The Properties window, or Proprieties editor holds the settings for the entire scene and the active object. The first four contexts (aka "tabs"), in the red box, are for the scene and do not change with the active object. All the other tabs, with the exception of the Texture tab are dependent on the active object. The Texture tab, similar to the grease Pencil, can hold settings for more than just the active object.
properties window

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    $\begingroup$ Please don't confuse panels and regions - a panel is a collapsible box inside a region or editor (e.g. Sampling panel, Light Paths panel...); the properties region and toolshelf are both regions (show/hide them with T/N) $\endgroup$ – Greg Zaal Feb 10 '15 at 7:47
  • $\begingroup$ @GregZaal Because my question is not primarily about the terminology, I edited it to include the correct terms, please check. $\endgroup$ – AndreKR Feb 10 '15 at 16:48
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    $\begingroup$ @GregZaal Seeing as there is a lack of documentation on the proper terminology for panels, windows, editors, views etc. I used the name blender uses. i.stack.imgur.com/bSnqj.png $\endgroup$ – David Feb 10 '15 at 21:16
  • $\begingroup$ The manual was indeed wrong at the time I wrote that comment - but I've since corrected it: blender.org/manual/getting_started/basics/interface/… - also, that tooltip is definitely incorrect, will fix that too. $\endgroup$ – Greg Zaal Feb 10 '15 at 21:38
  • $\begingroup$ Oh and in future, please report issues with the manual - or better, fix it yourself! :) See: blender.org/manual/about/introduction.html $\endgroup$ – Greg Zaal Feb 10 '15 at 21:40

The properties panel contains options pertaining to the 3d view and the active object. The properties area contains options pertaining to the world/scene and a more extensive set of controls for the active object, including the ones contained by the panel. Both are partially relevant to the selection. In the area, the first four items apply to the scene (global),

enter image description here
The circled items apply to the selection
and the remaining ones apply to the selection in the case of the panel, the transform and item section are relevant to the selection everything else pertains to the 3d view or the 3d cursor. enter image description here
The circled items apply to the selection

Both the contents of the transform and item section can be found under the object section in the area (Orange cube icon).

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    $\begingroup$ I'd disagree that they are "largely the same", there is some crossover, but they are mostly different imo. $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Feb 10 '15 at 3:40
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    $\begingroup$ They are not "largely the same" the only similarities are found in the Object tab of the properties window. $\endgroup$ – David Feb 10 '15 at 3:50
  • $\begingroup$ @gandalf3, Fixed $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Feb 10 '15 at 4:14

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