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I have some third-party objects that display an odd linking behavior that I do not understand. If I right-click on the object in the ViewLayer pane and select Unlink, the object disappears entirely. Where did it go? There is no external linking I can see, so I am assuming that the object is linking to something within the Blend file, but to what?

I have attached a blend file containing a piece of one of these objects in the hopes that someone here can tell me what is going on. Thanks! Blender 3.5.0, Windows 11

enter image description here

blend file example

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    $\begingroup$ I've just given a test, it looks like it acts like that with any object, if you unlink an object from a collection, and if this object only exist in this collection, it will be the same as deleting this object $\endgroup$
    – moonboots
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean a collection as in a Collection in the ViewLayer pane? Or something else? (there are no Collections that I am aware of). Also, I am only familiar with linking to things in external Blend files, and not within a blend file; is that possible? $\endgroup$
    – WilburPost
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 18:49
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    $\begingroup$ What you show is a pop-up panel that is relative to the Outliner, yes. In the Outliner, "linking" has another meaning than "linking" an object from a file to another file, it means that you can give the same object to several collections, and that it will stay in that collection unless you unlink it. If an object is not part from any collection anymore and you decide to unlink it, it's the same as deleting it $\endgroup$
    – moonboots
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 19:04
  • $\begingroup$ Another thing I have noticed is that this Blend file is 20 MB, and that seems really big for a single box object. I have purged all orphaned data, but somehow there still seems to be 20 MB of content lurking somewhere in the Blend file. Where is this hidden data? Is it accessible? Thanks again. I really appreciate your help. $\endgroup$
    – WilburPost
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 19:23
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    $\begingroup$ It is part of the default collection of the Outliner, called Scene Collection. As for the size, its because you have tens of meshes that you've saved as Fake User, switch your Outliner to Orphan Data and you'll see them, disable the Fake User option and click on the Purge button $\endgroup$
    – moonboots
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 19:30

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You're confusing a linked object (an object that can be imported from a file to another and stays linked to the first file) and an object that is linked in the Outliner, meaning that it is shared by several collections.

To put an object in several collections at the same time you just need to press ShiftM in the 3D view or in the Outliner, or select the object in the Outliner, press Ctrl and move it into the wanted collection, as you'll see the object will remain in its current collection but will also appear in the new one.

To remove an object from a collection, right click on it and Unlink. The object will remain in all the other collections where it already exists. If you unlink an object that is in one collection only, it will be the same as deleting it (yes, in that case unlinking makes no sense and should not be available). Note that Scene Collection is a collection (it's the root collection).

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