I'm fairly new to Blender, currently in Part 3 of the Donut Tutorial. So this question may be fairly naive.

The viewport has a dropdown menu for selecting the mode, which may be Object, Edit, Sculpt, etc. This suggests that this choice of mode applies to the viewport and everything in it.

However, if I have two objects and I switch the viewport from Object mode to Edit mode, the outliner has an Edit mode icon in its left margin for the object that was selected, or if no object was selected, for the object that was most recently selected. The other object has a dot in that margin. This is shown in the following display image, where the sphere was selected when the mode was switched from Object to Edit:

enter image description here

In the manual, the section "Editors > Outliner > Interface > Main Region > Object Mode" says:

The far left of the Outliner contains a region to toggle the current Object Mode. When an object is in a mode other than Object Mode, the mode icon will be displayed in this region. Any other objects that are valid to be added or swapped into the current mode display a dot.

This seems to be saying that in the above picture, the sphere is in Edit mode, while the cube is in Object mode. Also, the cube does not show any vertices, which again seems to indicate that it is in Object mode.

So when the viewport drop-down says "Edit Mode," that does not seem to mean:

  • The viewport is in Edit mode. (Apparently wrong.)

but instead seems to mean:

  • One or more objects in the viewport is in Edit mode, while other objects there remain in Object mode.

Is that correct, or is there something I'm not understanding?

  • $\begingroup$ It means that the selected Object(s) can be edited in Edit mode. You can't normally even click on objects which aren't selected in Edit mode. To be honest, I've never used those icons in the Outliner and forgot they were even there. $\endgroup$
    – John Eason
    Nov 26, 2023 at 0:05

1 Answer 1


Yes, the modes are mostly attached to the object. Mesh objects have Object Mode, Edit Mode, Sculpt Mode, Vertex Paint, Weight Paint, and Texture Paint. Armature objects have Object Mode, Edit Mode, and Pose Mode. Object Mode is the one common mode across all object types. It is what is used to move the objects around in the scene.

Multi-object editing has been recently added to Blender. This allows multiple objects of the same type to be edited together in the same mode. Not all modes supports multi-object editing, though.

There is also another feature that has been introduced recently which is to activate a mode when switching the workspace. This makes it feel like the mode is attached to the workspace. That's why I said "mostly" in my first statement.


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