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When I link an object from another file, the visibility, selectability and renderability icons in the outliner are greyed out and inoperable. Yet I can control these functions by right-clicking in the outliner or by using hotkeys.

This behavior is different from linking groups where the outliner buttons are fully functional.

Is there some rationale for this partial functionality in the outliner for linked objects (as opposed to linked groups)? I.e. bug or feature?

(Blender 2.77a, Windows 10 64-bit)

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When you link objects the linked object reflects the object in another .blend file. It wouldn't make sense for user to seem to be able to make changes to it.

When you link groups you are not really linking the objects themselves, but a new instance of the collection of objects. Its the same as when operating within the same .blend: new instance of object can be manipulated without affecting the original copies as long as you don't manipulate the data ie. mesh itself for mesh objects.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes I understand the principles and advantages of linking. I'm not concerned with the editability of the linked object. The question is related to the visibilty/selectability/renderability buttons in the outliner. There, they appear to be non-functional but it IS possible to toggle them with hot keys and with right-click. Linked groups have functional buttons. $\endgroup$ – jrboddie Apr 25 '16 at 18:56
  • $\begingroup$ This is rephrasing but linked groups are fully editable objects because you're making new instance of objects. You can edit their position, scale, animate them etc. Linked objects are reflecting the actual objects in another file. Its simply how instancing works. If you want fully editable version of the linked object, link object data and put it in a new object, ie. link mesh data and then add new mesh object like a plane, go to data tab and from dropdown menu change it to use linked mesh data. $\endgroup$ – kheetor Apr 26 '16 at 5:39

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