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Using dynamic linking, how can all the data from one .blend file be linked into another? The usual Ctrl Alt O method will lead me to a directory of components within a selected .blend file. For example, I can import a mesh or group, but neither would link with materials applied.

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    $\begingroup$ You should perhaps import objects, not meshes directly. The best/fastest way to import all from another .blend could be to just import all "scenes" (often there's only one). $\endgroup$ – m.ardito Jan 27 '17 at 15:31
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not quite sure what you are asking but I think the append option might work. It is in the file menu. $\endgroup$ – Lance Jan 28 '17 at 0:22
  • $\begingroup$ Append and link will not give me everything. If I append or link a mesh, object, or group, it will not come with any material. I want all the data to be there. $\endgroup$ – Hiigaran Jan 28 '17 at 0:35
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    $\begingroup$ @Hiigaran once linked the new scene, switch to its instance in the file, select all needed object and make links to the other, original, scene where you need to use them (CTRL-L => object to scene => "scene"), there you can make proxies for them if you need to move, scale, rotate them... $\endgroup$ – m.ardito Jan 28 '17 at 11:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Hiigaran anyway, linking/appending even single objects and even single meshes DOES link/append their materials also... $\endgroup$ – m.ardito Jan 28 '17 at 11:19
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Sorry, we can't go on discussing this in comments...

As said if you need to append/link "all" of a .blend file, it's better to append/link an entire scene: here is an example for linking.

enter image description here

As you see, I linked a scene from another file, then from the linked scene in my new file, I made links for all objects in my "local" scene.

To be able to transform one of them (in object mode), add modifiers, etc, I had to make a proxy.

Another example shows how linking a single mesh (not even an object) also links its material:

enter image description here Appending/linking just a mesh, you can't see it, until is assigned to an object, but it's there (technically is called "orphan data"), and its material also (also linked).

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  • $\begingroup$ Ignoring the second part of your answer regarding the mesh linking for a moment...I'm with you so far, up to making a proxy. I got confused with your comment in my question, however. So if I follow your answer and I'm up to the part about making a proxy (which I assume I make a proxy for every object and children of parent objects from the linked scene), I should be ready to add additional duplicates of the linked object, yes? What should I do here? $\endgroup$ – Hiigaran Jan 28 '17 at 12:14
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    $\begingroup$ when you have the proxy, you can duplicate it as usual: duplicate linked (ALT-D) which gives you another proxy, or regular duplicate (SHIFT -D) which makes a duplicate of the proxy, but "local", no more linked (that means you can alter its mesh in edit mode too)... $\endgroup$ – m.ardito Jan 28 '17 at 12:27
  • $\begingroup$ Okay. Now for one last question (hopefully). After linking the scene, then making links to the original scene, I noticed that if I edit the original external file, nothing happened in the main project. I tried scaling the object in the external file, saving, then closing and reopening the main project where the external file was linked in to, but the one I made a proxy of did not change. Thoughts? $\endgroup$ – Hiigaran Jan 28 '17 at 12:46
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    $\begingroup$ It does, until you proxy it. But you have to reload the linking file, after editing the linked original one. When you proxy, you make a local transforms object mode reference, and thus it is no more updated. But if you delete the proxy instantly the linked object gets the update. That's the whole point of a proxy here: "let me use this object here indipendently", $\endgroup$ – m.ardito Jan 28 '17 at 12:56
  • $\begingroup$ So there's no way to create components in external files, and have them update in a main project file at any time you make changes, if those components have been positioned, scaled and/or rotated after being linked? After making changes to those external files, you would need to delete any proxied components in the main project, relink, and reposition/scale/rotate? $\endgroup$ – Hiigaran Jan 28 '17 at 13:06

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