Append and Link
These functions help you reuse materials, objects and other data-blocks
loaded from an external source blend-file.
You can build libraries of common content and share them across multiple referencing files.
Link creates a reference to the data in the source file such that
changes made there will be reflected in the referencing file the next time it is reloaded.
Whereas Append makes a full copy of the data into your blend.
You can make further edits to your local copy of the data,
but changes in the external source file will not be reflected in the referencing file.
Mode: All Modes
In the File Browser
navigate to the external source blend-file and select the data-block you want to reuse.
- Relative Path
- Available only when linking, see relative paths.
- Makes the object Active after it is loaded.
- Active Layer
- Enabled by default, the object is assigned to the visible layers in your scene.
Otherwise, it is assigned to the same layers it resides on in the source file.
- Instance Groups
- This option links the Group to an object, adding it to the active scene.
When you select an Object type, it will be placed in your scene at the cursor.
Many other data types - cameras, curves, and materials for example -
must be linked to an object before they become visible.
Newly added Group types are available in
in 3D View,
or for NodeTree groups, the same menu in the Node Editor.
Look in the Outliner, with display mode set to Blender File, to see all your linked and appended data-blocks.
Ctrl-LMB on a file name allows you to redirect a link to another file.
You cannot move a linked object. Its position is defined in its source file.
If you want to modify the object locally you can either:
- Use Dupli-Groups
Instead of linking to Objects directly, it is often more useful to link in Groups,
which can be assigned to empties and moved, while maintaining the link to the original file.
It is also useful to be able to add/remove objects from the group
without having to manage linking in multiple objects.
- Make Objects Local
to make the position editable.
This means that object data (animation, constraints, modifiers...) will be local to your blend-file.
But the object-data will still be linked and remain immutable.
Appending data you already have linked will add objects/groups to the scene,
but will keep them linked (and un-editable).
This is done so existing relationships with linked data remain intact.
Used with rigged models, proxy objects, allow specified bone layers to be linked back to the source file
while the remainder of the object and its skeleton are edited locally.
Ctrl-Alt-P makes the active linked object into a local proxy, appending “_proxy” to its name.
Set the Protected Layers in the source file using the Skeleton panel of the Armatures tab.
See Armature Layers.
The bones in protected layers will have their position restored from the source file
when the referencing file is reloaded.
For the most part linking data will work as expected, however, there are some corner-cases which are not supported.
In general, dependencies should not go in both directions.
Attempting to link or append data which links back to the current file will likely result in missing links.
Object Rigid-Body Constraints
When linking objects directly into a blend-file,
the Rigid Body settings will not be linked in
since they are associated with their scenes world.
As an alternative, you could link in the entire scene and set it as a Background Set Scene.