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Five ways to speed up your workflows in the Editor

August 10, 2021 in Technology | 12 min. read
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Achieve more in less time with the Shortcuts Manager, Presets, QuickSearch, and more.

We’re always working to bring greater efficiency to your day-to-day aggregate workflow, boost your productivity, and let you focus on your creative process. Even experienced Unity developers might have missed out on some of these improvements, so we created an e-book with more than 70 time-saving tips to accelerate your workflow in Unity 2020 LTS. This is the first in a series of three blog posts highlighting some of these tips, starting with how you can speed up your core Editor workflows.

Shortcuts Manager

The Shortcuts Manager is an interactive visual interface where you can manage Editor hotkeys. Here, you can assign shortcuts to different contexts and visualize existing bindings for any of the tools you use frequently.

The shortcuts manager
The Shortcuts Manager

You can bind any key or combination of keys to a Unity Editor command. For example, the R key is bound by default to the Scale tool in the Tools context. 

The Binding Conflicts category also identifies if you have a shortcut assigned to two commands that can be executed at the same time. Use the interface to resolve such conflicts. Note: You can assign the same shortcut to multiple commands if they are in different contexts and cannot execute at the same time.

Identify Binding Conflicts between shortcuts
Identify Binding Conflicts between shortcuts

To access the Shortcuts Manager from Unity’s main menu:

  • On Windows and Linux, select Edit > Shortcuts
  • On macOS, select Unity > Shortcuts

Use the provided API in the UnityEditor.ShortcutManagement namespace to define custom shortcuts in your own scripts and packages.

Common shortcuts
Common Editor shortcuts
Common Editor shortcuts

Presets 

This feature allows you to customize the default state of anything in your Inspector. Creating a Preset lets you copy the settings of a component or asset, save it as an asset, then apply the same settings to another item later. 

Use Presets to enforce standards or to apply reasonable defaults to new assets. This ensures consistent standards across your team, so commonly overlooked settings don’t impact your project’s performance. 

Presets
The Preset icon is highlighted here in red.

Click the Preset icon to the top right of the component. Click Save current to… to save the Preset as an asset, then click one of the available Presets to load a set of values.

Presets
In this example, the Presets contain different Import Settings for 2D textures depending on usage (albedo, normal, or utility).

Other handy ways to use Presets:

  • Create a GameObject with defaults: Drag and drop a Preset asset into the Hierarchy to create a new GameObject with the corresponding component filled in with Preset values.
  • Associate a specific Type with a Preset: In the Preset Manager (Project Settings > Preset Manager), specify one or more Presets per Type. Creating a new component will then default to the specified Preset values. 
    • Pro tip: Create multiple Presets per Type, and rely on the Filter to associate the correct Preset by name.
  • Save and load manager settings: Use Presets for a Manager window, so the settings can be reused. For example, if you plan to reapply the same Tags and Layers or Physics settings, Presets can reduce set up time for your next project.

 

Scene visibility 

As your Scene grows larger, you can temporarily hide specific objects to select and edit your GameObjects with greater ease.  

Instead of deactivating the GameObjects (which can lead to unintended behavior), toggle the SceneVisibility controls. This allows you to hide and show objects in the Scene view without changing their in-game visibility. 

Use the toolbar in the Hierarchy window to enable or disable the Scene visibility for GameObjects in the viewport. 

Hide objects
Hide objects in the Scene view using SceneVisibility controls.

Note that the status icons may change in the Hierarchy, depending on whether parent or child objects are hidden.

Icons
Scene view
Toggle the Scene view control bar on or off to override the global Scene visibility.

Use Isolation View to concentrate on a specific object and its children. Select a GameObject in the Hierarchy window and press Shift + H to toggle it on and off. This overrides your other Scene visibility settings until you exit. 

Isolation View allows you to edit a GameObject without distractions.
Isolation View allows you to edit a GameObject without distractions.

Remember that you can always use the Shift + spacebar shortcut to maximize the viewport and hide the rest of the Editor as well.

Scene picking

You can modify the pickability state of GameObjects, similar to Scene visibility. Use the toolbar to block specific GameObjects from being selected in the Scene view. This is useful to avoid selecting and editing an unintended GameObject in large scenes.

Because you can toggle pickability for a whole branch or a single object, some GameObjects may be pickable but have children or parents that are not. The following icons differentiate their status.

Searching

The Editor contains search functionality for the Scene view, Hierarchy window and Project window.

Search options in the Editor are highlighted in red.
Search options in the Editor are highlighted in red.

In addition to searching for names, you can search by type. Use the dropdown to select Type or the t: shorthand syntax. 

If you use Asset Labels, you can also use the l: shorthand to filter for labels.

In this example, we search the scene for all objects of type Camera:

Filtering by Type
Filtering by Type

QuickSearch

If you want to extend your search beyond the windows discussed here, you can find anything in Unity using the QuickSearch package.

Unity 2021.1 incorporates this functionality into the Editor without requiring a separate package installation. Look for it under Edit > Search All (Ctrl + K on Windows / Cmd + K on macOS).

Use the hotkey or Help menu to launch QuickSearch.
Use the hotkey or Help menu to launch QuickSearch.

Once installed from the PackageManager, activate QuickSearch from either Help > QuickSearch or use the Alt + ‘ hotkey combination.

QuickSearch enables you to search multiple areas of Unity, including assets, scene objects, menu items, packages, APIs, settings, etc.

Here is an example of a QuickSearch for “Camera”:

Comprehensive results from QuickSearch.
Comprehensive results from QuickSearch.

Make sure you run the setup wizard to configure the search settings for the best results. 

Quick Search
Performance varies depending on the size of your project, so choose the best settings for your needs.

See the QuickSearch guide to learn more about searching both inside and outside of Unity.

Get the new productivity e-book

Ebook

Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts with more tips to speed up your workflows – or get all the tips now by downloading the free 70+ tips to increase productivity with Unity 2020 LTS guide. You will need to fill out a short form to have the e-book sent to your inbox. 

Let us know what additional topics or features you’d like us to cover in the comments.

August 10, 2021 in Technology | 12 min. read
Topics covered