When to use the Group/Component Outliner and when to use Tags

Aaron has created some great videos, especially for newbies like me. I’ve noticed he always disses the Outliner and favors Tags. I’d believe that the Outliner is being deprecated in favor of Tags, but I haven’t heard that.

I’d like to see a fair exploration of each and a discussion about when/where to use one over the other.

I don’t know of any push towards one or the other, but Outliner gained the ability to control visibility of objects in the 2020 version, allowing it to do some things that you would otherwise would have had to do with Tags. Then in the 2021 version there are Tag folders, which in some ways lets you do things in Tags that you would otherwise have had to do in Outliner.

So, both are still being improved.

FWIW I used to ignore the Outliner most of the time and only used Tags/Layers to organize my Groups and Components. But since Outliner has been granted visibility toggling, I now often use that more than Tags, at least while I am working. Tags are useful for generic things (external walls; roof; first floor; etc) whereas the Outliner can be more specific. It is often easier to switch off visibility of specific things rather than whole groups of things.

For a newbie, I can see that it could be quite confusing to know when to use Tags and when to use the Outliner as their functionalities do overlap.

In general, I would say use Tags and Scenes to control visibility and styles of output for presentation or printing, but use Outliner while modelling. Not as a hard and fast rule, but as a good way to differentiate their strengths.

And (almost) always leave the pencil icon in the Tags window at Untagged (or Layer0 in earlier versions of SU) and draw all raw geometry Untagged. Attach tags only to groups or components, or other objects like dimensions, to control visibility.

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I hope I did not diss Outliner… I really like Outliner. I have just found that, with my personal workflow preferences, using Tag Folders with Items seems to be easier than navigating through Outliner to toggle visibility. Outliner still has its place for drilling down into nested components, but I am enjoying Tags for on the fly visibility control.

In case any of you didn’t notice this, Aaron did a video yesterday to explain when he would use Tags, and when he uses Outliner.

I prefer to use both outliner and tags. The tag groups for assemblies and outliner for the contents of the assemblies.

Thank Colin. I did watch it. And I posted a “Thank you!” to Aaron on the YouTube page.
He does a great job on these videos, doesn’t he?

There are no strict rules, however I do associate the ‘Layer Tags’ more with ‘visualisation’ and the Model tree with ‘Organisation’ (eg. you can ‘Color by Tag’ but not ‘Colorize Objects’) The filter box functions well in the Object tree, but the filter in the Layer Tags only works for grouping, not for applying a dash style or color for all filtered Tags)

You can attach meaningful information on objects natively, but not on Layer Tags. This might be useful when collaborating with others in a BIM environment. Or use classification Tags for that. (You can assign multiple Classification Tags on Objects)