Selecting Actors

Overview of methods available for selecting Actors in the Level Editor viewport.

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Selecting Actors, while simple in nature, is an important part of the level-editing process. The ability to quickly and easily select the Actors that you want to work with enhances productivity and speeds up the design process.

This page details the different ways to select Actors in Unreal Engine.

Simple Selection

The most basic method of selecting Actors is to left-click them in the Viewport. Clicking an Actor will deselect any currently selected Actors and select the new one instead. If you hold down the Ctrl key while you click a new (unselected) Actor, the new Actor is added to the selection. If you hold down the Ctrl key while clicking a selected Actor, the Actor is removed from the selection.

This method is good for selecting small numbers of Actors or several isolated Actors spread out across a Level, but it can be slow and tedious for selecting large numbers of Actors.

A selected Static Mesh Actor in the Viewport

Selected Actors are highlighted in the Viewport. In this example, the table is selected, as shown by the yellow highlight and the presence of the Transform widget.

When you select multiple Actors, you can transform them as a group, and you can modify their properties simultaneously in the Details panel.

When you have two or more Actors selected, you can add them to a group to make it easier to re-select them or change their properties at the same time. For more information, refer to the Grouping Actors page.

Selecting Actors in the World Outliner

The World Outliner is a panel in the Unreal Editor that contains a hierarchical tree view of all Actors in the level. By default, it is located at the right-hand side of the Unreal Editor window.

You can select and deselect individual Actors in the list the same way you would in the Viewport.

In addition, you can select multiple Actors in the following ways:

  • Click an Actor, then hold down the Shift key and click another Actor to select all the Actors between them in the list.

    Selecting a range of Actors in the World Outliner

  • Hold down the Ctrl key and click multiple Actors to select all of them. The Actors don't have to be in sequence.

    Selecting multiple Actors in the World Outliner

Selecting any Actor in the World Outliner also selects it in the viewport, and vice versa.

Marquee Selection (Click-And-Drag)

Marquee selection is a quick way to select or deselect a group of Actors within a certain area in the viewport. This type of selection is performed by clicking and dragging the mouse, while optionally holding down a key or key combination. All the Actors within the box will be selected or deselected depending on the combination of keys and mouse button you hold down while dragging the mouse.

Marquee selection in Unreal Editor

Marquee selection in Unreal Editor. Note that this viewport is in orthographic top-down view, which makes it easier to select multiple objects using click-and-drag.

The following table shows the possible keyboard combinations for marquee selection.

Mouse and Keyboard Shortcut

Action

Left-click and drag

Replaces the current selection with the Actors contained in the box.

Left-click and drag + Shift

Adds the Actors contained in the box to the current selection.

Left-click and drag + Ctrl + Alt

Removes the Actors in the box from the current selection.

Using the Select Menu

The Select menu in the Unreal Editor's menu bar brings up some advanced selection techniques.

The options available in this submenu vary depending on the type of Actor you select. For example, if you have a Static Mesh selected, you will see different options than if you have a Blueprint selected.

The table below details some of the common options found within the Select submenu.

Option

Description

Select All

Selects all Actors in the current Level.

Unselect All

Clears the current selection.

Invert Selection

Inverts the current selection (selects all Actors that are not currently selected, and deselects currently selected Actors).

Focus Selected

Centers the selected Actor inside the Level Viewport.

Select Immediate Children

Selects the immediate children of the currently selected Actor. For example, if your Actor hierarchy looks like this:

  • Actor 1

    • Actor 2

    • Actor 3

      • Actor 4

      • Actor 5

    • Actor 6

      • Actor 7

this operation only selects Actors 2, 3, and 6.

Select All Descendants

Selects all children of the currently selected Actor.

Select Relevant Lights

Selects all Light Actors that affect the currently selected Actor.

Select Matching (Selected Classes)

(For mesh Actors) Selects all Actors with the same Static Mesh and the same Actor class as the selected Actor.

Select Matching (All Classes)

(For mesh Actors) Selects all Actors with the same Static Mesh as the selected Actor.

  • Select All Additive Brushes

  • Select All Subtractive Brushes

  • Select All Surfaces

Selects all brush Actors that match the specified type (additive, subtractive, or surfaces).

Select All With Same Material

Selects all Actors that use the same Material.

  • Select All Geometry in Hierarchy

  • Deselect All Geometry in Hierarchy

  • Select Inverse Geometry in Hierarchy

Selects, deselects, or inverts the current selection of all geometry in the Level.

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