A More Productive Editor Layout

Default Layout for Unity

The default layout after installing Unity isn’t bad, as it provides you with the main panels you need most of the time and, in a way, it looks similar to a computer layout.

  • Scene/Game View panel is the monitor: they both “displays information in pictorial form” and thus are located in the middle.
  • Project panel is the keyboard and mouse: one of the primary ways to insert information onto the screen, and like them, it’s usually located at the bottom
  • Hierarchy panel is the computer itself: it controls and organize all the information needed to process whatever object is on the screen, and likewise, is usually on the side (in this case, on the left)
  • Inspector panel are the external USB devices you have that’s connected to the computer: some might have a few while others might have a lot, but in the end, it works in tandem with the computer. And like external devices, they tend to be next to the computer itself (in this case, on the right)

Even though the layout has some good design behind it, it does have some initial flaws. This is where the new layout comes in; it takes what the default layout provides and refines it in order to provide a better level of productivity

Some of the flaws that this new layout eliminate are:

  • Allowing you to see both Scene and Game view at the same time. Instead of flipping back and forth between each view, you now can view both at the same time and in real time. In addition, there’s no need to hit Play/Pause to view one view or the other.
  • Project panel has been collapsed into a List view instead of Thumbnail view. Not only does it help prevent scrolling when inside a folder, it allows you to collapse folders you’re not currently using. Furthermore, except for some assets like art, most thumbnails are essentially the same and thus not really needed.
  • Project and Hierarchy panels are set to the same column. Because of minimizing the Project panel into a List view, there’s really no need to have it take up a lot of space. Therefore, by setting both the Project and Hierarchy panels on top of each other, we save space and makes it easier to move assets from the Project panel to the Hierarchy.
  • Inspector panel is expanded. Some assets, like the player or the camera, might have a lot of components attached to it. And if we were to use the Default layout, we would have to scroll down/up in order to find the component we want to edit. By expanding the Inspector panel, we eliminate most of the scrolling and save the scrolling for the most intense assets.