Originally posted on the Unreal Engine blog.
Context is King
When you’re working with the blueprint editor, it’s important to remember that context is king. If you right-click on a blueprint graph, you’ll get a list of actions that make sense in the context of the current blueprint and graph.
For example in an Actor based blueprint, you’ll get offered actions that target an Actor, as well as ones that work in any context. Similarly, if you drag off of a pin and let go on the graph background, the action menu will be filtered to actions that take or provide a value matching the pin type and direction.
The current context filter is always displayed at the top of the action menu, which can be helpful if you don’t see something you were expecting to find.
This filtering helps you find actions and place nodes quickly, but it requires a bit of forward planning that doesn’t always match the way you think when solving a problem. You need a specific object before you can see actions for that object (e.g., you need a static mesh component before you can look for SetStaticMesh).
The palette exists to help when you come up with the action before the target; it isn’t filtered by context and contains all possible actions. You can drag-and-drop nodes from the palette into the graph, just like you can drag your custom functions from the My Blueprint list. You can also disable the filtering in the action menu using the check box on the top right, but don’t forget about it, since it will stay unfiltered until you check the box again.
You can search in the current blueprint or in all blueprints in your project (even unloaded blueprints!) using Ctrl+F or Ctrl+Shift+F. Almost anything can be searched, including references to a variable or function, comments, literal values, etc… There are also shortcuts to search for function and variable references in the context menu for your variables and user defined functions.
The blueprint editor has a lot of productivity boosting shortcuts built-in, and while many will come naturally as you use the editor, others are a little bit hidden. These gems are well worth learning, so here is a cheat sheet of controls, keyboard shortcuts, and some useful actions:
Fun with variables
You can create a new variable from any data pin by using the right click option ‘Promote to Variable’, which will automatically be hooked up to read/write it. As the cheat sheet mentions, there are also several useful actions when dragging variables from the My Blueprint tab:
- Drag onto a pin: Places and connects a new get/set as appropriate
- Drag to an existing variable get/set node: Changes it to read/write the dragged variable
- Drag into the graph background: Offers a menu to get/set it; use Ctrl or Alt to force a Get or Set
- Drag inside My Blueprint: Reorder the variables in a category or change categories
You can also clean up unused variables using ‘Edit..Delete Unused Variables’ to help tidy up your BP.