Collections in multiple scenes?

I’m sorry if I’ve missed something obvious in the UI or documentation, but I can’t seem to find any help on this, and I’d really appreciate a pointer in the right direction. I’m running 2.81a, for reference.

So, I think I’ve gotten my head around collections… mostly. I’ve seen how if you make a linked copy of a scene, the same collections are available in both scenes. If I change the contents of the collection in one scene, it remains changed when I switch scenes, because it is the same collection, et cetera.

So I know that this state can exist. This is obviously really useful.

What I can’t figure out is how to achieve this state with a new collection. How do I make a new collection and make it exist in multiple scenes?

Just to show what I have tried (and double/triple checked)…

In the right click context menu for a collection in the outliner:

    • “Instance to scene” creates an instance of the collection, as in: a static copy of the whole collection as a single object, rather than just linking the collection to another scene
    • “Duplicate collection” obviously doesn’t work, because it just makes a new copy of the collection in the scene that is currently selected. All of the objects therein are new copies as well.
    • “Duplicate linked” does the same thing as “Duplicate collection”: it just makes a new copy of everything.
    • Using “copy” and “paste” appears to do nothing. The console says “Info: Copied 1 selected data-block(s)” when I copy, and “Info: 3 data-block(s) pasted” when I paste, but there are no changes to the contents of the outliner, or any result of any kind that I can see.

Dragging the collection to another scene in the “scene” view of the outliner moves the collection to that scene, rather than linking it to the scene, so both scenes can share it.

I’m totally out of ideas. What am I doing wrong?

Yeah, big plus one on this. Collections and Scenes still feel unfinished. For instance, you can have Collections inside Collections but every collection and object has to have a unique name, which is counter-intuitive and really limiting.
The infrastructure is there it seems.
Also, ‘make single user’ and ‘make local’ seem to do nothing. It’s all messed up!

I’m not sure if this is the intended workflow, but I have found a way to do this, so I’ll leave it for the next person who searches.

  • Switch the outliner to the “Scene” view. Be aware that selecting a specific scene in the outliner actually switches the active scene.

  • Switch to the scene you want to receive a new linked copy of a collection.

  • Expand the “Scene Collection” of the scene which contains the collection you want to make a linked copy of

  • Right click that collection and select “link to scene”

The thing that tripped me up is that there is an option in the right-click menu of collections in the outliner labelled “link to scene”, which appeared to do nothing. What it does do is link that collection to the currently active scene.

This means that if you are in the “view layers” mode in the outliner, this operator (if I’m understanding it correctly) will never do anything, because if you can see a collection, it is already in the active scene, since “view layers” only shows the active scene.

It only becomes useful when you are using the “scenes” mode of the outliner, because then you can right-click on collections that are not already in the active scene.

I don’t know why that option is present in a context where it seems to do nothing. It might be a bug, or I might be missing or misunderstanding something.