Laying It All Out: A More Productive Unity Layout and Helpful Tools

The extensibility and customization of the editor is one of the major highlights of using Unity. This is your Unity layout, there are many like it but this one is yours. It works but it can be better.

Every window and tab in the editor can be moved and resized to your heart’s content. In the top right there is a Layout drop down, this is where you can select preset layouts and save your own custom layouts.

This is what I like to call the Pro layout unlike the default layout there are a few key differences, namely the game view and scene view are aligned under one another so you can see things together. You have the Heirarchy and Project view to the left. The Project view has a single pane layout letting you see everything at once. On the right you have the inspector and console for any errors or warnings that come up as well ease of use. The view has the versatility of allowing side by side windows if you’re working on a vertical game as you can see below.

So how do you make it? You can either use the above images as a frame of reference as you drag windows around or just follow along as I renovate the default layout to the Pro Horizontal Layout. The vertical layout is a similar workflow.

Let’s start by moving the console window over to the corner.

Next let’s click and drag the Game window down, stretch it out to push the Project window over. If at any point you accidentally mess up or delete a window. Just go to Layout drop down and select ‘Default’ to load the layout again.

Now let’s convert that dual pane layout on the Project window to a single pane. Click the little 3 dot menu (also called the hamburger button by some) and click on ‘One Column Layout’ to convert it.

Now let’s save it. Click the layout drop down menu on the top right and click on ‘Save’ it will ask you to name your layout. Name it ‘Pro’ and you’re all set. You can save as many layouts as you like.

Experiment with your layouts and find out what fits your workflow. As you gain more experience you will find some layouts suit some tasks better than others. Down below are a list of my favorite Unity assets that I bring into every project.

Picking The Right Tool For The Job: Helpful Tools

This is a list of my favorite tools for Unity based on their price, ease of use, functionality, and support. Not all of them are free but I can hardly imagine living my life without after using them and try not to think of those dark times.

Peek ($60 USD)

Peek is love. Peek is life. Easily my favorite tool and probably the handiest in the bunch. It effectively eliminates the inspector allowing you to access all of Game Object’s components in the scene, hierarchy, and project view. You can add components on the fly and generally have a much larger workspace to work in the scene. It also adds object groups, lets you access tabs in full screen, batch replace objects, sticky drag/drop, viewing references, viewing the local hierarchy with parent/children, and honestly a ton of stuff. It does have a few drawbacks such as not being able to workaround lighting needing the inspector but the issues are far and few between. If there’s one tool you get this should be it. You can learn more about it here.

Rainbow Folders 2 ($20 USD)

Probably my second favorite asset this make organizing the project folder a total snap. Flexible, easy to use, and filled to the brim with preloaded icons it makes it hard not to recommend. There are cheaper alternatives but support is top notch even if the price is a little high for what you get would definitely wait for a sale if you can. There’s a complimentary asset for the hierarchy that looks equally awesome but same as here, wait for a sale. You can learn more about it here.

Player Prefs Editor (FREE)

There are probably dozens of free PlayerPrefs Editors scattered over the Unity Asset Store and you could probably write one in a snap with a little editor know how but this probably the easiest most straight forward asset for this sort of stuff. Easily my favorite one and BG Tools provides prompt support for a free asset is nothing short of impressive. Like all free tools there is a chance that it could go unattended but you get what you pay for and in this case more than what you paid for. You can grab it here.

Tidy Up (FREE)

Just like it says on the tin. Helps you jump start your folder structure from minute. Helps clean up your folders of assets lying around in a single button press and best of all it’s free. I’ve never found a replacement for this despite searching for some time. It’s no longer being maintained by Nutshell Hack but still continues to work so I’ll use it until it doesn’t and then probably lament but until there you can find it here.

That’s the list my top favorite tools, hopefully you find some or all of them useful. I have a variety of more tools that I use such as Easy Save for more serious saving and loading or framework specific tools such as VRIF (Virtual Reality Interaction Framework) but those vary on a case by case basis. I hope you found this helpful in your journey to becoming a gamedev. Best of luck!