While the N Panel Manager addon doesn’t manage the N Panel directly, it solved the problem with the clutter in the N Panel. You can do the following:

  • Decide what addon is enabled or disabled globally
  • Define what workspace needs to be filtered.
  • For each addon: in what workspace does it need to be enabled.

That is done in a nice layout (list) where we have loads of filter options:

N Panel Manager addon UI
N Panel Manager UI
  1. Filter the category in the list. E.g., Add_Mesh, Development, Import-Export.
  2. List all the add-ons, or only the Enabled or Disabled.
  3. The list of add-ons is shown according to all filters.
  4. Enable the add-on globally (as in preferences).
  5. Search by (part of) Name, Author, or Description.
  6. Type a search term.
  7. Refresh the list whenever you make changes outside the N panel Manager.
  8. Clears the list.
  9. Info Panel where you can see the Author, Description, and location. Handy for when you forgot what the add-on was about.
  10. To make a note. For example, a shortcut or a link.
  11. Export the current configuration. You can use it as a preset or view it in another program like Excel. Or previous import configurations.
  12. Turn the workspace filter on or off.
  13. Enable the selected addon in the selected workspace.

The documentation video

Here is the nearly one-hour documentation video. There are timestamps, so you can quickly switch to another topic.

The documentation video of the N Panel Manager

00:00 Introduction — PART 1 — 00:40 The UI of the N Panel Manager 01:30 Filter category of addons 03:00 Search by Name, Author, or Description 03:35 Filter Enabled or Disabled addons 03:50 The info panel and make notes (save startup file after that). 06:00 Enable or disable an addon in a workspace 06:50 Export and import settings as JSON 11:00 Blender’s workspace filter vs. N Panel Manager 12:20 N Panel Manager Basic workflow 14:00 How to view a JSON Export in Excel 18:50 Save Preferences vs. save Startup File 20:20 Example using notes for shortcuts 21:50 Known issue (What to do when updating an addon, for now) 23:40 Roadmap 23:00 Important note on installing the N Panel Manager

24:35 Tips on new Blender installation — PART 2 — 24:50 Download Blender 25:30 Edit preferences in Blender 32:-00 Make one perfect workspace and save Startup File 35:00 Cleaning up before Save Startup File 37:20 Duplicate the perfect workspace and rename 42:00 Save Startup File 42:30 Install and/or enable all your favorite addons (151 in my case). 43:15 Installing the N Panel Manager 44:30 Help! I updated an addon, and I don’t see it 45:15 Using the N Panel Manager

The benefits of the N Panel Manager addon

  • It saves you precious time settings up Blender with all the add-ons.
  • The N Panel Manager creates a workable environment every time you use Blender.
  • Use the add-ons again you invested in. You probably don’t use many of them because the add-ons are not organized in Blender. 
  • Export setups as presets. For example, you can have a light version and another preset where most add-ons are enabled. Import them back in.

Installation of the N Panel Manager addon

In the downloads, you will find the n_panel_manager_v1.zip. This file installs like any other Blender addon:

  • Start Blender
  • Go to Edit > Preferences > Addons. 
  • Click on the Install button on top.
  • Navigate to the file you just downloaded. 
  • Click install.
  • You will find the addon in the Properties Panel > Scene. 
  • The best is to drag the N Panel Manager on top. 

Tips on making the best Blender installation ever

Although not part of the addon, here is a checklist for when you need to set up a new Blender installation with all your favorite addons. 

  1. Download Blender and start it up. 
  2. First, Edit preferences:
  3. You might want to set:
    – System > Cycles Render Devices > Cuda (depends on your hardware), 
    – Save and Load: Auto Rund Python Scripts
    – Addons: Stored views, Curve Tools, Extra Objects (curve), Extra Object (Mesh), Animall, Bake Wrangler, Add camera rigs, Icon Viewer, Is Key Free, Import Images as planes, Modifier tools, Dynamic Sky, F2, Looptools, Tissue, Paint Palettes, UI Animation Render, Power Sequencer, Refine Tracking solution. 
     File paths, like Asset Libraries. 
  4. Save preferences, and remove the workspaces you don’t need. (You can create your own). 
  5. Make one workspace as good as possible (hide T panel if you want, resize areas, shading preview mode, etc.) before you duplicate this workspace multiple times, and give each workspace short names. 
  6. Duplicate the workspace and name each workspace. I give them short names, like Gen, Mod, Mat, Assts, Char, Phys, and Anim. 
  7. Save the startup file (this saves all the windows, areas, and settings (not preferences). So, for example, if you resize a panel, and save startup file, then the next time you start Blender, you see it as you saved it. 
  8. Install all your favorite addons. Then, save again preferences and restart Blender. (The N Panel is probably unreadable now). 
  9. Install the N Panel Manager and enable it in every workspace, even if the workspace’s filter is not on. (we will automate this in the next update). 
  10. Use the N Panel Manager to turn on the workspace filters you want, enable/disable globally addons, and decide in what workspace the addons should be enabled.

Where to get the N Panel Manager Addon

The N Panel Manager is available on Blender Market.