Navigation Cube

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The Navigation Cube gives visual information about the camera orientation in the current 3D view and can be used to change it. By default it is visible and resides in the upper right corner of the view.

The Navigation Cube was updated in FreeCAD version 0.20 and the rest of this page describes that version. In FreeCAD version 0.19 the main behavior is the same but some features are missing.

Navigation Cube Example.png

The Navigation Cube consists of a number of parts:

All parts, except the axis indicators, can be clicked.


Main cube

The main cube has 26 faces: 6 square main faces, 12 rectangular edge faces (introduced in version 0.20), and 8 triangular corner faces. Clicking any of them will reorient the camera so that its direction is perpendicular to the selected face.

Directional arrows

There are six directional arrows: four triangular arrowheads and two curved arrows. Clicking one of the triangular arrows will rotate the 3D view around a line perpendicular to the direction of the arrow. Clicking a curved arrow will rotate the 3D view around the view direction.

Reverse view button

Clicking the round button in the top right corner of the Navigation Cube will rotate the 3D view 180 degrees around the vertical axis of the view.

Mini-cube menu

Clicking the small cube in the bottom right corner of the Navigation Cube will bring up a menu with the following options:

  • Orthographic: switches to an orthographic view.
  • Perspective: switches to a perspective view.
  • Isometric: switches to an isometric view.
  • Zoom to fit: zooms and pans the camera so that all visible objects fit inside the view.


Move the Navigation Cube

The entire Navigation Cube can be moved by pressing the mouse anywhere on the main cube and dragging. The structure will not begin to move until the cursor moves beyond one of the edges of the main cube.


The Navigation Cube is controlled by several preferences: Edit → Preferences... → Display → Navigation → Navigation cube. See Preferences Editor.

Advanced options

The CubeMenu external workbench provides easier access to several more advanced customization options.