Mouse Model

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Revision as of 00:29, 11 July 2013 by Elucches (talk | contribs) (Added touchpad navigation)
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The FreeCAD mouse model consists of the commands used to visually navigate the 3D space and interact with the objects displayed. There are currently 3 different mouse navigation schemes in FreeCAD. The default navigation style is referred to as "CAD Navigation," and is very simple and practical, but FreeCAD also has two alternative navigation styles modeled after Inventor and Blender navigation.


The object handling is common to all workbenches. The following mouse gestures can be used to control the object position and view according to which Navigation style is selected.

There are two ways to change the navigation style:

  • In the Preferences Editor, Display section, 3D View tab;
  • By right-clicking in empty space in the 3D view area, then selecting Navigation style in the contextual menu.

CAD Navigation (default)

This is the default navigation style and allows the user a simple control of the view, and does not require the use of keyboard keys except to make multi-selections.

{{{Select_name}}} {{{Pan_name}}} {{{Zoom_name}}} {{{Rotate_view_name}}} {{{Rotate_view_alt_name}}}
Hand cursor.png Pan cursor.png Zoom cursor.png Rotate cursor.png Rotate cursor.png
Mouse LMB.svg Mouse MMB hold.svg Mouse MMB rotate.svg Mouse MMB+LMB hold.svg Mouse MMB+RMB hold.svg
{{{Select_text}}} {{{Pan_text}}} {{{Zoom_text}}} {{{Rotate_view_text}}} {{{Rotate_view_alt_text}}}
{{{Ctrl}}}+Mouse RMB.svg {{{Ctrl}}}+{{{Shift}}}+Mouse RMB.svg {{{Shift}}}+Mouse RMB.svg
{{{Pan_mode_text}}} {{{Zoom_mode_text}}} {{{Rotate_view_mode_text}}}

Inventor Navigation

In Inventor Navigation, there is no mouse-only selection. In order to select objects, you must hold down the CTRL key. Template:Inventor Navigation

Blender Navigation

In Blender Navigation, there is no mouse-only panning. In order to pan the view, you must hold down the SHIFT key.

{{{Select_name}}} {{{Pan_name}}} {{{Zoom_name}}} {{{Rotate_view_name}}}
Hand cursor.png Pan cursor.png Zoom cursor.png Rotate cursor.png
Mouse LMB.svg {{{Shift}}}+Mouse MMB hold.svg Mouse LMB+RMB hold.svg Mouse MMB rotate.svg Mouse MMB hold.svg
{{{Select_text}}} {{{Pan_text}}} {{{Zoom_text}}} {{{Rotate_view_text}}}

Touchpad Navigation

In Touchpad Navigation, neither panning, nor zooming, nor rotating the view, are mouse-only (or touchpad-only) operations. In order to pan the view, you must hold down the SHIFT key. To zoom, press PgUp or PgDn (no mouse or touchpad involved). To rotate the view, hold down the ALT key.

Select Pan Zoom Rotate View
Hand cursor.png Pan cursor.png Zoom cursor.png Rotate cursor.png
to Select shift+to Pan PgUp / PgDn alt+to Rotate
Press the left mouse button over an object you want to select. Hold shift and move the object around. Use PgUp and PgDn to zoom in and out. Hold alt and move the pointer.

Selecting objects

Objects can be selected by a click with the left mouse button either by clicking on the object in the 3D-view or by selecting it in the tree view. There is also a Preselection mechanism that highlights objects and displays information about them before selection just by hovering the mouse over it. If you don't like that behaviour or you have a slow machine, you can switch preselection off in the preferences.

Manipulating Objects

FreeCAD offers manipulators that can be used to modify an object or its visual appearance. A simple example is the clipping plane wich can be activated with the View→Clipping Plane menu. After activation the clipping plane object appears and shows seven obvious manipulators as little boxes: One on each end of its three coordinate axes and one on the center of the plane normal axis. There are four more that are not as obvious: The plane itself and the thin part of the three axis objects.

To scale the object click with the left mouse button on the box manipulators at the end of the axes and pull them back and forth. Depending on the object the manipulators work independently or synchronously.
Out of plane shifting
To shift the object along its normal vector, pull the long box on the center of an axis with the left mouse button. For the clipping plane there is only one manipulator along the normal vector.
In plane shifting
To move the center of the clipping plane, click on the plane object and pull it to the desired location.
Clicking on the thin part of the axes puts the manipulator in rotation mode.

Hardware support

FreeCAD also supports a couple of 3D input devices.

Mac OS X Issues

Recently we got reports on the forum from Mac users that those mouse button and key combination do not work as expected. Unfortunately, none of the developers owns a Mac, neither do the other regular contributors. We need your help to determine which mouse buttons and key combination work so we can update this wiki.

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