The mouse model of FreeCAD is very flexible and intuitive and with a few hints you can use it after only a minute of practice.
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.
The object handling is common to all workbenches. The following mouse gestures can be used to control the object position and view.
- Press the left mouse button over an object you want to select.
- Use the + or - keys or the mouse wheel to zoom in and out.
- Click the middle mouse button and move the object around.
- Click first with the middle mouse button, hold it and the click the left mouse button on any visible part of an object and drag it in the desired direction. This works like spinning a ball that rotates around its center. If you release the buttons before you stop your motion, the object continues spinning, if this is enabled.
- Setting Center of Rotation
- A double click with the middle mouse button on any part of an object sets the new center of rotation and zooms in on this point.
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.
The SVN version of FreeCAD also supports a couple of 3D input devices.