Mouse Model

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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.

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. To change navigation styles, right click in an empty area of the 3D view window.

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 Pan Zoom Rotate View
to Select to Pan to Zoom in or out to Rotate view
Press the left mouse button over an object you want to select. Holding down ctrl allows the selection of multiple objects. Click the middle mouse button and move the object around to pan Use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out. 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. 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.

Inventor Navigation

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

Select Pan Zoom Rotate View
ctrl+to Select to Pan to Zoom in or out or to Zoom in or out to Rotate
Hold ctrl and press the left mouse button over an object you want to select. Click the left mouse button and move the object around. Use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out, or click and hold the middle mouse button and click the left mouse button. Click and drag with the left mouse button to rotate

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 Pan Zoom Rotate View
to Select shift+to Pan to Zoom in or out to Rotate
Press the left mouse button over an object you want to select. Hold shift and click the middle mouse button and move the object around. Use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out. Click and drag with the middle mouse button.

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.

Scaling
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.
Rotation
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.

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