Blender Basics: Viewport Navigation Shortcuts + Hotkeys

Do you want to learn how to use Blender viewport navigation like a pro but are just getting started?

You don’t need to look any further! In this blog post, we’ll go over the 3D Viewport navigation shortcuts in Blender, giving you the knowledge you need to use this powerful 3D program effectively.

Understanding shortcuts can help you improve your workflow, productivity, and overall Blender experience. Whether you’re a digital artist, game developer, or simply interested in 3D design.

So let’s get started and learn some useful shortcuts!

Updated to Blender 4.0

Tip: Before you start, make sure you are on the 3D Viewport. Just click on the “Editor Type” icon, and select “3D Viewport“.

Or just press “SHIFT + F5“.

Blender 3D Viewport

Blender Basic Navigation Controls

Viewport ActionControls
Pan: Move the viewa) SHIFT + Middle Mouse Button
b) CTRL + Numpad: 2 (down) / 4 (left) / 6 (right) / 8 (up)
c) Hand icon
Orbit: Rotate the viewMiddle Mouse Button
Zoom in and outa) Mouse wheel up / down
b) CTRL + Middle Mouse Button
c) Magnifying glass icon Zoom in Blender
Official Documentation

How to Navigate Blender Without a Middle Mouse Button or Numpad

If the middle mouse button is missing just select: “Edit -> Preferences -> Input -> Emulate 3 Button Mouse“.

Now you’ll be able to emulate the Middle Mouse with ALT + Left Mouse Button.

In case the numpad is missing just select: “Edit -> Preferences -> Input -> Emulate Numpad“.

The main 1 to 0 keys act as the numpad ones. This is really useful for laptops.

How to emulate a middle mouse button or Numpad in Blender

Orthographic Views

Viewport ActionShortcuts
Perspective / Orthographic Viewa) Numpad 5
b) Grid icon Blender Perspective and Orthographic View Switch
Front OrthographicNumpad 1
Back OrthographicCTRL + Numpad 1
Right OrthographicNumpad 3 / Numpad 9
Left OrthographicCTRL + Numpad 3 / Numpad 9
Top OrthographicNumpad 7
Bottom OrthographicCTRL + Numpad 7

Tip 1: If you find it difficult to recall the shortcuts, an alternative option is to simply click on the X, Y, and Z axis on the gizmo in order to adjust the viewpoint.

Tip 2: Orthographic view is very helpful for measuring objects because it allows you to see the grid clearly. The grid is made up of small and large squares. The larger squares represent a measurement of 1 meter, while the smaller squares represent 10 centimeters. This means that the default cube size in blender is 2 meters.

Add and Delete Objects

Add (Mesh, Curve, Surface, Metaball, Text, Volume, Light…)SHIFT + A
DeleteDEL / Delete Key

Tip 1: Remember that once you have deselected the created object or made another action, you will no longer be able to edit the initial options. Alternatively you can press F9 to adjust the last operation.

Tip 2: Keep in mind that adding segments is always easier than subtracting them. If you’re just starting out, keep the number of polygons as low as possible.

Select options in Blender

SelectLeft Mouse Button
DeselectALT + A
Shade SmoothLeft Mouse Button (Select) -> Right Mouse Button -> Shade Smooth
Blender Shade Smooth
Shade Flat (Left) and Shade Smooth (Right)

Transform Items in Blender

b) G (optional + X, Y, Z or Drag Midde Mouse Button)
c) SHIFT + Spacebar
b) R (optional + X, Y, Z or Drag Midde Mouse Button)
c) SHIFT + Spacebar
b) S (optional + X, Y, Z or Drag Midde Mouse Button)
c) SHIFT + Spacebar
b) T (optional + X, Y, Z or Drag Midde Mouse Button)
c) SHIFT + Spacebar
Cancel Actiona) ESC
b) Right Mouse Button

Camera and Render Shortcuts

Camera Viewa) Numpad 0
b) Camera Icon Blender Camera View
Lock Camera to ViewN -> View -> Lock Camera to View
Render ImageF12