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51 Blender Shortcuts you need to know

30

Thibault Houdon shows you 51 Blender shortcuts that will speed up your workflow.

Blender has always been for me the best software in terms of speed and ease of use and that’s mostly true thanks to its incredible number of shortcuts.

But that’s also something new user find quite difficult to learn.

That’s why I decided to make a list of 51 Blender Shortcuts you need to know in order to use Blender as fast as possible.

About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.

30 Comments

    • When teaching my friends blender, I start by saying, "This is the most powerful program you'll ever find, and working in it is incredibly fast... Once you learn a couple hundred shortcuts... Before that, it's super slow..."

    • it also perfectly illustrates what's awesome about blender... dang near everything is at your fingertips at any given moment.

    • You couldn't possibly be more wrong, The shortcuts are a big part of what makes Blender so awesome.

    • @Colley
      I don't see what sucks about Blender. Tell me.
      The fact that there are a lot of shortcuts you can use to simplify your life?
      It's not like you can't do all those things without shortcuts. Here "you need to know" means "I really think you should know if you want to be really productive". Do your research before posting mindless comments.

      • @Pawl
        I did my research. Blender has a horrible user interface, so the only way you can use it is to memorize hundreds of shortcuts. Hence why I said that title perfectly illustrates what sucks about blender.

        And to everyone else, yes. It does do cool things, which is why it's so heartbreaking that the design team can't get their heads out of their collective asses about the user experience.

        • Colley, I don't know if you had contact with Blender 2.49 and oldest versions. But the fact is that Blender conquered a great improvement in the UI, thanks to the developers (of course!) and thanks to the community, which pointed some direction with suggestions, debates and proposals.

          Blender Foundation has a very dedicated team, one of the best open source team on Earth. But it's, also a very "nationalist" team. It means that they don't absorb easily criticism about Blender (our "Nation"), even when spoken in a friendly way with the intend to improve Blender. But, anyway, despite the "nationalism", Blender team knew how to listen, after all, and the result was great: Blender 2.5!!

          Another sign that Blender Foundation knows how to listen is that the UI continues to develop, with tabs, context menus and a more organized screen, all of this that was suggested previosly by the community. There are yet a long way to a frindely UI, I agree with you. But more improvements awaits us on version 2.8.

          PS.: If you don't know version 2.49, I suggest that you download it and try it, to see the big screen of Blender development.

          • I started tinkering in Blender back at I think 2.47~ish. That they didn't have 5+ edge polygons made it near unusable at the time, but being free software, I kept a close eye on it. Once they brought in the better polygons, I gave it a series of serious goes, but just hated the user experience. I built a rig and did animations, exported into Unity. Tried the whole thing. While there are aspects I like, my feeling ever since has been that its not a feasible program, because while a person might learn the software, teaching a team to use it would be a monumental time sink.

            The reason is pretty simple
            The user interface sucks. It's hard to find buttons, things are all over the place. The tool tips didn't actually tell you what the hotkey for the buttons were, so you had to hunt the internet for helpful shortcuts. They broke so heavy and inconsistently from key conventions, that one had to relearn basic functions like which mouse button to use! It was teeeeeerrrrriiiiiiblllleee. The fact of the matter is that the ONLY way to use the program is to learn the hotkeys, because good luck finding things otherwise.

            Sure it's better, but that doesn't make it good. The blender team really needs to look at it from a basic usability stand point. I could never fathom this program working on a tablet, because there's no way you could use it without hotkeys.

        • Maybe most of that is due is that you are used to other interfaces. I've been trying the latest Lightwave, and I find it much more cumbersome and less intuitive than Blender (that ridiculous viewport navigation through a button above the viewports!). I don't know about finding the tools in Blender, as I don't mind learning a few shortcuts which make my workflow SO much smoother. I agree that Blender has a slighly steep learning curve and its interface is original, but to go from that to saying it sucks seems to me pretty arbitrary. It's improved so much in recent years, as Roberto Locatelli explains, the've introduced the spacebar search where it's not a problem to fin a tool (did you know that exists?). Just say that you don't like, it's not your cup of tea or your work style, instead of making such radical judgements. I can easily say that e.g. Windows sucks, especially when affected by emotion, because I find so many irritating things there, but when trying to contribute to a discussion I would avoid such blanket statements that totally discount something because of a few things I dislike. Happily no one is forcing you to use the software, I can only say my experience with it is radically different from yours, although I know it's still far from perfect.

          • Sucks is almost inherently an subjective judgement, unless one is talking about something like a vacuum cleaner. :)

            Getting back to the quality of Blender, I don't know anyone that says Blender has a good user interface. I've met tons of people who say, "it's really fast," but always always always with the caveat, "if you know the hotkeys." That's why I can say the user interface sucks. Because if you take away the workarounds (hotkeys), no one would like the program.

          • "Sucks" maybe subjective, but it hurts :)
            I don't see why shortcuts are a "workaround", I think they are a legitimate default way to interact. 3d artists are not like a typical MS Office user, they a specialized and highly motivated group who don't mind learning a few tricks to reap benefits in terms of workflow and speed. The only complaint I have is that there is no official published list, and people have to use pdfs and videos like this one.

        • antoniobuch on

          I've studied animation with Maya, have several years of experience with After Effects and I'm even an Autodesk Certified 3ds Max Instructor. I have some experience.

          As a professional, I've found that Blender is the most consistent and friendly 3D program. 3ds Max is not prettier and the options are in menus elsewhere, I don't understand Maya after 15 month usage. After Effects is the only one better than Blender, UI talking.

          As pointed out in this discussion, the most important Blender's UI element is the keyboard. This is a fact. If you need buttons, you have it at your fingertips (literally).

          And I think there's a misunderstanding in one of your comments bellow: you said that a hotkey is a workaround. But, by definition, a hotkey is completely the opposite, a shortcut.

          I understand that "51 shortcuts you need to know" sounds overwhelming, but the most of them are variations. Blender's shortcuts are so consistent that you'll find new shortcuts just by guessing, even in different modules. Anyway, every command can be found in a menu.

          3D programs are tough, complex and huge. You cannot simply make an icon or button for everything, the program would become unusable. Just check out the rest of them and see.

          • Hotkeys are work arounds in the sense that the layout is bad, so it's hard to find the functions you want without resorting to shortcuts. The User Interface (sans shortcuts) is a sloppy programmer's dumping ground. They're improving, but years of lacking guidance on where things should be and how they should flow has left a haphazard presentation. Programmers in Blender use shortcuts as their default interface, and where they put the buttons is an afterthought.

            Example;
            There's a modifier in the program that turns a 3d mesh into tubes along the edges. It allows in theory for easy extrusion of a character. You can even convert the edges into joints at the end. This is a modifier. One of the functions of modifier is the ability to scale the width of a mesh at a vert point. Rather than putting that function in the modifier, or even hinting at it in the modifier, the programmer made a hotkey, and then dumped the function in a separate section under the left panel (I don't even recall anymore where exactly). There is NO hint about that existing, unless you specifically were following the development of the function. In terms of usability, that's terrible. The programmer made the function, gave it a hotkey and totally afterthought how to access it.

            Blender functions by hotkeys. It is the workflow. And while that works amazing for some people (definitely fast), not everyone has a brain well suited for memorizing tens of dozens of hotkeys. And woe unto you if you ever have your shortcut hand get disabled by a break or something worse.

            Try using blender without your keyboard hand. Pretend you lost it in an accident, and your having to relearn Blender so that you can continue to do your job with just your mouse hand. Try it for a couple hours, and then try to objectively assess the experience.

            If Blender relies on hotkeys to be a usable program, then its interface sucks..
            You shouldn't apologize for this. People should be angry and demanding that it improves, because anyone can lose an arm. If you truly love this program, then you ought to be scared that someday it might become completely inaccessible to you.

            Plus, if you're relying on hotkeys anyways, why are any of you so defensive about pointing out that the layout itself needs improving?

          • antoniobuch on

            (For some reason I can't reply your comment.)

            Let's start from the final: I care about changing the layout because I love the way it is right now: focused to the pro user. I'm afraid that changing it may bring a friendly interface but full of menus, tabs and icons which could interfere with the 3D viewport size.

            Did you see Max's Graphite? It's cool, clean and easy, but takes screen space and graphic resources.

            Concerning to the main point, if I lost my keyboard, I'm screwed with Blender. Totally. As I would with almost any computer program. You always need Ctrl, Alt, Shift or Escape.

            You're Skin Modifier example is a good one. It will be great that the modifier itself had some hint about how to scale the joints, but I think that this is not the place. The modifier works with a mesh, and everything concerning the mesh may be inside the mesh's Edit Mode. So maybe a hint in the Modifier might be OK, never a tool.

            The way to do in this kind of cases is look for the documentation. You'll never know what a Modifier does if you don't look at the documentation (like modifiers in other 3D programs).

            I understand that you might take my comments as a Blender or Open Source fanboy, but I'm not. Almost everything I know in 3D, I've learned it in other software and I think that Blender made it smoother and faster. (OK, I'm a little in love)

            I'm a pro user, I earn money with Blender every day at my studio. I don't want any changes driven by the goal of "made it easy for the beginners". I want other improvements, as other professionals and studios all over the world. And that is the target of the Blender Foundation, not the newbies.

            BTW I'm open to any UI improvement, like the tabs, pie menus (which I don't like) or any other way to organize the actual UI.

    • Exactly this. "51 critical shortcuts you aren't going to remember". A UI is supposed to make functionality accessible. Blender isn't my day job and I can't remember all this crap.

      Of course, this site is the belly of the beast and blender can do no wrong.

  1. 51? Or there would be 251? Well, watching the movie Matrix, I guess we need the way of learning we saw there.
    Fortunately, the UI is becoming more and more friendly. Even knowing several shortcuts, I prefer go to the tabs and the menus.
    Once, someone asked to Einstein his telephone number. He answered: "I don't know by heart, let me search in the phone book". The other person replied: "You are a theoretical physicist and doesn't know your own telephone number by heart?". And he answered: "My memory is reserved for more important data".
    The more important, for Blender, is its power. Blender is a great software. With the UI more smart, the age of the shortcuts is ending, I hope.

    • In other words, hotkeys would be the first Einstein would learn. Shortcuts are UI too btw. However visual UI is regression from hotkeys. Speed is one of main reasons why I switched to Blender. Not to deal with clicking, because it is slow and demanding on concentration.

      • Konstantins, the shortcuts are there, and they always will be there. But all experts in software architecture says that softwares that depends on memory to work will perish and softwares that have a short learning curve are here to stay. We see this happens every day: expensive softwares like Photoshop, 3d max, Maya and others have hundreds of millions of users.
        Blender -- that is free and very, very powerful -- has, I guess, about one or two millions of users.
        The point is that we want that Blender Foundation gets more and more strong. And this means that we want millions and millions new users. Some of them will buy books, CDs, T shirts, some of them will donate, some of them will became volunteers. The result: Blender will develop continuously.
        For experienced users, shortcuts save time. For potential new users, shortcuts don't exist, there are only menus and tabs. So, it's necessary to offer a good and friendly UI as a front door open for newbies. Once inside, they will learn, along the years, a lot of shortcuts. Or not: with a friendly UI, even experienced users may prefer avoid work only with shortcuts. But Blender must to offer both options.

        • You are talking to a previous user of Max and Maya. Tell me more about how they're going to push Blender out of market :D
          Yes, the learning curve may be steeper for many, but I'd never realize that Blender is more efficient and eventually would just drop it if I'd be clicking.

          • Konstantins on

            Edit: Sure, it's nice if it'd have easier learning curve, BUT, and it's a big but - everyone using Blender has at least some voice over how it develops. As a result - thousands of people who open it once a month easily mute what someone with expertise has to say. Flashy feature is more likely to get implemented than a key order change that saves .5 seconds. Regardless if .5 is multiplied by thousand uses per session. It's just not flashy. On the other hand - those who really need Blender, will keep using it even if it'll be the opposite of popular.

  2. Like most people, I have two hands. Leaving one almost redundant while positioning a mouse pointer is daft, when my other hand can perform the same function on the keyboard without looking. You don't have to learn the shortcuts, but you're making your life a misery if you don't!

    I'm going to check the list offered here to see if I can learn some more, and work even faster.

    • Hi, brutal..

      feature no joke !? or..bug ?

      horror video for novice 51 shortcuts ..omg...

      & the rest of 150 shorts with a combination out of 4 or 5 keys ?
      what a messy key dance blender is now !

      the concentration is lost every time when a new task is coming you must rethinking and targeting the right combination of keys
      specially when you use a tablet and when you a left hander,
      its even harder, too.

      (Leftorium for blender please )

      -Toolshelf is missing simple funktions how bevel (is only a shortcut)
      -miss funtion to rip & recconect vertices & edges fast..
      the cursor is often totally useless and hard to control and time consuming when you must use it !
      (no automatic snapping to grid or to the selected vertice face etc.,no saving of positions and not a help when it come to aligning objects ).

      this makes the controlling harder in every Vesion since years..

      UI team and thats the development hmm..really ?

      tip..blender SENSEi FOMAT.. workflow , UI & shortcuts are dope.
      p.s. one guy does it.

      best regard

      • Sensei Format is really great! I installed it in one of the machines here, and it works very, very fine! Probably I will instal Sensei Format in the other machines too! And, as you said, developed by one single guy.

      • Sebbo, I agree 99% with you.

        For bevel, there are a menu for edit mode: Mesh > Edges > Bevel. Than you can move the mouse for the size of the bevel and scroll the wheel mouse for the number of steps.
        And there are a modifier to be used in object mode: Add Modifier, than Generate, and Bevel. Once there you can use modify a lot of variables.

        And the good new is that you find the shortcut in the menu options. So, you can memorize only the shortcuts for the operations that you use often.

    • @SEBBO, PAWEL:

      People are different in mental type of learning, 3D imagination etc.. Some, like me, are less capable than others in learning and remenbering character strings for, e.g., command line programming. Their brain just works a bit different.

      Many of those people have a powerful 3D imagination, and ideas, how to realize things in Blender. It just takes very long (too long with Blender) to turn imagination into action. And they obviously abandon Blender for only (!!) this reason.

      Many of those people already use a lot of shortcuts on a daily basis (e.g. ctrl-S, ctrl-X, ctrl-V to name a view). It just takes much longer to learn many new shortcuts to work with an new program, and it is harder to recall them in the beginning, although shortcuts speed up work obviously.

      Of course people who remember shortcuts have an edge over the others regarding the learning curve, but the lack of a powerful GUI keeps many more people from becoming familiar with the program (including switching to the use of shortcts with time ! ).

      Obviously, lack of a powerful GUI (adhering to standards) is the ONLY reason NOT to use Blender.

      Blender will never really break through (like it surely could) without such a change.

      My vote for a powerful GUI !

      G.

      • My vote too! And it is so because Blender IS powerful.

        Beside Blender I use Vue, mainly for designing clouds and specific atmospheres. But I am already seeing that soon I will abandon Vue, because Blender became capable of do the job on clouds and animated atmospheres.

        The world of softwares is a war. And the war is for conquer new users every day, because old users always go away (because they became retired, changed their profession, or changed their minds). Shortcuts, in this quantity, are for advanced users. Begginers NEED to begin. And the beginning is the UI. For captivate beginners, we need a nice, friendly, seductive and perfumed UI. And I think the developers are in the right way. But I should be happy if they just move forward in this direction with a bit more hurry.

  3. Max is a very, very expensive software. And, as was told above by ANTONIOBUCH (August 3, 2015 4:18 pm) the version Grafite has a "cool, clean and easy" interface. We must to ask ourselves: Autodesk did this with the intention of get more users or with the intention of to lose users (and money)?
    Max is not for beginners to play around. It's used in professional projects. And, although it's very expensive, it has millions and millions of professional users.
    Autodesk knows very well what it has doing.
    As I said before, beside Blender I use Vue (to create animated skies). Vue is very present in cinema blockbusters. It's also a professional software, and also expensive. And the UI is the more friendly, easy and tasty that they could create.
    Blender has capabilities that Vue even dream of having. And, in several tasks, Blender is better than Max. Blender deserves be present in ALL animations studios. And this requires a even more better UI that we already have.
    The Blender UI became much better in the last years, and I guess this progress will continue in the next versions.

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