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Make the Most of your Mouse Wheel

One of the features that is used constantly in ARCHICAD is the zooming and panning function of the Mouse Wheel. It might seem second nature and you probably don’t think about it… but do you know ALL the functions it performs?

Don’t have a Mouse with a Wheel? You need to get one, now!

The following functionality works in both the 2D and 3D views within ARCHICAD.

Zooming with the Mouse Wheel

Let’s start with the basics - if you scroll the mouse wheel forwards, you will zoom in. If you scroll it backwards, you will zoom out. This applies to all ARCHICAD documents… the only exceptions are Schedules and Lists where the mouse wheel scrolls up and down.

However, did you know about the modifiers? Normally when you scroll the mouse wheel, each click / scroll will step the Zoom factor by 20%. To see this in action, click the Zoom button highlighted below and set it to 100%:

Now place the mouse anywhere on the active view and scroll the mouse wheel forwards by one notch (this is more noticeable on some mice than others). You will see the Zoom factor changes to 120%. If you scroll backwards by one notch , you will see the Zoom factor return to 100% - and if you scroll again it will drop to 83% and on it will go from there.

Now for the modifiers! On some projects that are very large or very detailed it is helpful to move in larger or smaller steps.

Let’s start by looking at how to move more slowly in smaller steps… it is a good idea to return the Zoom factor to 100% before beginning as the results are easier to see. The process is the same as above but before you start to scroll, press and hold CMD (Mac) or Ctrl (Win) and this time you will see the step is 10%. This reduces the risk of overshooting the point you were aiming for and is very useful in detailed projects.

To move more quickly in larger steps is exactly the same process as above with a different key. Before you start to scroll, press and hold SHIFT and this time you will see the step is 40%. This helps navigate across larger projects more quickly.

The other thing that may not be immediately obvious is the importance of the placement of the mouse. When you Zoom in or out using the Mouse Wheel, the ‘focus’ of the Zoom is always on the point where the cursor is sitting. If the cursor is in the middle of the view, as shown in the example below, zooming in or out will remain focused on the center of that view.

If you were to move the mouse to a corner, the view would resize with the focus in the corner you have chosen. So be sure to place your cursor wisely before zooming! Using the cursor position wisely can save a lot of corrective panning or re-zooming.

Fit in Window with the Mouse Wheel

This is a really useful function of the Mouse Wheel in ARCHICAD that is great when you are first setting out a project and have not fully defined your views… and is one of the easiest to use!

To Fit in Window all of the elements that are visible in the view - just double click the mouse wheel! This does exactly the same as the button highlighted below, but it saves you moving the cursor away from what you are currently working on:

Pan with the Mouse Wheel

The final core navigation function with the Mouse Wheel is Pan. By holding the Mouse Wheel you can move around the content of your view while retaining the Zoom factor. This is perfect when you want to see just a little bit more above, below or to the side of your current view.

Orbit with the Mouse Wheel

This command only applies to the 3D Window and is one that can really speed up navigation as it allows you to easily switch from Zoom and Pan to Orbiting the model. To use this, all you need to do is press and hold SHIFT when you press and hold the Mouse Wheel. This instantly starts the Orbit command and saves you having to hit the ‘O’ key or find the button highlighted below:

You will know this has worked because the cursor changes to show the Orbit icon:

So there you have the secrets of one button that has four functions! If you want to see them in action - check out the video on our YouTube channel shown below - and be sure to subscribe to our channel!:

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