Autodesk 123D Design – Navigating, Shortcut keys & Views


When your first start out learning 123D, it may seem a bit difficult to navigate around objects and space. If you’re using a trackpad, it may be a bit of a hassle to manually switch between the orbit and pan tools. With a three-button mouse or tablet, you can easily switch between the two using right-click and a middle button.

You can, however, avoid panning altogether by simply scrolling to zoom in and out of areas to ‘pan’ across space. Selecting an object and hitting the “F” key will reposition your perspective to the center of the select object(s), this is very handy when you want to quickly change your views orientation.

Shortcut Keys

Using shortcut keys is a great way to quickly run functions and commands, saving you time! With Autodesk’s latest 1.4 updates, they added some new shortcut keys and a lovely hotkey legend. My favorite is “F! It’s probably my most used shortcut key.


You have the option to view your work from either Perspective or Orthographic.  I tend to keep my view set to Orthographic since it gives you a better representation of symmetrical geometry. By default, your view may be set to Perspective. You can change this by clicking on the eject arrow icon that’s on the top right, just below the navigation cube.  You can reset your view to ‘home’ by clicking on the house-looking icon.

Navigation Cube

The navigation cube can be used to orbit around your workspace. Click+hold and move your mouse to pivot your view. This navigation cube also serves as a reference guide, letting you know what ‘side’ you are currently looking at. If you click on a surface, your view will automatically be repositioned to that corresponding side. When you hover over the navigation cube, you get four triangle icons and two arrow icons. Clicking on these will change your view to the adjacent side, this is great for getting an absolute flat view of your workspace. The two arrow icons will rotate your view in 90-degree increments. Clicking on the edges and corners of the cube will also reposition your view, relative to the navigation cube.


  1. Main Toolbar – Start creating 2D shapes or 3D models using the tools in this toolbar. Transform, construct and modify objects using tools

2. Application Menu – Create new, open, save, import, and export files from here. Directly send the files to different applications like 123D Make and Meshmixer or simply send your model to 3D Print to your desktop 3D Printer or to Online Print Service Bureaus.

3. Navigation Bar –

  1. Grid is the place to build the model. Switch on/off the grid with the icon on the Navigation bar.
  2. Viewcube is the easy way to navigate on the screen. Just by clicking on different angles, view the model in different angles.
  3. Sign in – Log on to check your projects, models and social connections from your account.
  4. Help – Find shortcut keys information. Learn more about the product through the videos, tutorials, forums and website..
  5. Parts Bin – Choose from the wide library of Kits that contain several useful models that you can use and modify in 123D Design.
  6. Snapping – nudging is easy way to bring precision while creating. Use arrows on the keyboard to nudge object.
  7. Edit Grid – Change the grid size to the preset sizes or specify your own custom grid size.

Cheat Sheets & Reference Guide:

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