Blender 3D: Noob to Pro/Keystroke, Button, and Menu Notation

As you read through these tutorials, you will encounter cryptic codes such as  SHIFT + LMB  and Timeline → End Frame. They describe actions you perform using the keyboard and mouse. The notation used in this book comes from the standard used by the Blender community. We will try to import those standards here to facilitate our studies.

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A typical numpad

Most computer keyboards have number keys in two different places. A row above the letters, and in a numpad (numeric keypad) to the right of the keyboard. While many applications use these two sets of keys interchangeably, Blender does not. It assigns different functions to each set. If you're using a laptop keyboard without a separate numeric keypad, this might cause some difficulty. You'll need to use your function key to do some things. It is possible to indicate to Blender the type of keyboard you are using, but we strongly recommend you use a standard external keyboard if you use a laptop for these tutorials as it will make your studies and usage of Blender much more straightforward and enjoyable.

This book often assumes your keyboard has a numpad. If yours doesn't, consult the tutorial on Non-standard Input Devices for alternative ways to access the numpad's functions.


Notation Action or Key
 Alt  (press and hold) the Alt (Option) key
 Cmd  (press and hold) the Command or Super key (On a Windows keyboard, the key bearing the Windows logo; on a Macintosh, it bears the word command.)
 Ctrl  (press and hold) the Ctrl (Control) key
 Fn  (press and hold) the Fn (Function) key (generally found only on laptops)
 Shift  (press and hold) the Shift key
 Enter  (press) the Enter (Return) key (on the main keypad)
 Esc  (press) the Esc (Escape) key
 F1  through  F12  function keys F1 through F12 (often in a row along the top of the keyboard)
 Space  (press) the space bar (usually unmarked)
 Tab  (press) the Tab key
 A  through  Z  the letters (on the main keypad)
 0key  through  9Key  the numerals (above the letters) on the main keypad
 Num0  through  Num9  the numerals on the numpad
 NumLock ,  Num/ ,  Num* ,  NUM− ,  Num+ ,  NumEnter , and  Num.  other keys on the numpad
 Delete  (press) the Delete key (not  NUM.  !)
 Down Arrow  (press) the down Arrow key (not  Num2  !)
 Left Arrow  (press) the left Arrow key (not  NUM4  !)
 Right Arrow  (press) the right Arrow key (not  NUM6  !)
 Up Arrow  (press) the up Arrow key (not  NUM8  !)

Combinations that involve holding down a key while performing another action are written with a plus sign (+). Thus:

  •  Shift + Tab  means to press  Tab  while holding down  Shift 


  •  Shift + Ctrl + F9  means to press  F9  while holding down both  Ctrl  and  Shift .

Mouse NotationEdit

Blender uses three mouse buttons and the scroll wheel, if you have one. If your mouse only has one or two buttons, consult the tutorial on Non-standard Input Devices for alternative ways to access the functions assigned to these buttons.

Notation Action or Button
 LMB  click with the Left Mouse Button
 RMB  click with the Right Mouse Button
 MMB  press down on (don't turn) the scroll wheel or Middle Mouse Button
 SCROLL  turn the scroll wheel in either direction

Mouse and keyboard actions are often combined.  Shift + RMB  means to click  RMB  while holding down  Shift .

Navigating MenusEdit

Blender uses both pop-up and pull-down/pull-up menus. Many menus have sub menus (menus that are reached via another menu). If a menu item displays a triangle, that means it leads to a sub menu.

The File menu

You can move through items in a menu by either:

  • Moving the mouse pointer up and down
  • Pressing  Up Arrow  and  Down Arrow 

You can enter a sub menu by either:

  • Moving the mouse pointer to the right
  • Pressing  Right Arrow  while hovering over a menu item that shows a triangle on its side.

You can leave a sub menu by doing one of the following:

  • moving the mouse pointer to the left
  • pressing  Left Arrow 

To initiate a menu action, you can:

  • click  LMB 
  • press  Enter 

You can escape from a menu by:

  • moving the mouse pointer away from the menu
  • pressing  Esc 

For each menu, Blender remembers your last choice and highlights it for you the next time you enter the menu.


Menu notation is fairly self-explanatory.

 Shift + A  Mesh → UV Sphere


  1. Press Shift+A
  2. In the menu that pops up, move through the items until Mesh is highlighted
  3. Enter the Mesh sub menu
  4. Move through the items until UV Sphere is highlighted
  5. Press Enter or click the left mouse button to initiate the action