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Zoom Quickly and More by Controlling Your Mouse's Wheel

By Ellen Finkelstein, October 31, 2013
Originally published on EllenFinkelstein.com. Republished here by permission.

Most mice have a wheel and you can use it in a number of ways - scroll it in 2 directions, click it, and double-click it. Plus, you can combine keys such as the Shift key with the mouse wheel to get even more capabilities. AutoCAD makes good use of your mouse wheel. Here are some of the options.

System variables that affect the mouse wheel

3 system variables affect how your mouse wheel works.

ZOOMFACTOR: This system variable sets the amount of magnification change that occurs when you scroll the wheel forward or backward. You can choose from 3 to 100 and the default value is 60. A higher value changes the magnification more.

ZOOMWHEEL: This sets the direction of the scrolling. By default, this is set to 0, which means that when you scroll the wheel forward you zoom in and when you scroll it backward, you zoom out. If you set the value to 1, you reverse the action. Most people change this setting when they have other software that works the opposite of the AutoCAD default and they want the zooming to be the same in all their software.

MBUTTONPAN: By default (set to 1), when you press the mouse wheel and drag, you pan across your drawing. However, when you set this system variable to 0, the wheel acts like a middle button and supports the action that you define in the CUI or CUIX menu file, which could be just about anything.

Mouse wheel actions that you can use

Here are the actions you can perform when MBUTTONPAN is set to the default of 1.

Zoom in or out: Rotate the wheel forward to zoom in, backward to zoom out. (As mentioned above, you can change the direction with the ZOOMWHEEL system variable.)

Zoom to extents: Double-click the wheel button.

Pan: Press and drag with the wheel button.

Pan (joystick): Press Ctrl and the wheel button and drag the mouse. This is used in 3D, although I’m not sure I understand exactly what’s happening. Try it out and see if it’s useful for you.

3D Orbit: Press Shift and the wheel button and drag the mouse.

Free Orbit: Press Ctrl, Shift and the wheel button all at once and drag the mouse. You’ll see the 3D orbit arcball as you do this.

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About the Author

Ellen Finkelstein Ellen Finkelstein is a recognized expert, speaker, trainer, and best-selling author on AutoCAD, PowerPoint and presentation skills. Her articles have appeared in numerous magazines, newsletters, and blogs. She is the author of the AutoCAD 2013 and AutoCAD LT 2013 Bible. More…

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