123D Design Tutorial – Navigating, Shortcut keys and Views #3DPrinting #3DThursday

123D Design - Navigation Tools


When your first starting out learning 123D, it may seem a bit difficult to navigate around objects and space. If your 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 all together 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.

123D Design shortcut hotkeys

Shortcut Keys

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

123D Design - Views


You have the option to view your work in 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 thats on the top right, just below the navigation cube.  You can reset your view to ‘home’ by clicking on the house looking icon.

123D Design - Navigation Cube

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 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.

123D Design - More Info

If you’re looking for more information, support, tutorials or even looking to share feedback (Autodesk is listening!) hover over that question mark icon in the top right of the app window to get a list of everything you need.

I hope these simple tips help you on your 123D Design projects. Sometimes it’s the simple things that makes using software easy. If there’s a feature you’d like us to talk about, let us know in the comments below! Thanks for reading, and until next time – learn, make, share, repeat.

Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!

Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!

The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!

Fore more tutorials on Autodesk 123D Design, check out our 123DTut tag for all of our posts! Have something you like us to talk about? Let us know in the comments below!

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in! adafruit.com/mastodon

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !


  1. Do they still lack any actual co-ordinate system? Last time I played with it, it was shockingly hard (nigh impossible) to create a 4x4x1″ open bottomed box with a centered 2.8″ hole on the top face with any degree of accuracy at all.

    At least if they let me click on a point and specify a relative delta to move the cursor with the keyboard…. That ability was missing, I assume it still is?

  2. I forgot to mention, 123d’s shortcomings not withstanding, this does a great job of covering some of the basic navigation features. Print worthy even.

  3. Hi C,
    You don’t need a coordinate system for such an operation. At least for your particular issue. Check the image on this link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/mzthu3doa6beqf0/box%20with%20hole.jpg
    I just dropped a 2.8″ circle on top of the box’s face, and it works perfectly well, since we track center of face.
    I agree that for some more complex operations you can benefit from a coordinate system, although the traditional way to expose it in CAD tools may not be a good fit for our audience. You’ll see something done about it quite soon.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.