Essential 3DS Max Keyboard Shortcuts

Learning keyboard and mouse shortcuts will greatly speed up your work in 3DS Max. Although 3DS Max has gazillions of shortcuts, this article only lists the most common/ important ones. You’ll find yourself using most of these shortcuts without even thinking about it.


The most important 3DS Max shortcuts are preceded by an exclamation mark {!} .

1/4 Absolutely Essentials Hotkeys

! M – Material Editor {Material Editor Icon}

! Alt+W – maximize, minimize current viewport   (works like the {Maximize Viewport} button}

! Z – zoom in on selection    (works like the “Zoom Extents” {Zoom Extents} button}

2/4 Mouse+Keyboard combinations

These are probably the most useful shortcuts. You’ll find yourself using them more often than anything else

! ALT+Middle Button - Orbit {3DS Max Orbit}

! CTRL+Middle Button -Pan {3DS Max Pan}

Shift+Middle Button – Pan on Restricted Axis – this will restrict the pan axis to either x or y.

! Scroll Wheel - Zoom In/ Out – Add the ALT key to this to zoom in in smaller increments {3DS Max Zoom Tool}

! ! Ctrl+Left click on sub-object icons will transfer your current selection to the sub-object you clicked.

For example, if you’ve selected 20 edges and ctrl+click on the polygon icon, it will convert the edge selection to a polygon selection.

3/4 Viewport

! P – switch to the Perspective view

! Q – Select {Select Tool}

! W – Move {Select and Move}

! E – Rotate {Select and Rotate}

! R – Scale {Select and Scale}

F - switch to front view

L – switch to left view

T – switch to the Top view

B – Switch to the Bottom view

C – switch to a Camera view

F – switch to the Front viewport

! 7 – Polygon Count

8 – Environment & Effects Window

F2 – Shade selected faces

! F3 – switch between smooth and wireframe

! F4 – edged faces

Ctrl+C – Create camera from view

ALT-Q – Isolate Object

X – Toggle Transform Gizmo

G – Hide or show Grid

Alt+B – Viewport Background

Space – Selection Lock / Unlock

4/4 Workflow

! Sub-Object Selection Keys – These are active when you’re working on an Editable Poly/ Mesh object. If your using primitives, the keys will switch to the Modify Tab {3DS Max Modify Tab}.

1 - Vertex

2 – Edge

3 – Border

4 – Polygon

5 - Element

! Ctrl+Backspace – remove selected edge and associated vertices


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