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When selecting components, is there a way to control the "selection distance/area"? I don't want to select a component, even if I click ~20 pixels away from it.

selection distance

Thanks in advance!

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There is currently no setting for this. You can see in the Interface tab of the user preferences menu that there's a 'hotspot' distance for the handles of manipulators and similar settings for Pie menus. This is probably where you'd expect to find such a setting and it isn't exposed there.

Interface

Maybe more substantially, in this mirror of the Blender source code on line 446 a comment mentions that the below function uses a hardcoded value (line 392) of 5px for unselected vertices. This isn't necessarily the only way to select vertices in Blender but it seems to be the default.

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