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I would like to align the view straight on to a face, perpendicular to the normal. How do I align the 3D viewport to the face of a mesh?

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    $\begingroup$ That's exactly what shift + numberPad 7 does as the answer below explains. If it's not working or not what you want, then please explain how what you want differs. $\endgroup$ – Ray Mairlot Aug 16 '14 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ Posting .gif of what I'm getting $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Aug 16 '14 at 15:11
  • $\begingroup$ i.stack.imgur.com/SmC7v.gif. At the end of the gif I try to position the camera similar to how I want it. $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Aug 16 '14 at 15:13
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    $\begingroup$ that is object mode $\endgroup$ – David Aug 16 '14 at 15:13
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    $\begingroup$ @David faceplam. Can't believe I missed that. $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Aug 16 '14 at 15:15
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In edit mode with a face selected press ShiftNumPad 7 That will align the view to the active face.
If you want to align the view to a different axis relative to the face, ShiftNumPad 1 and ShiftNumPad 3 can be used. Ctrl can be added to any of the key combinations to invert the view.
For example, CtrlShiftNumPad 7 will look at the "back" of a face.

For those of you without a numpad the same can be accessed through the menu.
From the 3D view header View > Align View > Align View to Active. Then pick the orientation you want (Top is used the most). view menu

Do note that there can be faces that are not flat. In such cases the view will be aligned to the face, but any manipulation will warp the face.

This answer is valid for blender version 2.50 and up (including 2.8). For the 2.4 series the shortcut was ShiftV, but I doubt you wanted to know that.

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    $\begingroup$ Is there an option to do this through menus or if one doesn't have a numpad? $\endgroup$ – MicroMachine Aug 23 at 17:49
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    $\begingroup$ From looking at the keymap in v2.80, these are special cases of View Axis (which can you trigger via F3 to search, then type View Axis). Can't find how to add axis modifiers that way though. I settled for installing a NumPad application on my phone and placing it next to my laptop. Works nicely when you are at a table. E.g. apps.apple.com/gb/app/remote-keypad-numpad-keyboard/… $\endgroup$ – RobM Sep 9 at 20:26
  • $\begingroup$ @MicroMachine (finally) edited to add in the menu. $\endgroup$ – David Sep 10 at 13:58
  • $\begingroup$ @RobM you can access the same view commands through the view menu (see edited answer). $\endgroup$ – David Sep 10 at 14:00
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Yes, ⇧ ShiftNumpad 7 will do this.

enter image description here

You may end up with a strange rotation around the view's local Z, in which case ⎈ Ctrl⇧ ShiftMW MW can be used to roll the view to a more preferred orientation.

Also note that ⇧ ShiftNumpad 1 and ⇧ ShiftNumpad 3 can be used to align the view parallel to the normal. ⎈ Ctrl can be added in to align to the opposite side.

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