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I know I can constrain a translate/rotate/scale operation along an axis by holding MMB MMB and also holding X Y Z

But when I do that, the selected element jumps around erratically (along and outside the selected axis) when I drag the mouse.

Here is a gif of the problem

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  • $\begingroup$ If you know what axis you want to move it on, don't use MMB. Just hit g x (for example, to move in X axis.) $\endgroup$
    – Nathan
    Commented Jan 1, 2021 at 1:41

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MMB is a shortcut to pushing X,Y,Z, don't hold any X,Y,Z key at the same time, just use MMB until the constraint is active, then let go of MMB. This should keep the movement constrained to the axis your mouse move along.

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