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This question already has an answer here:

I was working quickly, (making mistakes), and suddenly rotation and scale transforms stopped working. I think I hit some shortcut or button by accident. Translate still works though. I checked that the transforms weren't locked and such, to no avail. What could be the cause?

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marked as duplicate by X-27 the fluffy unicorn, VRM, Ray Mairlot, cegaton, GiantCowFilms Dec 10 '15 at 18:12

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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The cause is the manipulate object centers only button (Alt,):

enter image description here

When it is selected, scale and rotate no longer function normally.

Instead, of or rotating the mesh with the object origin, only the origin moves:

enter image description here

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