I often find that I can zoom in to a point, but then cannot zoom any more, even when there is a lot of room to zoom to the meshes on the scene.

This is particularly annoying in the following scenario:

I often land up left clicking on the scene and the 3D cursor shifts there. I use Shift+C to shift the 3D cursor back to the origin. However, this also centers the view on the cursor and shifts the view to show all objects, and sometimes this zooms things way out – at this point, if I try to zoom in, I can zoom in to a point (using the pinch/zoom on trackpad), but then it stops zooming in.

How do I zoom in after that? Is there anything else I am doing wrong in this case?

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ By the way, you can use Shift-S to snap the cursor without moving the view. $\endgroup$
    – wchargin
    Commented Jun 10, 2013 at 1:41

8 Answers 8


Explanation (Brief)

Blender's 3D navigation uses a central point to orbit around.

In practice this is good for modeling an object which you rotate about a lot to see from all sides
(think of a potter using a wheel).
However this makes it awkward to explore a scene or model an object from the 'inside', for example.

There are some ways to use Blender without this being an annoyance. ... read on!

Explanation (Detailed)

Blenders view is constructed by 3 elements.

  • location: the point of interest that orbit when rotating the view-port (the center of the screen).
  • distance: the zoom level (distance from the location).
  • rotation: value for yaw-pitch-roll (around the location).

linked to API reference.

Typically users don't need to worry about this detail, however zooming will only change the distance which is an offset from location (where 0.0 is zoomed in as far as possible == no offset).


Early on using Blender I was quite annoyed by this limitation, of course there are ways to set a new view-center, common way is to select an object and press numpad ., but what if there are no objects where you want to look at? .. or the object is very large? (a terrain mesh for eg). Sometimes I found myself rotating the view 90d, panning, then rotating back - which seemed an unnecessary workaround.

Here are some ways to navigate in large scenes or scenes with no obvious center...

  • View Dolly: CtrlShift + middle-mouse or Shift++/-
    works similar to zoom but translates the view center (like panning forward).
    I think this is the most direct answer to your question, but listing other methods too.

  • Walk/Fly Mode: ShiftF
    As with dolly this can move the view back and fourth (using the mouse wheel), but you can also look around using the mouse and WASD keys, its a mode all on its own and has pros and cons which are better explained elsewhere.

  • Auto Depth Preferences>Navigation:
    useful in combination with Zoom To Mouse Position, Using these will make sure the distance is always the value under the mouse cursor, this means you have to consider where you click when moving the view but can also be very handy since it gives you a lot more control.
    If you work with large scenes - like a game level for example, and want to move around a lot, I'd recommend to try these options. See this video for a demo.

  • Border Zoom: ShiftB: Also sets the center-point when zooming.

  • Center the view around the mouse cursor:AltMiddle-Mouse (click)
    This will take the position under the cursor and make it your viewpoint center.

  • Center the view around the 3D cursor AltHome

  • NDOF (N-Degrees of Freedom), also known as a 3D mouse, hardware you can use to navigate a scene with Blender, See devices made by 3dconnexion. Blender's 3D View supports this, allowing you to explore a scene. Walk/Fly modes also support NDOF devices.
    (Note, this is not a promotion of 3dconnexion, in fact there are very few companies who make such hardware, So currently Blender only supports 3dconnexion)

  • 13
    $\begingroup$ Whoa. View dolly which is different from view zoom blew my mind. I recommend Auto Depth to everyone. It's the first thing I turn on. Should be a default, really. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 19:07
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    $\begingroup$ @Wray Bowling, the reason its not default is many users like not to have to be aware of their mouse placement when using view operations. By default you can click anywhere for view rotate for eg, but with auto-depth you have to take care to place your mouse somewhere that isnt going to change your depth too close/far. $\endgroup$
    – ideasman42
    Commented Jul 1, 2013 at 22:34
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    $\begingroup$ Might be useful to mention Alt+Home to center the view at the 3D cursor. If you enable 'Cursor Depth' in the User Preferences to place the cursor on the surface of objects, I find this is the quickest way to specifically place the center of view $\endgroup$
    – Greg Zaal
    Commented Sep 1, 2013 at 18:18
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    $\begingroup$ If you've got 4+ mouse buttons i recommend mapping one of them to the numpad dot function. I did that a couple years ago and it improved my flow a lot. (I use the fifth one for pan because i find shift+rollerdrag annoying) $\endgroup$
    – Weaver
    Commented Nov 27, 2014 at 2:36
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    $\begingroup$ Alt+Home was the trick! It seems I accidentally messed up my view center. $\endgroup$
    – Jan
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 9:59

In Blender, when you zoom in or out or rotate the viewport, it always does so around a center point. You can find this point by rotating your display using the third mouse button and finding the spot that always remains in the center. Your problem arises, because Blender essentially reaches the minimum focal distance to that center point, and does not allow you to zoom any further.

You can't override this feature of Blender, but you can instead shift this center point to a more useful location. You can do this in a number of different ways:

  • The simplest way is just by panning the screen (Shift + third mouse button)

  • To reset this center to the origin, press Shift+C, then Alt+Home

  • To set this center to an object in your scene, select that object, then press the decimal point on the numpad (numpad .)

By doing any one of these, you are essentially 'shifting' the viewport camera that you look through, instead of just zooming it in or out.

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    $\begingroup$ I would like to add to this. If I'm not mistaken, the reason the zoom stops is because the perspective camera that you're essentially looking reaches the maximum focal length. By resettling the view on an object, such as with "numpad ." you are actually moving the camera closer, whereas before it was strictly zooming in and out. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 5, 2013 at 15:03
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    $\begingroup$ Many of these options don't work on a Mac. There is no third mouse button on my mouse (it has a clickable scrollwheel, but that does not behave as a third mouse button, since it is mapped elsewhere by the system). There is no home button. There is no numpad - I have mapped the numpad and the digits from 1-0 work, but the period (.) doesn't work on a Mac, even after mapping numpad. $\endgroup$
    – Anand
    Commented Jun 5, 2013 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ @Anand You can emulate a three-button mouse on a Mac. Check out blender.stackexchange.com/questions/124/… $\endgroup$
    – Gwen
    Commented Jun 5, 2013 at 15:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Jonathan Williamson, this isn't related to the focal length of the camera, its simply that there is zero distance to the view offset (internal limitation, explained in my answer). $\endgroup$
    – ideasman42
    Commented Jun 5, 2013 at 16:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Anand You can also get a three-button mouse for the Mac. The Mac I'm using as I type this has a gaming mouse attached that works WAY better with Blender than the "Magic" mice. $\endgroup$
    – JakeD
    Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 15:12

There's a limit on how far you can zoom in. If you want to continue zooming in, you'll have to reset your view (as mentioned in a previous answer) or do one of the following:

  • Press ShiftB(when not in a camera) and select an area. Blender will zoom into that point.

  • Press NumPad . this will zoom to the selected object, or objects.

  • Adjust some of the view camera settings in the Properties area (N)

One major fix for this problem is modeling on a larger scale. Modeling small objects will require more zooming. Keeping objects to scale(proportional to the real world) will generally make modeling easier.

  • $\begingroup$ How do I select an 'area'? Do you mean a mesh or such? I have my cube selected, but clicking Shift B does nothing. Pressing (.) when not seeing current object does nothing. Will try playing with the Properties area... $\endgroup$
    – Anand
    Commented Jun 5, 2013 at 15:24
  • $\begingroup$ Shift B will bring up a selector similar to Box Select. Dragging the box will zoom to match the part of the screen you selected. As for (.), you need to select an object then press (.), this will zoom the view camera too the object. $\endgroup$
    – CharlesL
    Commented Jun 5, 2013 at 15:30

Typically when you can't zoom in as far as you'd like, it's because you're in perspective view instead of orthographic view. You can toggle between the two by hitting the "5" key on the numeric keypad. You can tell what view you're in by looking in the upper left corner of the viewport. It'll tell you the view you're in (such as "front ortho" or "front perspective").

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    $\begingroup$ This is by far the easiest and fastest way to solve this :). $\endgroup$ Commented May 15, 2020 at 15:27
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    $\begingroup$ this should be the accepted answer $\endgroup$
    – Tom
    Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 8:43
  • $\begingroup$ this was it, i was zooming into everything and all of a sudden i couldn't anymore and had no idea what i did to cause this. $\endgroup$
    – eballeste
    Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 21:51

For using a laptop, if the Numpad . doesn't do anything, turn off auto perspective mode in user preferences and turn off perspective mode with Numpad 5:

enter image description here enter image description here


Simple solution

  1. Open the User Preferences > Input

  2. Type Center View into the search field.

  3. Assign a key to Center View to Mouse like for example the key left from the 1 on the keyboard (^ ), which is pretty well accessible without having to move the hand off of the standard position.

  4. Click Save User Settings. Done!

Go into the 3D View (of course perspective, as we all like it the most), zoom in until it slows down - position mouse cursor into the direction you want to zoom in (which is normally already the case), press the assigned key.

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    $\begingroup$ For me it has a shortcut by default, Alt+F. $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 7:40
  • $\begingroup$ Sure it does have a shortcut, but it is not really handy, to press Alt+F. But it is your decision. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 17:00

Just to update the answer for 2.9x

The depth option in Preferences -> Interface -> Navigation -> Orbit & Pan enter image description here


Other answers claim that it's just because at some point you reach the maximum focal distance and you can't zoom anymore. But this doesn't happen normally, it just seems that some setting has been messed up. My workaround is to just create a new project and import the objects that I have so far created, and everything start working normally again.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Note that the accepted answer is by a developer of blender and is therefore probably quite accurate. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 4, 2017 at 15:26
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    $\begingroup$ This isn't a very realistic solution for most projects either...a blend file isn't just a bunch of objects. $\endgroup$
    – JakeD
    Commented Mar 21, 2017 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ This is exactly what happened to me, I accidentality pressed some key (or combination there-of) and then could no longer zoom. I think it was some kind of operation involving the camera. $\endgroup$
    – Kingsley
    Commented Apr 11, 2020 at 3:44

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