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I know that I can select an edge loop in edit mode by pressing Alt and clicking on an edge.

But if I try to select multiple edge loops by holding down shift while selecting a second one, it does not work.

Why and what is the proper way to select multiple edge loops?

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After selecting the first edge loop with AltLMB, just go on with ShiftAltLMB.

From the manual:

Holding Alt while selecting an edge selects a loop of edges that are connected in a line end-to-end, passing through the edge under the mouse pointer. Holding Shift-Alt while clicking adds to the current selection.

In versions pre 2.8 use AltRMB to select an entire egde loop.

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  • $\begingroup$ That's weird I had to restart my computer to get it to working. I don't know why. $\endgroup$ – xuwenbuwer Nov 24 '17 at 18:02

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