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The Navigation Bar is the set of tools running down the right-hand side of the screen just below the View Cube. It gathers up the functions needed to rotate, zoom and pan your model into different orientations during the design process. Before we get started I'll let you know I very rarely use this functionality. Well, I use the functionality, but I don't use the menu. The reason for this is there are shortcuts that you can use that make it more efficient. So what I'll do is I'll use the Navigation Bar to show how the functions work and then I'll circle back to show you some of the shortcuts that I use to make you more efficient.
We'll skip over the full Navigation Wheel to start, and we'll come back to that in a bit, and we'll go right to the pan functionality. Panning allows you to left-click and drag to reposition your model anywhere within the graphics window. Hitting Escape on your keyboard will get out of the pan command or any other command you might be using in Inventor. The next item is the zoom functionality. And the zoom functionality is combined into a split button. The top half of the button shows the default command or the most recently used version of that command. And the bottom half flies out the list that shows you the different variations of the command that are available.
We'll start by clicking the top half to launch the standard zoom function. Left-clicking and pushing your mouse forward will cause the model to move away from you, or zoom out. Pulling the mouse towards you will cause the model to zoom in. Now, this seems very normal to me, pushing something away makes it zoom out, pulling it towards you makes it zoom in. If you're coming from AutoCAD or another design system, however, that might seem very foreign to you. In AutoCAD, rather than grabbing the part and moving it away from you to zoom out or grabbing the part and moving it toward you to zoom in, it's actually as if you're controlling the camera that's looking at the part.
In AutoCAD when you push the mouse forward, it's as if the camera is being moved closer to the part and therefore zooms in. In AutoCAD, if you pull the mouse towards you, it's as if you're pulling the camera away from the part, and therefore zooming out. The reason I bring this up, is it can be very frustrating if you're coming from another system. And I don't want anybody to get hung up on something so easy to change. To change this, you can go to the Application menu, in the upper left corner. Click the Options button at the bottom, and make sure you select the Display tab.
In the Display tab, in the 3D Navigation section, there's Zoom Behavior. In there, you can check Reverse Direction to reverse the zoom functionality in Inventor to be more like AutoCAD. If you click apply or okay, you'll accept those changes and that will be how Inventor zooms from that point forward. I'm not going to do that. I like the way Inventor zooms, so I'm going to leave it as is. So, I'm going to hit cancel, but I wanted to call it out, because I didn't want anybody to get hung up in the learning process. If we return to the zoom function and click the drop down, we now see the next one is Zoom All.
Zoom All simply makes all the model components zoom to fit the Graphics window. The Zoom Window function allows me to zoom in on a very specific area within the model. If I left-click and drag, I begin to create a rectangle that, while still holding the mouse button down, I can reposition by simply moving my mouse around the start point where I clocked, to begin the functionality. It's essentially like combining a little bit of pan and zoom into one function, so that I can ensure that I zoom in on the place that I'm most interested in.
We'll go ahead and use the Zoom All function to zoom back out. And, next, we'll look at Zoom Selected. Zoom Selected allows you to pick a specific face and zoom in just on that. You can also do the same in reverse. I could select the specific part and then click the command again to zoom in just on that component alone. The last item is the Look At function. The Look At function allows you to select a specific face on the model and look at that in a planar view. This comes in really handy when you're trying to look in on a angular face in the model.
Like the top of this carburetor. If I select the Look At command, and then the top of the carburetor, I rotate so I'm looking directly down on that in a planar view. Most of the other faces I could get to just by using the View Cube, for example, clicking the right view gives me the look at on this face. But, again, it's the angled components that will be most useful. Now that we've been through all the commands, I want to circle back and show you some of the short cuts that I use, in the hopes that it will make you more efficient navigating your model.
Rather than using the pan button, you can press and hold your middle mouse button on your mouse. And then it will drag to reposition your model anywhere on the screen. To zoom you can use the scroll wheel on your mouse. Scrolling the wheel away from you zooms out. Scrolling the wheel towards you zooms in. The reverse is true if you actually are coming from AutoCAD and have made the change in the options. The final item is Orbit, which you can get to by holding the Shift key on your keyboard and pressing and holding the middle mouse button to generate an orbit.
So with just the middle mouse button, the scroll wheel and the Shift key on your keyboard, you can accomplish all the panning, zooming and rotating that you need in most cases.
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