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Monday 12 April 2021

My FreeCAD preferences

I've used FreeCAD, on and off, for a while. Usually for specific tasks that it is better suited to. Recently I have started to use it more frequently, so it is worth my time setting it up how I like it.

This page is a reminder of how I prefer to configure FreeCAD. It is a work in progress and I will update this page from time to time.


There are many ways to move the view of the objects on the screen and everyone has their own preference. I find using a middle mouse button uncomfortable and sometimes use a trackball. With a trackball, I find mouse button combinations are not always easy to operate while also trying to move the ball. Therefore, I prefer Pan, Zoom and Rotate to be somewhat independent of the mouse buttons or only use the left mouse button.

Luckily, FreeCAD has a pre-configured setup, called 'Touchpad' that does exactly what I want. 

In Touchpad mode, the Pan function, is to hold the SHIFT key while moving the mouse.

The Zoom function has multiple choices, including, PAGE UP and PAGE DOWN as well as a CTRL + SHIFT combination. I find the mouse wheel quicker. 

The primary Rotate option, in the Touchpad mode, is to hold the ALT key while moving the mouse, however, when using a mouse, I prefer the alternate method of, SHIFT + LEFT MOUSE BUTTON combination. By just covering the shift key, all the operations can be carried out easily.

It's easy to swap between modes, using the dropdown on the Status bar.


Using the Addon Manager, I add the following as part of my standard setup. Details of each can be found under External Workbenches in the FreeCAD documentation.

  • Fasteners Workbench - create ISO standard bolts and washers. When creating threads, enable the thread property to True, for the geometry to be cut in to the model.


FreeCAD version 0.19

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