Using blender without a numpad

Hi there!

I’ve always been a great fan of full 104 keyboards with numpads, mainly because of blender.
However lately I am realizing (probably because I am getting older :smiley: ) that while my keyboard sits right in front of me, my right hand sits at an unnatural angle while holding the mouse.

For this reason I am considering alternatives.

The obvious one would be to just take a keyboard without the numpad.
The main functions of the numpad that I use are:

  • views
  • isolate selected
  • focus on selected
  • increase/decrease selection in edit mode

For the first three there are alternatives which are

  • views: pie menu with the ` key
  • isolate selected: / button next to the right shift
  • focus on selected: pie menu with the ` key

What I couldn’t figure out how to use (without messing with the controls) is how to increase/decrease selection in edit mode.

Anyone knows if there’s a way of doing that without a numpad?

Another alternative is 96% keyboard (that crams the numpad to the left, saving about 30% of a regular keyboard space). There’s even a southpaw version, which places the numpad on the left side of the keyboard, which I find would be actually much better since it would require to take the hand off the mouse to use numpad shortcuts!

Anyone ever used anything like this? The downside of the southpaw version is that there are no arrow keys… or at least, not normal one, they are weirdly placed function keys.

Another alternative would also be to take a numpad less keyboard and buy an external numpad to place it on the left. Any advice here?

What are your thoughts/solutions for keyboards?

I personally would pick the external numpad and place it on the left side. I believe Saitek had one like this. Both numpads would be available to you, so you would have more flexible keys. I think it should be much cheaper too.

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I use k380 and tablet.
If you rotate view, and left alt and hold alt again it will snap to closest left/right/front/back etc. view.
Isolate and focus on selected can be mapped to different key
Increasing and decreasing selection, i use bottom button on pen and mapped as mouse scroll via wacom preferences.

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thanks for your answers. If anyone knows if there’s a default alternative shortcuts to increase/decrease selection, I’d love to know it :slight_smile:

@riceart how is the feeling with the k380? Lately I was thinking about getting an mxkeys, but when I tried to type on it I was a bit disappointed. Currently I have a really cheap dell keyboard, but I think I like the feeling of typing on this much more than I did on the super expensive mxKeys

Hi.

Have you tried the 3D Viewport Pie Menus and 3D navigation add-ons (in blender but not activated by default).

Both can help you change views without a numpad.

The Select Panel add-on features buttons to do that.

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i bought 2 of them.

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I use blender with a 60% keyboard without an F1 key row, numpad or tilde (~) key and found that it’s sufficient just to rebind some shortcuts and add tools I use frequently to quick favourites.

For viewport navigation I bound focus and isolate to . and / on the keyboard, and for side cameras I just alt+drag on the viewport. There are buttons in the viewport to focus the current camera and switch perspective/ortho. I don’t like using pie menus for some weird reason (I just prefer regular menus), so I didn’t care that these shortcuts override the view pie, though I do sometimes use the alt+z pie to change shading mode, but most of the time I just press.

Increase/Decrease select are bound to ctrl+left/right, which I think I rebound myself. I don’t remember if there was another shortcut on them before, but if there was, I obviously didn’t really use it :slight_smile:

I know it’s unlikely that there is a perfect keyboard layout for everyone, I do kind of wish that the current shortcuts were optimised a bit for smaller keyboards, since laptops also often lack the numpad, and there are many keyboard layouts that don’t have a ~ key that can be accessed without also holding a modifier either. However, the layout has at least improved since the 2.7x days, and the ability to add to quick favourites or bind shortcuts directly from search and right click menus is a massive improvement.

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