Use the Gizmos

Gizmos help move, rotate, and scale 3D objects and subobjects.

Display the Gizmos

Gizmos are available only in 3D views that are set to use a 3D visual style such as Hidden. You can set the gizmo to be displayed automatically when you select a 3D object or subobject. Gizmos are also displayed during the 3DMOVE, 3DROTATE, and 3DSCALE commands.

If the visual style is set to 2D Wireframe, entering 3DMOVE, 3DROTATE, or 3DSCALE automatically converts the visual style to 3D Wireframe.

By default, the gizmo is initially placed in the center of the selection set. However, you can relocate it anywhere in 3D space. The center box (or base grip) of the gizmo sets the base point for the modification. This behavior is equivalent to temporarily changing the position of the UCS as you move or rotate the selected objects. The axis handles on the gizmo constrain the movement or rotation to an axis or plane.

For best results, use object snaps to locate the grip center box.

Switch Between the Gizmos

Whenever you select an object in a 3D view, the default gizmo is displayed. You can select a different default on the ribbon, or change the value of the the DEFAULTGIZMO system variable. You can also suppress the display of gizmos when objects are selected.

After the gizmo is active, you can also switch to a different type of gizmo. The switching behavior differs, depending on when you select the objects:

  • Select objects first. If a gizmo operation is in progress, you can press the Spacebar repeatedly to cycle through the other gizmo types. When you switch gizmos this way, the gizmo activity is constrained to the originally selected axis or plane.

    During a gizmo operation, you can also select a different gizmo type on the shortcut menu.

  • Run the command first. When you start the 3D Move, 3D Rotate, or 3D Scale operation before selecting objects, the gizmo is placed at the center of the selection set. Use the Relocate Gizmo option on the shortcut menu to relocate the gizmo anywhere in 3D space. You can also choose a different type of gizmo on the shortcut menu.

Change the Gizmo Settings

The following settings affect the display of gizmos:

  • Default gizmo. The DEFAULTGIZMO system variable specifies which gizmo is displayed by default when an object is selected in a view with a 3D visual style. You can turn off display of the gizmo. This setting is also available on the ribbon.
  • Default location. The GTLOCATION system variable sets the default location of the gizmo. The gizmo can be displayed at the center of the selection set (default), or it can be positioned at the 0,0,0 coordinates of the current UCS.
  • Automatic display. The GTAUTO system variable sets whether gizmos are displayed automatically whenever you select objects in a 3D view that is set to a 3D visual style (default). If you turn off this system variable, the grips are not displayed until the gizmos are active.
  • Conversion of move, rotate, and scale operations from 2D to 3D. Turn on the GTDEFAULT system variable to start the 3DMOVE, 3DROTATE, or 3DSCALE command automatically when the MOVE, ROTATE, or SCALE command is started in a 3D view. This system variable is turned off by default.
  • Active status of subobject grips. If you select a subobject, the GRIPSUBOBJMODE system variable sets whether the subobject grips are active immediately. Setting subobject grips to be active upon selection helps you modify groups of mesh subobjects without selecting them again.
Procedures
To specify which 3D gizmo is displayed by default when an object is selected
  • Click Home tab Subobject panel Move Gizmo, Rotate Gizmo, or Scale Gizmo.
To suppress the display of the 3D gizmo when an object is selected
  • Click Home tab Subobject panel No Gizmo.
To set the default location for gizmos
  1. At the Command prompt, enter gtlocation.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Enter 1 to set the location at the geometric center of the selection set.
    • Enter 0 to set the location to overlap the UCS icon.
  3. Press Enter.
To relocate a gizmo
  1. Right-click the center box (base grip) of the gizmo. Click Relocate Gizmo.
  2. Click in the drawing area to specify a new location.
To change the type of gizmo while moving, rotating, or scaling objects
  1. Select the 3D objects that you want to move, rotate, or scale.
    • To modify the entire object, select the object.
    • To modify a subobject (face, edge, or vertex), press Ctrl+click the subobject. (You can limit the selection set by specifying a subobject selection filter on the shortcut menu.)
  2. Hover the cursor over an axis handle on the gizmo until it turns yellow and the axis vector displays. Then click the axis handle.
  3. Press the Spacebar to cycle through the gizmo types until the correct gizmo is displayed.

    When you change gizmos this way, the movement remains constrained to the selected axis.

NoteYou cannot use the Spacebar to change the type of gizmo when the 3DMOVE, 3DROTATE, or 3DSCALE command is active.
Commands
3DMOVE

In a 3D view, displays the 3D Move gizmo to aid in moving 3D objects a specified distance in a specified direction.

3DROTATE

In a 3D view, displays the 3D Rotate gizmo to aid in revolving 3D objects around a base point.

3DSCALE

In a 3D view, displays the 3D Scale gizmo to aid in resizing 3D objects.

System Variables
DEFAULTGIZMO

Sets the 3D Move, 3D Rotate, or 3D Scale gizmo as the default during subobject selection.

GRIPSUBOBJMODE

Controls whether grips are automatically selected (made “hot”) when subobjects are selected.

GTAUTO

Controls whether 3D gizmos are automatically displayed when you select objects before you start a command in a viewport with a 3D visual style.

GTDEFAULT

Controls whether the 3D Move, 3D Rotate, or 3D Scale operation starts automatically when you start the MOVE, ROTATE, or SCALE command in a viewport with a 3D visual style.

GTLOCATION

Controls the initial location of the 3D Move, 3D Rotate, or 3D Scale gizmo when you select objects before you start a command in a viewport with a 3D visual style.