Blender's Right Click vs Left Click: Which is Better?

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Blender Right Click is dead, long live the Left Click?

Now that Blender 2.80 has arrived, the default selection mode for Blender has changed from right click to *drumroll*...left click. (Though there are more new features: read about the top 5 game changers that Blender 2.8 brings).

Having been a savvy right clicker for more than 15 years, I’ll admit that this decision brought a little sadness to my heart. Now, being a right-clicker feels like I’m in on a secret that only a few people know about.

Why has the Default Setting Changed?

It’s simple: to make things easier for new users.

When you are new to software, any hurdle that can be lowered to make the learning easier makes sense. 

You can now select things by default, which is the intuitive way for a new user and solves one of the biggest newbie hurdles.

However, there is an invisible downside to this ‘industry standard’ way of doing things.  

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The (Not so) Secret History of Blender Right-Click Select

Back in the 90’s, the unconventional decision was made to separate ‘selection’ from ‘action’ in Blender.  Why? Speed and precision.

Switching the selection to right-click makes for much faster workflow. It reduces the amount of time the user spends trying to select the correct thing and avoids accidentally selecting an object when they are trying to complete an action instead.

In fact, urban legend has it that by spreading the number of clicks over left and right can aid in repetitive strain injury recovery and also keeps your mouse alive a little longer. Anecdotal evidence seems to support it...though the jury is still out.

Is "Industry Standard" the Holy Grail of Software?

But there's the thing: just because something is ‘industry standard’, it doesn’t mean it's better. Did you know that you can launch the ‘industry standard’ software and have enough time to make a cup of tea before it actually opens?

Having a variety is crucial. If everyone is thinking the same thing, then some people aren’t thinking - and that ain’t good.

When I started learning Blender there wasn’t a way to switch left-click and right-click; I was essentially forced to learn the right-click method. After so many years, I’m glad I did.

It wasn’t until later that I also started animating using the ‘industry standard’ software and that is when I saw how detrimental not separating selection from action was.

I spent most of my time trying to select the correct control or temporarily changing the tool just so I can select what I wanted. To me, the ‘industry standard’ way of doing things turned into wasted time and it prevented me from getting into a flow state.

Bottom line: once you have experienced the speed and precision of right-click select, any other way seems too cumbersome.

 Read: Top 10 Blender Modeling addons (Starting at $0)

I’m a Right Clicker - What Should I do now?

The default in Blender has changed, but that doesn’t mean you have to.

Formula 1 drivers do not drive in a ‘conventional’ way. They use 1 foot on the accelerator and 1 foot on the brake for 2 reasons. Speed and precision. (Hey, that sounds familiar). Can you imagine if they were forced to use 1 foot because that is the conventional way of doing it?

With the new default, a slower workflow is almost unavoidable. But unless you're ready to separate selection from action, it might seem like that is the right (!) way of working. 

Read: 3 Things Every Blender Beginner Should Model

To Right-Click or not to Right-Click?

Maybe a few left-clickers are interested in extra speed and precision by switching over to the other side. 

So should you change? My advice: even if you're left-clicking like a boss, give the classic right-click method a try.

How long does it take to get used to "clicking the other way"?

That depends on your brain.  It could be a few hours or a few days.  But I would suggest committing to any key change for at least a week before you decide if it's for you.

A few days of inconvenience could be well worth it in the long run.

What about you: are you a rightie or a leftie?

P.S. Looking for a Blender project to cover the essential workflows every artist needs to know? Why not model, texture and share your very own treasure chest! Our most-watched recent tutorial series. 

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  • Sergey Vasilev (enzzomatrix)

    Right forever

  • spikeyxxx

    Started out left, but 'discovered' rcs about a year ago I'm a slow learner and it took me less than three days to get used to it, but I wouldn't call them days of inconvenience, more like days where you have to be aware that you'll have to right click to select. And yes, it was worth it!

  • anarchymedes

    Keep them all (left and right), and let God sort them out. How's that? For both Blender and politics. ;-)
    P.S. Why am I thinking Tinder: swipe left vs. swipe right ?

  • Omar Domenech (dostovel)

    I changed to left click first day I tried Blender many years ago, now Wayne has left me wondering if that was a mistake. But now in Blender 2.8 there is a useful right click menu, how do I access it if I change to right click select?

  • Shawn Blanch (blanchsb)

    dostovel I am sticking with left click for now. To answer your question if you switch to Right Click Select then the 'w' key becomes the helpful context menu. ILike left click better as a beginner. Maybe one day when I have gotten much more comfortable I was try the transition but for now I'm a leftie. (Or should I switch the mouse to the left hand and then the left click select would be the mirror effect?!?, lol).

  • smurfmier1985

    When I started with Blender I tried right click for a week, hated it. Left click for life!!

  • Matthew Fricker (frikkr)

    I'm a lefty , through and through

  • Matt Dickun (az93)

    Right-click works fine for me. In the end, it doesn't matter, I believe you could get used to either way of working.

  • Greg McKim (doulos4iesou)

    At least we have an option right?

  • Stephen Clark (stclark)

    As a sculptor in Blender, right-click select is invaluable. There is no method of selecting different meshes in sculpt mode with left-click select. You have to exit the mode. This slows you down exponentially. I tried going to left-click select a few days ago with the mentality of "I guess I need to be more industry standard," and it was just awful. Sorry, left-click brethren, you are on a much more difficult path.

  • Ann-Marie Ratcliffe (elkestra)

    I'm not sure I understand your reasoning.

    You say that "Switching the selection to right-click makes for much faster workflow." yet that doesn't make much sense. Even in the OS, left-click selects something, right-click pulls up the context/smart menu, and even if you use the 'right-click selection', you still have to 'left-click' in menus.

    As far as 'speed of workflow' is concerned, be it training up new 3D designers, or just using the software in general, having things standardised makes more sense because of muscle-memory. It seems like you're trying to find excuses to suggest that the new way is still 'the wrong way' :(

  • Adam Janz (copperplate)

    Definitely right click for me. But that's because I'm used to it. I tried left click and it was hard to get used to it. That said, one can develop new habits with a little effort. I was forced to utilize the "Emulate 3 button mouse" setting in Blender because my Microsoft mouse requires excessive effort to push the middle mouse button. I know use Alt-LeftMouse to tumble, and Shift-Alt-LeftMouse to pan and it feels like second nature. :-)

  • Adam Janz (copperplate)

    copperplate *now use... (know Ed it feet cher onn cahm ents)

  • Shawn Blanch (blanchsb)

    copperplate One useful not-broadcast-ed feature of the "emulate 3 button mouse" is that it works really well with basic writing tablets.
    Really helps when you are drawing and want to pan around or zoom. Now holding an alt key/ctrl key/shift key let you do that when you tap/drag with the pen.
    Thank you blender for understanding our pain across multiple device input challenges!

  • Jevon & Julie (hamiltoncaster)

    It was right click when I started in blender over a decade ago - Kept it in blender 2.8, no reason to change now.

  • Kurt Kellner (kurt_ek)

    blanchsb oh I didn't know that going right-click activated W as the context menu. Is there a way to change this shortcut? I'm looking into Blender keymap, but can't find the option anywhere :/ at least not in editing mode...

  • Kurt Kellner (kurt_ek)

    nvm, found it. It's under Mesh -> Call Menu if anyone's looking into it. BTW, the reason I wanted to change it is that I don't use a QWERTY keyboard and the W is quite far (I use Dvorak).

  • Francesco Pizzo (francesco_a)

    There is no reason for left click selection only a mater of habit, if you use more software and not only blender is a pain. In 2.43 (when I started) you need left button to confirm action, no confirm on release (introduced in 2.5) and this was a painful workflow (a carpal syndrome ticket). Oh, with left mouse selection if you want to select another object without exiting sculpt mode press alt +lmb over the other object.

  • rsvlado

    Unfortunately they forced me to start using left mouse button to select, because right mouse button in 2.8 isn't functioning as it did in 2.79. For an example, now I can by accident move something that I've selected because there isn't a possibility of releasing with that same right mouse button. In 2.79 the moved part remains in a new location only after it's confirmed with either enter or left mouse button. I'd like it to be the same as 2.79 which I'm used to.

  • Simon Hart (simonwildcat)

    I've been trying to get used to left click since 2.8 came out. Just switched back to right, it improves my flow.

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