Click on desired Heading in Table of Contents to jump to Entry directly (once page is fully loaded) (and - "Hello to Shortcuts" <— use backspace key to return :)

Neal Hirsig's videos cover most Interface aspects by short videos for each single issue. Text excerpts of each video enable you to come back to this page ( evtl. by search) and refresh your memory quickly.
For your learning you might appreciate longer tutorials which cover more issues for a start, to get primary view - and come back to these single function clips later:
Check out ( and eventually rate ) this ranking of alternative tuts for "Blender 2.5x Interface" on the learning network. If you suggest new links for this page, please tag them BLS_Interface.
You can also contribute without sign-up via surveys: see last heading on each page.

Default Scene

The video embedded underneath gives a complete introduction to your first rencontre with the Blender Interface (as visible after "Open Blender, click besides startscreen version-info-panel".)

Supported by a simple visual decoding of the Blender start screen/default scene to demystify and memorize the elements of the Default Scene Interface.

The images should help to alleviate Newbie-bewilderment, that might appear because some windows in their default size display only a header, some have the header on the bottom.

First the most interesting 3D View(port), the window area where you see your model in 3D, surrounded by various toolbars/panels.
Then the five windows that make up the default Interface.

flickr:5052851303 flickr:5053472266
flickr:5052932101 flickr:5052932107
flickr:5053589370 flickr:5052969271

Neal Hirsig's video (fromlearning unit 1) gives you a great explanation of the default scene.

For a longer, written tutorial see e.g. KatsBits's.

Play around with the Windows to get a feeling for Blender Interface logic, which turns out to be great once you overcome that it is different from what you have seen before: Full freedom to design it your way.
The next unit will explain how.

Window Modification (Join, Split, Adjust, Change Displayed, Separate)

Freedom can be challenging :)

  • Excerpt along video:

First thing to know about the great freedom of Blender Interface is, that each window can display every possible window type, and be adjusted in size.

While you will use Interface adjustments more fluently later, it is good to know some basics from the start, because it can happen by accident that you split or joined a window or changed what it displays, hence it is good to know how simple this is:

  • Adjust Size

If you just want to adjust size, scroll over the border of your window until the little double-arrow icon for size adjustments appears, click and drag. It works until you would swallow another window: For more changes, you can start to play around with joining and splitting windows:

  • Split and Join
  • There is a rigged edge in the corner of each window, sometimes with a little plus symbol (+) in a tiny white circle, which indicates that you can open a collapsed part of the window here.
  • Scroll over the rigged edge, and your cursor will change into a cross when you hover over the small action area.
  • To split, click and drag into the window
  • To join, click and drag out of the window, into the one you want to swallow.
  • Joining works only when the area you drag into has the same height or width as the window you want to enlarge by swallowing another.

  • Displayed Content

You can choose from the drop-down menu icons, left on each window header (little grey dark "icon-buttons" with up and down arrows) what the window displays.

  • Make One Editor Window Full Screen

Very useful for modelling.
Click into the window
hold down Ctrl key + up arrow key
to go back, press Ctrl + down arrow key.

  • Separated Windows

For those who use multiple monitors or prefer to work with separated Windows:
You can extract/separate any window, by pressing SHIFT + click into the rigged edge and drag into the window you want to extract. A double of it will appear in a new, separate window.

3D Viewport Editor Window

  • Excerpt along video

Neal Hirsig's video (from learning unit 1) introduces you to your primary main working window and how to handle it. This video mentions:

  • The Editor Panels: Left toolbar is visible, open right one, the Properties Panel, by clicking the small white +icon;
  • Move them into window sides to hide them: by hovering over Toolbar/Properties Panel border to 3DView, until arrow for moving the panel outside the 3DView appears.

Or use Shortcuts:
T (Toolbar, for left), and N ("Numeric Properties" for right)

Joining and splitting windows is repeated in this video to introduce "Quadview" :

Toggle Quadview

( blendercookie tut extending the gryllus course)

  • Blender offers a prepacked "Quadview": Displays 4 views (Top, Front, Side and Perspective between Editor Panels, repeat Shortcut "CTRL+ALT+Q" ( Mac CTRL + Option + Q ) to toggle or switch between regular and this handy 4-view display, which users of other 3D software are familiar with.

See the tutorial on blendercookie (by Jonathan Williamson) to learn about the details of this view.

Outliner Editor Window

  • Excerpt along video

As a Beginner, it is helpful to know how the Outliner Editor Window works, as it makes clear why naming every object you add to a scene is so important;

The Outliner Editor Window allows to work with the many objects in your scene through a hierarchical list, that allows to expand sub-components and can be filtered easily;
No need to be afraid, when you create your models more and more complex, you keep overview naturally ( - if you name them :), which is hard to imagine at the start;

But switch to "Blender Control" or "Opening and Saving Files", if you feel overwhelmed and come back later.

The embedded video (from learning unit 2) explains the Outliner Editor Window in detail, the excerpt lists along the video.

  • The Outliner Editor Window is extremely helpful to locate, display and control the elements of your model (especially when more complex)
  • By default, it lists all objects of your scene (! Naming)
  • You can select Objects by left click in the Outliner
  • Press plus (+) icon to reveal all elements that comprise an object - press again to collapse
  • You can select "sub"-elements of single objects - and directly edit them in the related editor windows. (example Material, Texture, click +icon to display which modifiers behind wrench symbol, edit them directly.)

Symbols Eye, Arrow and Camera:

  • Eye hides object in viewport - click again to make visible
  • Arrow prevents object from being selected (helpful in complex scenes) - click again to make selectable

Camera prevents object from being rendered - click again to make renderable.

  • You can filter what is displayed (very helpful for compelx scenes) by choosing "Filter" from dropdown which by default shows "All Scenes".

Blender Controls

  • Excerpt along video

Blender Controls video explains the different control types you will use;

Blender uses three different Control Types. (neal hirsig mentions that it is helpful if you feel overwhelmed, just to look at the different control types with regard to getting more familiar with the Interface in general first, and review it.)

  • BUTTONS (explained via Toolbox of 3D Viewport Editor, mentioning to memorize shortcuts to increase modeling speed, Tool Tips and Shortcuts listed on hovering over Buttons.)
  • CHECK BOXES generally enables of disables an object
  • SLIDERS (generally for entering floating value - click arrows, click and drag to slide, or enter exact value)
  • MENU (mostly dropdown)

Opening, Saving and Autosaving Files

  • The written excerpt walks along the video, some details are added.

  • Native file in Blender: blend file; Extension: .blend
  • Open new file: Menu ( Information Window-header): File -> choose "New" from dropdown; (Shortcut: CTRL+N)
  • Open existing: File -> "Open" from menu or CTRL+O: opens File Browser over other windows; (Press ESC to switch back)
  • File Browser Video mentions display and filter options,
  • Hover over buttons for Tooltips;
  • Open File in File Browser: Locate your file and open: Here you left click to select, and press "Open Blender File" then.
  • You can only open one Blender file at a time.


  • Save: Menu ( Information header) File - Save; shortcut: CTRL+S to save.
  • Save as (SHIFT+CTRL+S) - File Browser opens: Create New Folder for each project to store files, renders, textures etc. per project.

Navigate to your save-location, click "New Folder" icon (starry besides arrows), enter name (overwrite untitled) (no file extension needed): Click "Save as Blender File" TWICE: once to set the name, second to save the file. You return to scene when saving worked.

  • File name displayed on top of your scene (only indication to know what file you are working on)
  • Re-save while working: Menu (Information header) File -> Save - and it is automatically re-saved

BUT, if you use shortcut: CTRL+S you have to left-click confirm the re-save (path name) : to save over the open file - here, Blender tells you :) - and/but will only save if you confirm.

  • Blender saves two files by default, the new original file, and a autosave copy (.blend1). This autosave file contains the version before you resaved. By default Blender autosaves two files. You can set the number of autosaves via Menu: File ->User Preferences click -> File Tab right bottom of this tab you can set the preferences for Autosave.
  • If you change User Preferences , save adjustments in a newly opened empty Blender file, beacuse it will save the complete recent file as new default file.
  • Neal Hirsig recommends to set Autosave to ten and save this as new default. Video explains autosave function: Blender renames autosaves automatically so that lowest number is most recent.
  • To open it you have to change extension to .blend (remove number - and change name to distinct from last main file with same name).

Set Back Changed User Preferences To Factory Settings

Main menu -> File -> Load Factory Settings

Appending and Linking Blender Files

  • Excerpt along the video

Anything created in a Blender file can be imported into another Blender file.
You can access the content from a diferent file from your current file, by either appending or linking.

  • Append:

In file File Menu (Information header) choose -> Append or link -> opens File Browser.
Select file -> displays list of folders that contain elements, exaple select: Object
Select (or SHIFT-select multiple) from list;
Click "append" to open them into your file (video points out, that "Link" is not marked in checkbox:
That means: You have imported a copy, that you change independent from the original file.
Opening brings you back to the Editor Windows.

  • Link:
  • While the procedure to import is the same, you can note that the checkbox "Link" is marked ont he left lower side of your file browser.
  • A link symbol is displayed in the Outliner Window.
  • You cannot edit the linked object.
  • Appending Materials
  • When appending materials, be aware that all materials that are not applied to an object get lost when the filde is saved.
  • Blender deletes any items that are not "used" in the file
  • To keep materials that you have appended but don't yet use, create a "Fake User" (best to see video for this:

Change 3D window to anothe Outliner (via dropdown-icon left bottom) - filter from "All Scenes", to "Datablocks"; (shows all Datablocks in this File, Open "Material" (+icon) - shows all Materials in this file: Open single Material (+icon)and checkmark "Fake User" to save it with file though not in use.

Blender for Laptops

  • Excerpt along video

Many of the Shortcuts in Blender are based on "NumPad" - the Number Pad - which most Laptops dont have.
It is possible to emulate the NumPad and use the keys 1-0 on top of your Laptop keyboard instead.
To do so, open the Default Scene (a new empty project) - and save the changes in the User Preferences menu as New Default Scene.

Click "File" Dropdown menu (Information header) choose -> "User Preferences" - a pop-up window appears, choose "Input" Tab, and there (on lower left side) checkmark "Emulate NumPad"
Save as new Default Scene.

Personal remark: I use a Laptop, but I invested 7 Euros into an extra Keyboard, that even fits into my Laptopbag - and I would highly reccomend to do so, as the NumPad Shortcuts are the mostly used and -compared to others :) - are handy to use just that way.

Suggest Improvements via survey or learning network

You can help to aggregate and rank complementing and alternative resources for each wiki page/topic.
Your contributions will be the foundation for a fluent improvement of this learning resource.

The survey embedded underneath enables you to contribute to this collaborative filtering without joining a new tool/network; after sending your contribution you can see what others suggested.

Please add the link first, and then a short description. Be aware that your description needs to be helpful for other learners to decide if this video is the one they want to see.

(Network members , please check the surveys for new contributions to add to the link-list.)

You are always welcome to join the learning network and add or "like-vote" (for) your favorite new option here. You can find the right page-tags on the surveys and on the introduction paragraph for each page.

If you join the network, please cast your vote for your favorite alternative/complementing tutorial per tag/heading - and if you find a better one, please "unlike" your earlier vote and "like" the new one.

This helps us to improve this resource most fluently.