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Blender Navigation Solutions on a Mac: Add Three-Button Mouse, Scroll-Wheel, and Numpad Emulation

Apparently, in Blender, (a free 3D modeling/animating/gaming software that I’m beginning to learn), there are a lot of navigation functions that are crucial for using the software. For an example, you need a three-button mouse, preferably with a scroll wheel, and you really should have a number pad. What’s a number pad? A number pad consists of those number keys to the side of your keyboard – not the 1 through 0 number keys at the top of your keyboard.

Well, I have a problem. My computer is a notebook (AKA “laptop”), and it’s a Mac. My Mac does not come with a mouse, and it certainly does not come with a number pad. So, can I still use Blender? What should I do? Today, I’ll show you how I solved these problems, and how you can solve them too.

Before I do that, I want to mention a few things. First, in my quest to solve my navigation problems, I discovered that we so happened to have an Apple “Magic Mouse” lying around the house. Thinking my problems were solved, I gleefully set it up to work with my notebook — only to discover that a “Magic Mouse” not have a middle button. The first thing I’ll show you today is how to give a “Magic Mouse” that middle button.

Second, I read online forums that said I could mimic a number pad by clicking the function key (fn) plus certain letter keys (such as J, K, L, U, I, etc.), but for whatever reason, this wasn’t working on my computer. For those of you who are experiencing the same problem, I’ll show you the answer I found through intensive Googling… so now, if you have found this article, you don’t need to search any further!

The solution, to both problems, is actually quite simple: You just need to download two programs that will allow you to add a middle button and emulate the number pad.

Steps for adding a middle button

1. Download MagicPrefs at http://magicprefs.com/.

2. Open MagicPrefs Preferences.

3. Select “One Finger Middle Axis Click.” (Note that there are a lot of other changes you can make with MagicPrefs… I didn’t take the time to play around with it, but it looks like it has a lot of potential.)

Steps for emulating a number pad

1. Download KeyRemap4MacBook PrefPane at http://pqrs.org/macosx/keyremap4macbook/.

2. Open KeyRemap4MacBook preferences.

3. Select “Change Num Key”. If you’re having a hard time finding the “Change Num Key” option, try entering “num” in the search box. You may have to scroll down once or twice, but it should show up.

Well, that’s it! Pretty simple, isn’t it? I hope this helps someone like it helped me!

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