For the longest time, Blender has had an option in the Preferences to use left click select:
This has been a useful option for people who use devices where right-clicking is a hassle, and for users coming from other software which uses left click for selection.
However, this option never worked perfectly. There were situations that never worked, such as the ability to select faces while in Vertex Paint mode. Using Alt-LMB for view manipulation also didn’t work with this option. With Blender 2.8, the situation for the left click select option is much worse, because there’s a conflict between the use of active tools and selection.
If we just naively flip the mouse buttons, so that selection happens with LMB and using tools happens with RMB, users are then still required to to use RMB extensively for common tasks, negating the entire point of the LMB select option altogether. The old way the option worked, doesn’t work in 2.8.
So, at the last UI meeting, we discussed several options:
- Remove Left Click Select
- Keep as-is, even though it doesn’t really work
- Change the behaviour, to do both selection and tool use with LMB
We recognise that lots of users use LMB select, so we really do want to keep it. We will try and go with the third option.
Here’s how we might go about handling left click select in Blender 2.8:
- LMB does selection, when the active Select tool is enabled
- If you keep using the Select tool, you can just keep selecting things with LMB and use keyboard shortcuts to perform actions, like normal.
- If you want to use other active tools, you just switch to those in the toolbar. They are also executed with LMB.
- To set the 3D Cursor, users can use the 3D Cursor tool, or use an alternative constant mapping, such as Ctrl-RMB (Ctrl-LMB could also be used here, but on some systems this is already used as an alternative to RMB)
- Lasso Select then needs a new key. Shift+Ctrl+LMB or RMB?
- We can try and make sure Alt-LMB works for view manipulation when using ‘Emulate 3 Button Mouse’.
- MMB will of course still do view manipulation also
- RMB will open a contextual menu, same as the W-menu.
- W is now free, and we can use W to quickly switch to the select tool.
As you can see, the LMB select option becomes a bigger change. It has to be, to both support selection and tool use with LMB. When using left click select, Blender then becomes nicely internally consistent. Just like you use LMB to select nodes, and right click for contextual menus on buttons and other places, you use those same mouse buttons in the 3D View.
- To implement this, we could use some sort of keymap override, so we don’t have to maintain two entirely separate keymaps.
- It might be a good idea to have the select tool be the default tool here, rather than 3D Cursor. Otherwise, users won't immediately be able to select items until they switch to the select tool.
Note: the default for left/right select is outside the scope of this proposal.