Reference: Keyboard commands

This article originally appeared on the Kultivate blog on June 9, 2016. I’ve updated it here to reflect information I’ve learned since then. I’ll be reprinting most of my work from Kultivate, as well as adding new info.

Many of the tools the User Interface (UI) provides, such as the camera controls, have corresponding keyboard commands serving the same function. Sometimes these keyboard commands are more precise or easier to use.

This is a list of keyboard commands I think are useful for SL photography.

Handy keyboard commands for photographers

  • Ctrl+Shift+S – Snapshot
  • Ctrl+` – Snapshot to disk
  • M – mouselook
  • Alt+LMB (Left Mouse Button) – Sets your focus point.
  • Alt+up or down arrow – Digital zoom. Does not change the view angle.
  • Middle mouse wheel– Digital zoom.
  • Esc – Resets view position.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Up, Down, Left or Right arrow – Rotates camera around focus point.
  • Ctrl+Shift+Up, Down, Left or Right arrow – Pans camera up, down, left or right.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Shift+= – Hides particles (Don’t forget to turn them back on.).
  • Ctrl+Alt+Shift+4 – Hides all avatars. Your avatar, too.
  • Ctrl+Alt+F1 – Hides your UI. (Can be handy for viewing the scene without window clutter.)

There are lots of other keyboard commands, but these are the ones I find handy for photography. If you have some you like to use, please add them in the comments.

Don’t use Ctrl+8 and Ctrl+0.

I recommend not using Ctrl+0 or Ctrl+8 for photography.


Because these controls change only your view angle. That’s different from zooming in. In essence, you’re changing the lens to zoom in and out, except it’s a faulty lens since it only changes the view angle parameter and not the other settings needed for an accurate lens.

I’ll talk more about this, later. I hope as I present more material it will make more sense why these controls are a bad idea for photography. Use your mouse wheel or Alt+ the Up or Down arrows, instead.

These commands are listed, here, though, for your reference:

  • Ctrl+0 – Optical zoom in. Decreases the view angle.
  • Ctrl+8 – Optical zoom out. Increases view angle. (The Phototools view angle slider provides precise control than Ctrl+0 or Ctrl+8.)
  • Ctrl+9 – Resets Optical zoom, view angle, to default (1.047).

Again, I don’t recommend using these.

Edit: November 6, 2018. Optical and digital zoom incorrectly reversed in this article. Optical changes your  view angle.

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