PIAS Manual  2024
Program for the Integral Approach of Shipdesign
Navigation: Pan, Zoom and Rotate

Panning, zooming and rotating is collectively known under the term navigation. Fairway provides several interfaces for navigation, all of which are designed to not interfere with actions for selection and manipulation. That is, no operation must be interrupted or cancelled for navigation. When used in isolation, the following always applies:

  • The left mouse button <LMB> is used for selection and manipulation.
  • The middle mouse button <MMB> is used for navigation.
  • The right mouse button <RMB> brings up the context menu.

If you don't have a mouse with a middle button you can use the Navigation mode. If the middle mouse button does not work then try to troubleshoot it.

Pan Zoom Rotate
<MMB> <Ctrl + MMB> Wheel <Shift + MMB>
<F4><LMB><F4> <F4><Ctrl + LMB><F4> <F4><Shift + LMB><F4>
3Dconnexion navigation device
Navigation Controls.

The table above lists ways to control general pan, zoom and rotate functionalities. Various special navigation instructions are given below, such as zoom all, reorient on curve, spin, fly through and others.

Current orientation

The current view direction is always displayed in the title bar of the view as two angles: one is the view direction relative to the center plane and the other relative to the base plane. If the view direction happens to be perpendicular to one of the main planes, then this is also indicated in words.

The orientation of the model relative to the viewer is indicated by the set of orientation axes displayed in the lower right corner of the view window. The positive length, breadth and height directions are each represented by an indicidually coloured arrow. The orientation axes can be switched on and off and colours can be customized in [File]→[Preferences...]→[General]→[Orientation axes].

For changing the orientation please consult Rotating.


Panning brings different parts of the model into view. Panning is possible in these ways:

  • Press <MMB> and drag.
  • Click and release the <MMB> to pan the clicked location to the middle of the modelling area.


Zooming happens in the direction underneith the mouse cursor. Zooming is possible in these ways:

  • Press and hold <Ctrl> and <MMB>, then drag up or down.
  • Press and hold <MMB> first, followed by <RMB>, then drag up or down.
  • Wheel up or down.
  • Zoom in on a curve with just a click on the curve (<Ctrl + MMB> or <MMB + RMB>), without dragging.
  • Zoom all with a click in the background (<Ctrl + MMB> or <MMB + RMB>), without dragging. If you rotate after having done this, the zoom level is adjusted on the fly to make the model fill the view, until you pan or zoom explicitly.


Rotating the camera around the model is possible in these ways:

  • Press and hold <Shift> and <MMB>, then drag.
  • Press and hold <MMB> first, followed by <LMB>, then drag.
  • View a planar polycurve in-plane with just a click on the polycurve (<Shift + MMB> or <MMB + LMB>). Click the same polycurve once more to rotate 180 degrees. This is sometimes called to reorient on a curve.

The center of rotation is set to the center of the visible part of the bounding box of the model. When dragging the mouse from left to right the camera rotates around a vertical axis. When dragging away or towards you the camera tilts around its horizontal axis, whilst keeping the center of rotation in view.


If, while rotating, the <MMB> is released in the middle of a dragging motion, then the camera will continue to orbit around the rotation center, until the <MMB> is pressed again.

Perspective views

The view projection can be toggled between orthographic and perspective using the context menu, or with <Ctrl + Shift + P>. In perspective views, panning rotates the camera around its own center, synonimous with the concept of panning in photography. But zooming is replaced with dollying, meaning that the camera position moves forward or backward. By combining pan and dolly it is thereby possible to “walk” or “fly” through the model in perspective projection. And because dollying happens in the direction under the mouse pointer (as is zooming) it is possible to translate the camera sideways without changing its orientation by dollying in and out in different directions.

3Dconnexion navigation device

Fairway has built-in support for the 6-degree of freedom navigation devices from 3Dconnexion, making it possible to pan, zoom and rotate simultaneously in one smooth motion. The SpaceNavigator devices have two buttons. The left button resets the view to view all of the model, the right button brings up the device configuration panel.

If you have trouble using the navigation device then try to troubleshoot it.

Navigation mode

In navigation mode, the left mouse button acts as the middle mouse button, so that it can be used for navigation. Toggle the navigation mode on and off in either of the following ways:

  • Press <F4>
  • Select the menu [Display]→[Navigation Mode]
  • Click the “hand” icon in the Navigation tool bar. By default, that tool bar is hidden, but it can be shown from the General tab in the Preferences dialog, [File]→[Preferences...]→[General]→[Tool Bars].

Read on to learn about Manipulation.