Transform Orientations


Mode:Object and Edit Modes
Panel:Properties region ‣ Transform Orientations

Transform Orientations affect the behavior of Transformations: Location, Rotation, and Scale. You will see an effect on the Object Manipulator (the widget in the center of the selection), as well as on transformation constraints, Axis Locking.

For example, when you press X, during the execution of the operation, it will constrain the transformation to the Global X axis. But if you press X a second time it will constrain to your Transform Orientation’s X axis.


Transform Orientations selector.

The Orientations options can be set through the Transform Orientation selector in a 3D View header, with Alt-Spacebar, or in the Transform Orientations panel in the Properties region.

In addition to the five preset options, you can define your own custom orientation (see Custom Orientations below).



The manipulator matches the Global (or World) axis.

The Mini Axis in the lower left corner of the viewport, and the Grid Floor, shows the axes of world coordinate system.


The manipulator matches the Object axis.

When an object is rotated, the direction of the Local manipulator matches to the object’s rotation relative to the global axes. While the Global manipulator always correspond to world coordinates.


The Z axis of the manipulator will match the Normal of the selected element. If multiple elements are selected, it will orient towards the average of those normals.

In Object Mode, this is equivalent to Local orientation.

Uses a Gimbal behavior that can be changed depending on the current Rotation Mode.

The manipulator will match the 3D View (viewport):

  • Y: Up/Down
  • X: Left/Right
  • Z: Towards/Away from the screen


Cube with the rotation manipulator active in multiple transform orientations.

Default cube with Global transform orientation selected.


Rotated cube with Global orientation, manipulator has not changed.


Local orientation, manipulator matches to the object’s rotation.


Normal orientation, in Edit Mode.


Gimbal transform orientation.


View transform orientation.

Custom Orientations


Mode:Object and Edit Modes
Panel:Properties region ‣ Transform Orientations

You can define custom transform orientations, using object or mesh elements. Custom transform orientations defined from objects use the Local orientation of the object whereas those defined from selected mesh elements (vertices, edges, faces) use the Normal orientation of the selection.


Transform Orientations panel.

The Transform Orientations panel, found in the Properties region, can be used to manage transform orientations: selecting the active orientation, adding («+» icon), deleting («X» icon) and rename custom orientations.

The default name for these orientations comes from whatever you have selected. If an edge, it will be titled, «Edge», if an object, it will take that object’s name, etc.

Create Orientation

To create a custom orientation, select the object or mesh element(s) and press Ctrl-Alt-Spacebar, or click the «+» button on the Transform Orientations panel in the Properties region.


Create Orientation operator panel.

Just after creating the orientation, the Create Orientation Operator panel gives a few options:

Text field for naming the new orientation.
Use View
The new orientation will be aligned to the view space.
Use after creation
If checked it leaves the newly created orientation active.
Overwrite previous
If the new orientation is given an existing name, a suffix will be added to it to avoid overwriting the old one, unless Overwrite previous is checked, in which case it will be overwritten.

Align to Transform Orientation


Mode:Object and Edit Modes
Menu:Object ‣ Transform ‣ Align to Transform Orientation

Aligns (rotates) the selected objects so that their local orientation matches the active transform orientation in the Transform orientation panel or the Orientation selection in the Transform Operator panels.