Special Keys

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Special Keys

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Keyboard shortcuts make it easy to perform special operations that affect the selected objects, available commands, your choice of the active tool in the Toolbox, or the view of your document.

In addition to the shortcuts listed here, you can use several caption-editing keys when you're editing a caption, and you can use the command shortcuts listed next to many commands in the menus.



Delete or Backspace

Clears selected object(s) (same as Edit | Clear).

, , , or

When objects are selected, drags the selected object(s) one pixel in the indicated direction. (Press and hold keys to drag longer distances.)

Shift+ or Shift+

Changes the active tool to the next higher or lower tool in the Toolbox.

Shift+  or Shift+

When the active tool is a Selection Arrow tool, a Straightedge tool, or a Polygon tool, changes the active tool to the next or previous Selection Arrow, Straightedge, or Polygon tool in the Toolbox.

+ or –

When one or more loci or function plots are selected, increases (+) or decreases (–) the number of samples in those objects by a fixed percentage.

+ or –

When one or more iterated images are selected, increases (+) or decreases (–) the number of iterations by one.

+ or –

When one or more parameters are selected, increases (+) or decreases (–) those parameters’ values. (Press and hold keys to continue adjusting values; use Parameter Properties to choose the keyboard adjustment amount for each parameter.)


While editing a parameter's value in an edit frame, advances to the next editable parameter value.

With no object selected, selects a visible object.

With one or more  objects selected, selects a visible object similar to the most recently selected object.


With one or more objects selected, adds a similar object to the selection.


With a single selected action button, activates the button. Press Enter a second time to stop the action.

Alt (Windows) or Option (Macintosh)

Temporarily invokes drag-scrolling. Press and drag in your document to scroll it in an arbitrary direction. Release the Alt key (Windows) or Option key (Macintosh) to resume the active tool.

Depending on your computer, you may be able to scroll the window by dragging two fingers on the touchpad or on the screen itself.


Menu command variations:

Changes File | Save As to Save As HTML.

Changes Edit | Undo to Undo All.

Changes Edit | Redo to Redo All.

Changes Edit | Preferences to Advanced Preferences.

Changes Transform | Iterate to Iterate to Depth.

Changes Graph | Show/Hide Grid to Show/Hide Coordinate System.

Changes Edit | Split/Merge to Merge Text To Point.

Changes Display | Label Objects to Reset Next Labels (provided no objects are selected).

Shows the Script View at the same time as you choose a custom tool.

Changes Choose Tool Folder to Forget Tool Folder in the Custom Tools menu.


Constrains Straightedge tools.

Constrains the Translate Arrow tool when dragging a control point of a straight object.

Maintains a picture’s aspect ratio while resizing with the Arrow tool.

Turns the Marker tool into an eraser to erase ink from the current drawing.

In empty space,  the Translate Arrow tool begins a selection rectangle to add objects to those already selected.


When changing object or text appearance, preserves default settings for point style, line style, color, font, text style, and size.


Aligns the selected text objects or action buttons below the first selected text object. If the objects are already aligned, increases the vertical spacing between objects.

Shift+double-click table

Removes most recently added row from the table.

Shift+Information tool click

Keeps existing information balloons visible.


Types π as part of a numeric value in a dialog box.


Randomizes iterated points on paths for the selected iteration.