If you use a 3Dconnexion mouse with Navisworks, and you have installed the latest drivers (which I highly recommend), you may struggle to find out how to map a Spacebar to a button on your Spacemouse. Obviously, in Navis it is important to be able to hold down the Space key for selection purposes. If you try to record a macro for Spacebar in the 3Dconnexion management menu, you will find that it has both a ‘press’ and ‘release’ action.

You need to use the Keyboard list to map a key press correctly. However, Spacebar does not appear in the default menu… Happily, you can directly modify your profile XML to map the KB_Space action to a button on your 3d mouse. The images below show where to find this file, and how to edit it:

This method will fix the ‘press and release’ nature of macros, meaning you can “hold” the 3d mouse button for a Spacebar or Shift+Spacebar multiselection in Navisworks.

EDIT Good discussion about using a 3D mouse with Navisworks on LinkedIn

P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm; }A:link { }It is my pleasure to announce the winners of the 3Dconnexion SpaceMouse Pro Wireless competition that I launched a month back. After hundreds of entries, the following two names were selected at random, and they will each receive a SpaceMouse Pro Wireless prize pack, thanks to 3Dconnexion:

Barrie Sharp

Justin Harwell
Here are their competition entries… (it is quite interesting to hear both sides of the 3D mouse debate):
P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm; }A:link { }
Why I like my 3D Mouse
Barrie Sharp, from Tully De’Ath (Engineering Consultancy) in the UK
(Twitter @barriesharp, Blog http://revitbuzz.blogspot.co.uk), who said:
“I work with dual screens in Revit and tile a 3D view with 2D views. My 3D mouse allows me to intuitively manipulate my design to craft my model. I also use a pen tablet and don’t have use of a mouse wheel. My 3D mouse seamlessly puts those controls back into my other hand but with enhanced functionality. Pan and zoom feels as natural as driving my car. Just love it!”
Why I Haven’t Purchased a 3D Mouse (yet)
Justin Harwell, from the US, (website http://www.whitesign.com/) who said:
“I currently do not have a spacemouse for only one reason, I simply do not have the funds, yet. The company is a rapidly growing company with new hires coming in every week, and national contracts that keep the coming constantly growing. Since the company started using cad software we have re-engineered the way outdoor marketing is built, products which use to not be profitable to make but were apart of a package are now a very profitable item. Problems are now seen before built, and the various features of layout and design in CAD reduce large labor hours in construction.  With a SpaceMouse I would be able to cut time designing  and as the company grows it would be very easy with a SpaceMouse to prove why we would be needing to purchase another for the additional CAD  users, after the team finds the value in the design. In the long term view it would end up benefiting both my company and yours.”
Barrie adds:
“I am very excited to have won and will be able to give my old space explorer to my brother.  I am trying to convince my whole office it’s the way to go.  I perhaps forgot to add, I love being able to pan and zoom in Revit whilst the error dialog is up!”
Finally, I would like to thank you all for supporting What Revit Wants and for entering this competition. I’m sure your valuable feedback will assist 3Dconnexion in making these products even more useful for the AEC community.

I have been a vocal supporter of 3D mice for some time now. I believe they make the experience of working with 3D models much more tactile and engaging. Personally, I use a SpacePilot Pro all day (the wired version), and it is brilliant for smoothly coordinating models in Navisworks. Newer versions of Revit (with improved display performance) have also made the 3D mouse proposition much more Revit-friendly.

I suggested the folks at 3Dconnexion run a competition through What Revit Wants, but I didn’t want to run a plain ‘ole “Why I want a 3D mouse”  thing. Instead, I think its important for the designers and providers of these devices to understand why there is some resistance coming from the AEC community. Is it cost? Organizational restrictions? Have you tried them in the past and found them hard to use? I’m not giving you any more ideas – its a competition!

And if you are using one, why do you love it? Honest responses will be more highly valued.

Up for grabs are two SpaceMouse Pro Wireless devices – a cutting edge model, released just a few weeks ago. Here are the links to the competition entry pages:

Note: this competition closes on 31 July 2014
All the best with your entries!

You may also want to check out my review on using a SpacePilot Pro with Revit.