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Selection determines which elements will be the target of our actions. Blender has advanced selection methods. Both in Object mode and in Edit mode.

Selections and the Active Object

Blender distinguishes between two different states of selection:

Unselected object in black, selected object in orange, and active object in yellow
  • In Object mode the last (de)selected item is called the “Active Object” and is outlined in yellow (the others are orange). There is exactly one active object at any time (even when nothing is selected).
Many actions in Blender use the active object as a reference (for example linking operations). If you already have a selection and need to make a different object the active one, simply re-select it with ⇧ ShiftRMB Template-RMB.png.
  • All other selected objects are just selected. You can select any number of objects.

Point Selection

The simplest form of object selection consists of using RMB Template-RMB.png on it.

To add to the selection, use ⇧ ShiftRMB Template-RMB.png on more objects.

If the objects are overlapping in the view, you can use AltRMB Template-RMB.png to cycle through possible choices.

If you want to add to a selection this way then the shortcut becomes ⇧ ShiftAltRMB Template-RMB.png.

To activate an object that is already selected, click ⇧ ShiftRMB Template-RMB.png on it.

To deselect an active object, click ⇧ ShiftRMB Template-RMB.png one time - and hence two clicks if the object isn’t active. Note that this only works if there are no other objects under the mouse. Otherwise it just adds those to the selection. There appears to be no workaround for this bug.

Rectangular or Border Select

Mode: Object mode and Edit mode

Hotkey: B

Menu: SelectBorder Select


With Border Select you draw a rectangle while holding down LMB Template-LMB.png. Any object that lies even partially within this rectangle becomes selected.

For deselecting objects, use MMB Template-MMB.png or Border Select again with holding ⇧ Shift.

To cancel the selection use RMB Template-RMB.png.


Border selecting in three steps

Border Select has been activated in the first image and is indicated by showing a dotted cross-hair cursor. In the second image, the selection region is being chosen by drawing a rectangle with the LMB Template-LMB.png. The rectangle is only covering two cubes. Finally, in the third image, the selection is completed by releasing LMB Template-LMB.png.

Notice in the third image, the bright color of left-most selected cube. This means it is the “active object”, the last selected object prior to using the Border Select tool.


Border Select adds to the previous selection, so in order to select only the contents of the rectangle, deselect all with A first.

Lasso Select

Mode: Object mode and Edit mode

Hotkey: CtrlLMB Template-LMB.png

Menu: no entry in the menu


Lasso select is used by drawing a dotted line around the pivot point of the objects, in Object mode.


While holding Ctrl down, you simply have to draw around the pivot point of each object you want to select with LMB Template-LMB.png.

Lasso select adds to the previous selection. For deselection, use Ctrl⇧ ShiftLMB Template-LMB.png.

Lasso selection example

Circle Select

Mode: Object mode and Edit mode

Hotkey: C

Menu: SelectCircle Select


Main selection menu

Circle Select is used by moving with dotted circle through objects with LMB Template-LMB.png. You can select any object by touching of circle area. It is possible to dynamically change the diameter of circle by scrolling MMB Template-MMB.png as seen in pictures below. Deselection is under the same principle - MMB Template-MMB.png. To cancel the selection use RMB Template-RMB.png or key Esc,

Circle selection
...with huge circle

Menu Selection

The selection methods described above are the most common. There are also many more options accessible through the Select menu of the 3D view.

Each is more adapted to certain operations.

Select Grouped

Mode: Object mode

Hotkey: ⇧ ShiftG

Menu: SelectGrouped


Select Grouped menu

There are two ways to organize the objects in relation to one another. The first one is parenting, and the second is simple grouping. We can use these relationships to our advantage by selecting members of respective families or groups.


Select → Grouped in Object mode uses the active object as a basis to select all others.

Available options are:

Selects all children of the active object recursively.
Immediate Children
Selects all direct children of the active object.
Selects the parent of this object if it has one.
Select objects that have the same parent as the active object. This can also be used to select all root level objects (objects with no parents).
Select objects that are the same type as the active one.
Objects that have at least one shared layer.
Objects that are part of a group (rendered green with the default theme) will be selected if they are in one of the groups that the active object is in.
Object Hooks
Every hook that belongs to the active object.
Select objects assigned to the same render pass. Render passes are set in PropertiesObjectRelations and can be used in the Node Compositor (AddConvertorID Mask.)
Select objects with same Object Color. Object colors are set in PropertiesObjectDisplayObject Color.)
Select objects with same Game Engine Properties.
Keying Set
Select objects included in active Keying Set.
Lamp Type
Select matching lamp types.
Pass Index
Select matching object pass index.

Select linked

Mode: Object mode

Hotkey: ⇧ ShiftL

Menu: SelectLinked


Linked selection menu

Selects all objects which share a common datablock with the active object.


Select → Linked in Object mode uses the active object as a basis to select all others.

Available options are:

Object Data
Selects every object that is linked to the same Object Data, i.e. the datablock that specifies the type (mesh, curve, etc.) and the build (constitutive elements like vertices, control vertices, and where they are in space) of the object.
Selects every object that is linked to the same material datablock.
Selects every object that is linked to the same texture datablock.
Selects all objects that use the same Group for duplication.
Particle System
Selects all objects that use the same Particle System
Selects all objects that are in the same Library
Library (Object Data)

Select All by Type

Mode: Object mode

Hotkey: None

Menu: SelectSelect All by Type


By Type selection menu

The types are Mesh, Curve, Surface, Meta, Font, Armature, Lattice, Empty, Camera, Lamp, Speaker.

With this tool it becomes possible to select every visible object of a certain type in one go.


Select All by Type in Object mode offers an option for every type of object that can be described by the ObData datablock.

Just take your pick.

Select All by Layer

Mode: Object mode

Hotkey: None

Menu: SelectSelect All by Layer


All by Layer selection menu

Layers are another means to regroup your objects to suit your purpose.

This option allows the selection of every single object that belongs to a given layer, visible or not, in one single command.


In the Tool ShelfSelect by Layer the following options are available:

The match type for selection.
Enable to add objects to current selection rather than replacing the current selection.
The layer on which the objects are.
Blender3D FreeTip.png
Selection of Objects
Rather than using the Select All by Layer option, it might be more efficient to make the needed layers visible and use A on them. This method also allows objects to be deselected.

Other Menu Options

Available options on the first level of the menu are:

Select Pattern...
Selects all objects whose name matches a given pattern. Supported wildcards: * matches everything, ? matches any single character, [abc] matches characters in "abc", and [!abc] match any character not in "abc". The matching can be chosen to be case sensitive or not.
As an example *house* matches any name that contains "house", while floor* matches any name starting with "floor".
Select Camera
Select the active camera.
Mirror (⇧ ShiftCtrlM)
Select the Mirror objects of the selected object eg. L.sword -> R.sword.
Randomly selects unselected objects based on percentage probability on currently active layers. On selecting the command a numerical selection box becomes available in the Tool Shelf.
It’s important to note that the percentage represents the likelihood of an unselected object being selected and not the percentage amount of objects that will be selected.
Inverse (CtrlI)
Selects all objects that were not selected while deselecting all those which were.
(De)select All (A)
If anything was selected it is first deselected. Otherwise it toggles between selecting and deselecting every visible object.