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Zooming, Panning, and Selection

While working on a design in the Edit Window, you can focus on different parts of your design with the Zoom and Pan functions. You can also use the Selection tool to select portions of your design to modify. The video below covers useful selection tips to help you work with your designs more effectively.


Scrolling the mouse wheel will zoom in or out from the location of the mouse, allowing you to quickly zoom in on whatever your mouse is pointing at. Zooming can also be done on most touchpads with a two-finger swipe up or down.

The + and - keys on the keyboard also zoom in and out.


To pan the view, sliding the window around, press and hold the middle mouse button and move the mouse. If you don't have a middle mouse button, you can hold the Space bar on your keyboard down instead - you'll see the mouse cursor change to a hand PanCursor, and then you can grab and drag the view with the left mouse button.


These tools can also be accessed from the Main Toolbar.


The first button, the four arrows, is the Pan control. Click that to enter Pan mode, to drag the view. You'll see the mouse cursor change to a hand, like this: PanCursor When the hand cursor is visible, you can drag the view around by pressing the left mouse button and moving the mouse. The Space bar acts as a shortcut for the Pan control.

The second button is Zoom to Page - clicking this will reset the view in the workspace to frame the entire work area, which is the view that LightBurn starts with.

The next two buttons are Zoom In and Zoom Out. Clicking them will zoom in or out of the center of the view.

The fourth button is Frame Selection - Clicking this will zoom the view to focus on whatever is currently selected. If nothing is selected, it will zoom to fit all of the objects in your project.


Objects in LightBurn must be selected before they can be modified. The primary way to select objects is to click on them while the Selection tool is active. Please see the video at the top of this page for more tips on selecting objects, or read below for a summary.


A few things happen when a shape is selected:

  1. The selected shape is drawn with an animated pattern instead of solid lines.
  2. The edit handles for resizing, positioning, skewing, or rotating the selection appear.
  3. The size and position of your selection is shown in the Numeric Edits toolbar.
  4. Other controls in LightBurn may activate, if relevant to the selection.

To clear the current selection, left click an empty space in the view or press the Esc key.

You can select a collection of shapes by pressing and holding the left mouse button and dragging a rectangle around the things to select, from left to right, like this:


The red rectangle will disappear when you release the mouse button, and all the shapes fully enclosed within it will be selected. This is called an enclosing selection - only things fully contained in the red enclosing rectangle will be selected.

You can drag from right to left instead, and this will create a green rectangle, which will select anything that it crosses:


In this case, all three items will be selected even though they are not fully contained by the selection rectangle.

Experiment with these two selection methods - understanding how they work, and when to use them, makes working on larger projects much faster.

Selection Modifiers

To supplement click-select and rectangle selection, LightBurn supports these modifier keys:

  • Shift : Holding Shift while selecting will add the new selection to the current one.
  • (Ctrl / Cmd) + Shift: Holding both Ctrl and Shift will remove the new selection from the current one.
  • Ctrl / Cmd: Holding Ctrl by itself will toggle the selection state of the new selection.

Additional Selection Tools

There are also a few items in the Edit menu for special types of selection:

  • Select All: selects everything in the project
  • Invert Selection: Anything selected becomes unselected, and anything unselected is now selected
  • Select open shapes: Selects anything in the design that is an open shape (IE, is not a closed path that forms a continuous loop)
  • Select open shapes set to Fill: Similar to Select open shapes, but only selects open shapes that are set to 'Fill' - This is useful, because LightBurn is unable to fill shapes that aren't closed, so this can help you find them.
  • Select all shapes in current layer: If you choose a layer setting and click this option, it will select everything assigned to that layer. You can also do this by holding the Shift key and clicking the layer in the Cuts/Layers window.
  • Select contained shapes: this is one you won't use often, but it's incredibly powerful when you need it. Select a single shape in LightBurn, then click 'Select Contained Shapes' to add everything that is 'inside' the item currently selected. For example, if you wanted to select everything inside one of the two blue outlines below, click-select or drag-select would be difficult and time consuming, but 'Select contained shapes' does it in just two clicks:



Normally, selecting an object in LightBurn will give a nice even "crawling ants" animation. If you find that you're getting odd flashing or patterns, the most likely problem is overlapping geometry. This is often the result of importing the same file twice, or other design software exporting paths improperly.

To solve this problem quickly, try deleting duplicate shapes using Edit → Delete Duplicates or Alt + D.

You can also try ungrouping (Ctrl/Cmd + U) and deleting individual shapes if you want more manual control.

Next Step: Basic Usage - The Essentials