40+ Maya Shortcuts to Boost Your Creative Efficiency

by Render Pool

September 30, 2023

Maya is a powerful 3D software application used by artists and animators all over the world. It serves as a versatile tool, enabling users to create anything from simple objects to complex characters and scenes. However, mastering Maya can be quite challenging, particularly when learning to use its many keyboard shortcuts.

It’s extremely important to have a comprehensive understanding of Maya’s shortcuts, covering everything from basic navigation to advanced modeling and animation techniques. Furthermore, understanding how to customize shortcuts to your specific workflow is essential. Keep reading to learn more about essential Maya shortcuts, how to customize shortcuts, and tips on getting started.

40+ Essential Maya Shortcuts

Basic Navigation Shortcuts

The following shortcuts are essential for basic navigation in Maya.

  • W: Select the Move tool
  • E: Select the Rotate tool
  • R: Select the Scale tool
  • Q: Select the Dolly tool
  • A: Select the Pan tool
  • S: Select the Zoom tool
  • Spacebar: Toggle between perspective and orthographic views
  • Alt + Middle Mouse Button: Drag to rotate the view
  • Alt + Scroll Wheel: Zoom in and out
  • Alt + Middle Mouse Button + Right Mouse Button: Drag to pan the view

Selection Shortcuts

The following shortcuts are useful for selecting objects and components in Maya.

  • Ctrl + A: Select all objects
  • Ctrl + Shift + A: Deselect all objects
  • F8: Toggle between object and component selection mode
  • F9: Select vertices
  • F10: Select edges
  • F11: Select faces
  • F12: Select UVs
  • Ctrl + I: Select the next intermediate object
  • Shift + I: Select the previous intermediate object
  • Alt + F9: Select the vertex face
  • Ctrl + Shift + F9: Shrink the polygon selection region
  • Ctrl + Alt + F9: Expand the polygon selection region

Modeling Shortcuts

The following shortcuts are useful for modeling objects in Maya.

  • X: Create a new extrusion
  • C: Cut the selected object
  • V: Paste the cut object
  • D: Duplicate the selected object
  • F5: Delete the selected object
  • Ctrl + Z: Undo the last action
  • Shift + Ctrl + Z: Redo the last undone action
  • Ctrl + D: Create a new edge loop
  • Ctrl + R: Create a new edge ring
  • Ctrl + T: Create a new polygon
  • Ctrl + E: Extrude the selected faces
  • Ctrl + Shift + E: Inset the selected faces

Animation Shortcuts

The following shortcuts are useful for animating objects in Maya.

  • I: Insert keyframes
  • O: Out keyframes
  • S: Set keyframes
  • A: Animate the selected attributes
  • Shift + A: Animate the selected attributes in absolute mode
  • D: Delete keyframes
  • Ctrl + I: Move the selected keyframes
  • Ctrl + D: Duplicate the selected keyframes
  • Ctrl + C: Copy the selected keyframes
  • Ctrl + V: Paste the copied keyframes

Customizing Shortcuts

Maya allows you to customize shortcuts to fit your unique workflow. To do this, go to Windows > Settings/Preferences > Hotkeys. This will open the Hotkey Editor window, where you can view and edit all of the keyboard shortcuts in Maya.

To edit a shortcut, simply double-click on it and type in the new key combination. You can also create new shortcuts by clicking on the Create button.

Tips for Using Maya Shortcuts

Maya shortcuts are a powerful tool that can help you work faster and more efficiently. By learning the most common shortcuts and customizing them to fit your own workflow, you can significantly improve your productivity in Maya. Here are a few tips for using Maya shortcuts effectively.

  • Start by learning the most commonly used shortcuts first and gradually incorporate more as you become proficient.
  • Use shortcuts in conjunction with the mouse and keyboard. Shortcuts can be very efficient, but they shouldn’t be used exclusively. The mouse and keyboard are still essential for many tasks in Maya.
  • Customize shortcuts to fit your own workflow. If there are certain shortcuts that you don’t use, or that you find inconvenient, you can change them.
  • Practice using shortcuts regularly. The more you use shortcuts, the more familiar you will become with them and the faster you will be able to work.
  • Use a shortcut cheat sheet. There are many shortcut cheat sheets available online and in Maya.

The Benefits of Using Shortcuts in Maya

  • Increased speed and efficiency: Shortcuts can help you work faster and more efficiently by eliminating the need to navigate through menus and submenus. This is especially beneficial for tasks that you frequently perform.
  • Reduced fatigue: Shortcuts can help reduce fatigue by reducing the number of times you need to reach for your mouse and keyboard.
  • Improved ergonomics: Shortcuts can help improve ergonomics by reducing the amount of repetitive movements you need to make, thereby reducing the risk of conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Increased accuracy: Shortcuts can help increase your accuracy by reducing the risk of errors. This is because you are less likely to make a mistake when you are typing a shortcut than when you are clicking through menus and submenus.
  • Improved workflow: Shortcuts can help improve your workflow by allowing you to quickly access the tools and commands you need.

In addition to these general benefits, shortcuts in Maya can help you:

  • Create and edit objects more quickly and easily: Shortcuts can be used to quickly create and edit objects such as polygons, NURBS curves, and particles. This can save you a lot of time and effort, especially when working on complex scenes.
  • Animate objects more efficiently: Shortcuts can be used to quickly and easily animate objects in Maya. This can help you create more realistic and dynamic animations.
  • Customize your workflow: Maya allows you to customize shortcuts to fit your own workflow. This means you can create shortcuts for the tools and commands that you most frequently use, which can help you work even more efficiently.

Overall, there are many benefits to using shortcuts in Maya. They can help you work faster, more efficiently, and with greater precision. Shortcuts can also help reduce fatigue, enhance ergonomics, and streamline your workflow, making them an invaluable asset for serious Maya users.