Blender Creative work

Shortcuts not working anymore in Blender – Bugfix

Recently, I’ve experienced the issue that suddenly the shortcuts were not working anymore in Blender 3.5. And I seem to not be the only one with that bug.

I run Blender standalone in a subfolder of my home directory (Debian 11), which is useful for me, as I use multiple and no LTS versions.

/home/<user>/Apps/Blender/<version directory>/

I launch blender using a launcher that executes ./blender in that working directory. In there are the exectuables and files, but I’ve noticed that even though I have two different working directories and two different executables and two different launchers for each version, if I install a new version of blender, I can see the recent files of the standalone blender “install” from before. As in blender-3.5.1 can see what blender-3.5.0 opened last.

If your config is corrupt, basic stuff like Ctrl+Z and other shortcuts not working anymore can happen

Weird, I thought. This should not be the case for a standalone executable that only looks at its own libs and config files in its little secluded standalone directory. Which is why I assume that blender for some reason uses a global config. Where could it be?

Let’s take a look into my home directory…

/home/<user>/.config/blender/<version x.y>/config/

Why do shortcuts not work anymore in Blender? Config files are stored globally, and will be reset if you reinstall Blender.
Why do shortcuts not work anymore in Blender? Config files are stored globally, and will be reset if you reinstall Blender.

And there it was, all the global blender config stuff.

The directory /home/<user>/Apps/<version directory>/ (where I install my blenders) does not contain any config files afaik. So I am now pretty sure that blender stores these “kina” globally (as in different sub-versions share the same config dir). You can (and should) probably change that, but it’s not possible within the preferences.

In my opinion, this could interfere with the settings of older versions, since it looks like in my case versions 3.5.0 and 3.5.1 (the corrupt one now) share the same config. That is even though the directory is categorized by version. Furthermore, blender is known for not being per-se upwards compatible! I certainly had issues with older versions opening files created by a newer version (as expected). The other way around (downwards compatible) I had no problems so far.

Multiple Blender versions can share one config…? So weird.

The recent-files.txt file explains why any blender instance of any version would have access to that list. And it also strengthens my suspicion that several standalone blender versions do not necessarily separate their config data directory (which I don’t think is a good thing).

Blender directory options
Blender shortcuts stopped working, now what? Your shortcuts are stored in your settings and your settings are stored in a config directory among other things (like the startup blender file). Blender directory options: Inception overload, but you can’t actually choose the directory of the config files for blender in blender. So if they are corrupted, you better have a backup. Or you write a script so that you can restore what has worked before.

To my knowledge, you can not change the config directory from within blender. But you could surely write a script to change where this goes.

If you aren’t willing to do that, you could just regularly make backups of the whole thing and restore it, if something goes south with your blender setup. However, I do think it makes sense, if you run multiple versions like me, to take care of this sooner or later.

If your shortcuts are not working anymore in Blender, re-installing does help, but isn’t necessary…

Anyway, re-installing my system-install of blender with sudo apt remove blender & sudo apt install blender would do the trick and gave me a fresh set of config files to work with. So, you may download the files that will work for your install from and replace the corrupt files with those, or just do completely delete the config-directory (/home/<user>/.config/blender/<version x.y>/config/) and with the next startup blender should create a new one. (Don’t forget to backup, just in case. → Tip: For a backup, just change the filename of the existing directory and you’ll be fine. In case you need it later, you can then rename it back to the original. And please don’t use this technique in sys folders, it’s messy!)

Therefore “have you tried uninstalling” does work, if you like it or not. But at least here’s why it actually does. I don’t mind losing any presets, as I regularly export them anyway. Whatever file was corrupt in that config dir, I don’t really care and I don’t have time for this. This is only for people who were desperately looking for the solution to why their shortcuts stopped working in blender. But you might share your insights in the comments as usual!

If all of this doesn’t work…

However, if this doesn’t help you and your shortcuts are still not working anymore in blender, then check if one of the following issues is the case:

  1. The file you are editing is huge and / or contains previews that have to load.
    Solution: Let those fully load until the progress bar is gone! Then try if your shortcuts work.
  2. Your computer has a hardware issue, e.g. overheating.
    Solution: Check if this is the case by checking your sensors for temperature. Is your fan loud? Is your computer crashing when editing a large file? Try cleaning your fan. This actually helped in my case!
  3. The .blend file itself is corrupt and it isn’t a config issue at all.
    Solution: This is unlikely but not impossible. To find out if this is an issue, try creating a new file and check if your shortcuts work in there. Now this can point to Problem 1 or 2 or be an issue with the file, keep that in mind. Because the file might not be corrupt, (which does happen in blender all the time, but still) instead it might be an issue with overheating or RAM or GPU or *.

And, of course, it can be a combination of all of these. For me it was definitely the faulty config file. I absolutely have no interest in finding out what exactly the reason of this issue was. I will not try to find out the future and I do not care if it will reoccur, frankly because I don’t have time for that. The time I would need to sift through blender’s messy config details is precious editing time to me and most of this is just:

Beyond scope

  • I’m not a blender developer and do not care about the nuts and bolts of all the details here. This is a quick and dirty bugfix, not a discussion of fundamentals, and I do not want to hear about your Python expertise. I can code in Python, but I don’t have time for any of it and I’m not even looking.
  • This might not work with your version, but anyway, looking for corrupt config files is a good point to start. So is rebooting your computer.

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