Guy on Simulink

Simulink & Model-Based Design

Zooming and Panning in Simulink R2012b 9

Posted by Guy Rouleau,

As we highlighted recently, Simulink R2012b has a ton of new features. During the next weeks, we will try to provide as much details as possible on all this new cool stuff.

For this week, I will start with the basic of navigating models.


In R2012b, zooming is a lot more dynamic with the mouse wheel. Here is a short animation where I highlight all the possible ways to zoom in R2012b:

zooming in R2012b

In case you have problems getting used to scroll wheel zooming, you can go to the Simulink preference and uncheck the Scroll wheel controls zooming option:

zooming in R2012b


Before R2012b, panning could be done using P or Q in combination with the left mouse button. The result was equivalent to moving the scrollbars at the top and bottom of your model. I am not sure why, but I almost never used this feature.

In R2012b, the panning is easier to access, with the middle mouse button or a combination of the spacebar and left mouse button.

The panning is also more powerful. It allows you to increase the dimensions of the model in any direction:

Panning in R2012b

My personal experience

I need to be honest with you... getting used to Simulink R2012b was a good challenge for me.

Before R2012b, the 4 most used keys on my keyboard were R, F, V and 1. Every time I opened a new model I was using those to zoom in, zoom out or zoom 100%.

I tried the new panning and zooming for a few weeks. After some frustration because I ended up zooming instead of scrolling, I tried disabling the scrolling zoom. That quickly made me realize that using the scroll wheel to zoom is very useful and after just a few hours I re-enabled the option.

About the panning, it forced me to develop new muscles. Since I was never using the middle button of my mouse, that gesture initially felt weird, like if it was requiring a lot of efforts in my finger to push that middle button.

After a few months using Simulink R2012b, I now try to use the middle mouse button to pan everywhere and end up saying to myself: Why is that software not panning with the middle button?

Now that I have been using Simulink R2012b for a few months, I absolutely love it. Everything is more easy.

The other day I had to test something in R2012a and when I opened the model I asked myself: How was I satisfied with this old interface?

Now it's your turn

Refer to the Zoom and Pan Block Diagrams page for more details, and let us know what you think of Simulink R2012b by leaving a comment here.

9 CommentsOldest to Newest

Aditya Shah replied on : 2 of 9

Is there an easy way in 2012b to hide a block name? In older versions you could click and drag to select a block name and then delete it.

Guy Rouleau replied on : 3 of 9

@ Aditya,

Wow! I have to admit… I had never realized you could do this maneuver in previous releases.

I will report this to our development team.

In R2012b, to hide a block name you need to right-click on the block and disable the “Show Block Name” in the Format section.

Programmatically, this can be done using set_param(gcb,’ShowName’,’off’). If you really need something quicker, you could associate a shortcut to this command using an sl_customization.

Paul replied on : 4 of 9

It’s because I’m such an avid reader of this site, that I felt the need to comment. While the new Simulink looks impressive, I’m guessing the majority of readers are interested in physical examples and problem solving techniques, not minor feature demos. I’m sorry, I know that’s harsh…

Thomas Marullo replied on : 6 of 9

Is this a masked block? If so, I am curious of how you edited the mask to make the inputs, outputs and block description to look this good.

Joe M. replied on : 7 of 9

Thanks for the instruction, Guy. Hopefully after a few months I feel the same way. The difficulty from my point of view is that I am on numerous projects that use different MATLAB installations (I do automotive controls using the code gen capabilities, and customers lock down their tool chain early as part of the validation process). So now, I need to get used to the look/feel for the new releases while switching for the old releases. It would be nice if the MathWorks would of thought of scenarios like this before such drastic changes in look/feel across the board. For example, why not just keep the keyboard shortcuts R,F,V? (even if you wanted to add optional zooming from the scroll wheel) In what possible way is CTRL+ and CTRL- better? For example, if I disable the zooming feature of the scroll wheel and want to keep the scroll wheel to actually scroll (like every other application out there), to zoom I would now need to take my hand off the mouse, and go press CRTL+- (two buttons instead of one). This makes navigation more difficult in my opinion.

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