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View scenes in the scene viewer

The following is a quick reference for viewing 2D and 3D geospatial content in the scene viewer, an app built into the portal website. The scene viewer works with desktop web browsers that support WebGL, a web technology standard built into most modern browsers for rendering 3D graphics. You can also sign in to the scene viewer and make your own scenes.


Before you open the scene viewer, verify that your browser supports scenes.

Scene viewer

Navigate your scene

In the upper left of your screen are the navigation controls.

  • Click Initial view Initial view to return to the initial camera position.
  • Click + to zoom in.
  • Click - to zoom out.
  • You can also use your mouse and scroll wheel to zoom in and zoom out, or press and hold the middle mouse button and move down or up to zoom in or out.
  • Click Pan Pan to pan. Click and hold the left mouse button and drag the scene in the direction you want to move it. You can also pan by using the arrow keys on the keyboard.
  • Click Rotate Rotate to rotate. Click and hold the left mouse button and drag the scene in the direction you want to rotate and tilt it.

    The black triangle in the upper right of the tool indicates which tool is selected.

  • If you have a two-button mouse, you can use the left mouse button for the primary navigation and the right mouse button for the secondary navigation. For example, if you click Rotate Rotate, you can use the left mouse button to rotate and the right mouse button to pan.
  • If you have a touch screen laptop or monitor, pinch zoom with two fingers and pan with one finger. You can also double-tap the scene to zoom in a step towards the tapped location. To rotate the scene, move two fingers in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. To tilt the scene, drag two fingers up or down the screen.

    The Pan/Rotate switch navigation controls and 3D Navigation settings do not affect touch.

  • Compass Compass gives you the orientation of the scene. Click Compass Compass to set your scene to North orientation.

Here are some navigation keyboard shortcuts:

B+Left click

View from the current camera position.


Set your scene perpendicular to the ground.


Set your scene to North orientation.


Save your scene.


Start and stop sun animation over a day period.

Search for locations

Click Search Search and type a location into the search box. The Search tool will return options matching your location. You can click one of the locations on the list or press Enter to go to the location in your scene.

View layers

Use Layers to manage which layers in Contents display in your scene. Click the check boxes to turn layers on and off in the scene.

  • Click Layers Layers to open Layers and see the layers of the scene.
  • Click the Zoom to button Zoom to to zoom your scene to the layer's extent within the Viewport.
  • Click Legend to see the symbology of the layers.
  • Click Layers Layers or another tool to close.

Choose a basemap

Click Basemap Basemap to switch your basemap for the scene.

Adjust daylight

Open Daylight Environment to change how sunlight and shadows affect your scene during different times of the day and year.

Sunlight slider

Drag the Sunlight slider Sunlight slider left and right to adjust the sunlight and shadows in your scenes at different times of the day. You can also adjust the time of the day by manually entering it or by clicking on specific times on the slider. To change time zones, click the current time zone to the right of the time box and choose from the drop-down list of time zones.

Click Play Play to animate the sunlight as it cycles through the day in your scene.


Click Calendar Calendar to change the sun's position at different times of the year.

Click Play Play to animate the sunlight as it cycles through the months in a year in your scene.


Check Show shadows to illustrate shadows in your scene. You can change shadow effects by adjusting the Sunlight slider Sunlight slider, time zone, and Calendar Calendar.

Share the scene

Click Share Share to share the scene by email, social media, or to embed it in a website.

Change settings

Settings Settings contain tools where you can adjust performance quality and mouse navigation settings for your browser.


Choose the settings to optimize 3D graphics rendering:

  • Quality—Higher-quality visualizations, like realistic atmosphere
  • Balanced—Equal optimization of performance and quality
  • Performance—Increased stability and speed by reducing data load

3D navigation

Choose which 3D Navigation you are more comfortable with—the default scene viewer navigation or the ArcGIS Pro mouse navigation.

Display scene in full screen

Click Full Screen Full screen in the lower right to launch full screen mode. Exit the full screen by clicking Exit Full Screen (Esc) or pressing Esc on your keyboard.