Using Views and Windows

Get a better look at all there is to see in Prepar3D


In a real airplane, you can look around by moving your head. To look around in Prepar3D you have to change views. The best part is that unlike in the real world, you can even change views outside the airplane!

Press S to select a view category, then press A to select a view within that category.

Quick keys for frequently-used views

   Virtual Cockpit F9
   2-D Cockpit F10
   Locked Spot view F11
   Top-Down view F12

Think of view modes as camera position categories. Within each category, you can choose individual camera positions. When you use Cockpit views, the camera is like your eyes; showing the view you have as the pilot in the cockpit. When you use Outside Views, it's a camera view from the outside, looking at your aircraft. Experiment with views to find the right combination for your style of flying.

There are six main view modes in Prepar3D. You cycle through the view modes using the keyboard, buttons on a joystick, an Xbox 360 for Windows controller, or the menus (more on that below) and you can choose which view you want to display within each mode.

Whenever you change views, text in the upper-right corner of the screen displays the view name for three seconds.

To cycle through view modes

-or- -or-

To cycle views within a view mode

-or- -or-

The view modes are:

View mode What you see
Cockpit Pilot's view from the 2-D cockpit or 3-D virtual cockpit.
Outside Your aircraft from an external viewpoint.
Tower Your aircraft from a control tower or tower-like perspective (non-towered airports).
Aircraft Your aircraft from an external camera on or near the aircraft.
Runway A runway from the viewpoint of your cockpit. Very useful for finding the runway on approach.
Air traffic Other aircraft in the sky and on the ground.
Sensor Sensor or Colorized view

Cockpit Views

There are several cockpit views, not all of which are available in all aircraft:

View What you see
2-D Cockpit 2-D instrument panel with various panel options.
Virtual cockpit 3-D cockpit with the ability to pan the camera view.
Right seat Virtual cockpit with the ability to pan the camera view.
Rear seat Virtual cockpit with the ability to pan the camera view.
Radio stack Close-up view of radios with the ability to pan the camera view.
Light switches Close-up view of switches with the ability to pan the camera view.

The 2-D cockpit and the 3-D virtual cockpit differ in how you are able to look around the cockpit. In the 2-D cockpit, you can display hidden sections of the panel with key commands and use the keyboard, a joystick, or an Xbox controller to make quick changes to the direction in which you're looking. In 3-D virtual cockpit, you can use the keyboard, your joystick, the mouse, or an Xbox controller to look around, using a panning action, which provides a realistic movement as if you are moving your head.

To cycle through view modes to Cockpit view


To cycle through cockpit views


You can set 2-D cockpit or 3-D cockpit as the default view.

To set the default cockpit view

  1. On the Options menu, click Settings.
  2. Select Display from the sidebar.
  3. Click the Aircraft tab.
  4. Select the 2-D instrument panel or the 3-D virtual cockpit option.
  5. Click OK.

There are also several different panels you can choose while in 2-D cockpit mode. To learn more, see Instrument Panels below.

Panel What you see
2-D panel Normal 2-D panel.
IFR panel Larger 2-D panel for flying only by reference to instruments.
Approach panel A smaller version of the 2-D panel with greater visibility over the top of the panel.
Mini panel Only the primary instruments with no panel.
No panel No panel or instruments.

Outside Views

Outside views place the camera at a point in space, viewing your aircraft from outside. There are four options for outside views:

View What you see
Spot Your aircraft as viewed from a chase plane (fluid transition).
Locked Spot Your aircraft as viewed from a chase plane (direct transition).
Flyby Your aircraft as it flies past a fixed point.
Top-down Your aircraft viewed top-down from high altitude.

To cycle through view modes to Outside view


To cycle through outside views


Tower Views

When you select a Tower view, the default view is from the tower nearest to your aircraft. You can change the Tower view to any of the towers listed in the Tower view submenu.

To cycle through view modes to Tower view


To cycle through tower views


Aircraft Views

When you select an Aircraft view, the default view depends upon which aircraft you're flying. Different aircraft have different options for Aircraft view. You can change the aircraft view on the Aircraft View submenu.

To cycle through view modes to Aircraft view


To cycle through aircraft views


Runway Views

When you select a Runway view, the view shifts toward the runway selected in the Runway View submenu as seen from your cockpit. This view is very useful if you're close to your destination airport but you're having difficulty seeing the runway.

To cycle through view modes to Runway view


To cycle through runway views


Air Traffic Views

Important note: you must have air traffic turned on or the Air Traffic view mode will not appear in the Views menu.

Air Traffic view shifts your viewpoint to other aircraft in the sky and on the ground.

To cycle through view modes to Air Traffic view


To cycle through air traffic views


Sensor Views

Sensor views simulate sensors such a Infrared or Night Vision Goggles

There are two options for outside views:

View What you see
IR IR Sensors using a basic thermal model in which terrain, water, air, buildings, and vehicles have different core temperatures. Terrain and water temperatures change in response to location/climate, time of day, and day of year.
NVG Night Vision Goggle simulation using a Colorization view to apply image post processing to colorize the rendered scene.

To cycle through view modes to Sensor view


To cycle through sensor views


Instrument Panels

You can adjust the transparency of instrument panels (2-D only), or eliminate the panel altogether to see the world beyond the cockpit.

To adjust panel transparency

  1. Press CTRL+SHIFT+T.
  2. Press + (PLUS) or - (MINUS) to to increase or decrease transparency.
  1. On the Options menu and click to Settings.
  2. Select Display from the sidebar.
  3. Click the Aircraft tab.
  4. Move the 2-D panel transparency slider right or left to increase or decrease transparency.
  5. Click OK.

You can select one of five 2-D cockpit instrument panel options:

To choose a 2-D cockpit view

  1. Press S to select 2-D cockpit.
  2. Press W to select a specific panel display.

Looking Around

In most views, you can look around by using the hat switch on your joystick, by pressing keys on the numeric keypad, or by using the thumbstick on an Xbox 360 controller for Windows.

One of the fastest and best tools for looking around the cockpit or the world in Prepar3D is to use the special mouse-look feature.

To use a joystick hat switch to change view direction:

Action Move hat switch
Look forward/right Up/right
Look right Right
Look back/right Down/right
Look back Down
Look back/left Down/left
Look left Left
Look forward/left Up/left
Look up Straight/up

To use key commands to change view direction (you must have NUM LOCK on):

Action Key command
Look forward/right NUMPAD 9
Look right NUMPAD 6
Look back/right NUMPAD 3
Look back NUMPAD 2
Look back/left NUMPAD 1
Look left NUMPAD 4
Look forward/left NUMPAD 7

To change view direction with an Xbox 360 controller for Windows

Zooming In and Out

You can use zoom controls to magnify or reduce any view. Zoom in close enough to see the rivets on your aircraft, or zoom out to get a bird's-eye view of the airport below. Text in the upper-right corner of the screen displays the current zoom factor.

To zoom in and out in Cockpit, Tower, Spot Plane, or Top-down view

Moving the Eyepoint

Having trouble seeing over the instrument panel? In a real airplane you'd just lean forward a bit or sit on a phone book. In Prepar3D you can move the eyepoint, the point from which your virtual eyes look out. This is particularly useful ability when taxiing taildraggers in Cockpit or Virtual Cockpit views.

To move the eyepoint in any view:

*3-D virtual cockpit only
Key command
Move Eyepoint Back* CTRL+ENTER
Move Eyepoint Up SHIFT+ENTER
Move Eyepoint Down SHIFT+BACKSPACE
Pan Eyepoint Up CTRL+SHIFT+Q
Pan Eyepoint Down CTRL+Q
Move Eyepoint Forward* CTRL+BACKSPACE
Move Eyepoint Right* CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER
Reset Eyepoint CTRL+SPACEBAR

Using Multiple Windows

The Prepar3D screen is composed of windows. In 2-D Cockpit view, the instrument panel is displayed in one window, and the outside world in another. You can open additional windows, and display any view in them. For example, you can fly in Cockpit view and open an additional window that displays the Top-down view for extra situational awareness in the traffic pattern.

To open a new view window

Making a Window Active

You can have several different windows open at once. Prepar3D adds new windows to the bottom of the Views menu, and numbers them in the order that you opened them. The active view window has a check mark next to it. All keyboard and joystick view commands apply to the active window.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Instrument subpanels, the kneeboard, the air traffic control menu, and the chat window are also treated as windows.

To activate a window

Other Prepar3D window tricks

Prepar3D has many keyboard shortcuts to help you work with views and windows. For the complete list, see the Key Commands page of the Kneeboard (press SHIFT+F10). Here are some other tricks you can do with windows. The best way to learn about these is to experiment with them.

To close a window

To resize a window

NOTE: To move a window between monitors in full screen view, it is not necessary to undock the window as described below.

To move a Prepar3D window outside the Prepar3D application window

  1. Click the window that contains the view you want to move.
  2. On the Views menu, click Undock View.
  3. Drag the undocked window anywhere on the Windows desktop.
  1. Right-click the window that contains the view you want to undock.
  2. Click Undock Window.
  3. Drag the undocked window anywhere on the Windows desktop.

Displaying Instrument Subpanels

Some Prepar3D aircraft have separate windows or subpanels for their radio stacks, compass, engine controls, and other cockpit controls. Use SHIFT+1-7 to display the various subpanels (see the list of key commands for each aircraft on the kneeboard in the cockpit)..

Quick Keys

You can use some keyboard shortcuts to rapidly switch to some of the most useful views.

View Key command
Virtual Cockpit F9
Spot View F10
Top-Down View F11
Starting View F12

Axis Indicators

An axis indicator makes it easy to determine pitch and bank angles relative to the horizon without having to look at the attitude indicator; real-world pilots often use a smudge on the windscreen for the same purpose. The axis indicators in Prepar3D are a great tool when you're learning basic flying maneuvers. They're also very useful if you hide the instrument panel by pressing W.

Using the Axis indicator drop-down list, you can display one of three axis indicators on the windscreen of your aircraft:

Oculus Rift

Prepar3D has built-in support for the Oculus Rift DK2. Simply switch to and HMD view and drag the Oculus window onto the Oculus display. Also new Oculus views can be created just like any other camera view. For more information refer to the Camera Configuration SDK documentation section. If custom functionality is required an Oculus plug-in is also offered for reference in the SDK. Refer to the Oculus Rift Plug-In and Sample SDK documentation for more information. Note that if using the Oculus sample from the SDK the core Oculus view must be disabled.

Cofiguring Displays and Multichannel

Prepar3D has the ability to be dislpayed in several ways. Now Prepar3D can be displaye with the ability to add multiple view groups, multiple views, and multiple displays, as well as, the ability to be distribute views amoung several boxes with our new Multichannel feature. Assitance with these features can be found at Display Configuration