When I select a layer and do Ctrl+space, all layers become temporarily hidden, including the active one. The other ones are still checked but the check box is greyed.

But what is this shortcut meant for ?

Is it just to hide everything and have a blank map ?

I searched in the the Keyboard shortcuts list and it's not even there.

  • Do you perhaps have any plugins installed that change this behaviour? Using ctrl+space does not do anything for me. Holding space just lets me pan the view as usual. Aug 9, 2019 at 9:23
  • No it's not plugin related. Spacebar is not just to pan the view, it's also used in the layer panel to hide and unhide. Of course you have to be in the right context. If you click in the map view, spacebar will pan. But if you click in the layer panel, it will hide and unhide the active layer. However, Ctrl+spacebar does this weird thing and I wonder what it was meant for. Aug 9, 2019 at 9:35
  • Oops! Totally forgot to do the selection in the layer window. This is indeed weird. On a group layer, it deselects everything in that group. But on an individual layer it indeed deselects everything. It would make sense to me, but what confuses me currently is that the ticks do not disappear. Aug 9, 2019 at 9:54

1 Answer 1


I think they used the same function from ArcGIS as the behaviour is very similar. This is described in the page - Navigating the table of contents with the keyboard:

  • CTRL+SPACE turns all the layers in the data frame on or off when a single layer is selected in the table of contents. If the selected layer is part of a group layer or a composite layer, such as an ArcIMS image service layer, all the members of that layer will be turned on or off. If multiple layers are selected, CTRL+SPACE works like SPACE by itself and toggles only the selected layers on or off.
  • Thanks. However it doesn't behave the same. In fact now that I tried it on groups it becomes a lot weirder and more inconsistent. If you select layers (not groups), Ctrl+space unchecks the active one and greys out everything else (except groups) and space alone just toggles the active layer, leaving the rest unchanged. But if you select groups, the behavior is reversed. Space alone greys out the layers within the active group and ctrl+space unchecks them. Anyway, none of this explains what ctrl+space is meant for when used on layers and not groups. Aug 9, 2019 at 10:09

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