Application Templates


Application templates are a feature that allows you to define a re-usable configuration that can be selected to replace the default configuration, without requiring a separate Blender installation or overwriting your personal settings.

Application templates can be selected from the splash screen or File ‣ New submenu. When there are no templates found the menu will not be displayed on the splash screen.

New application templates can be installed from the Blender Menu. If you would like to keep the current application template active on restarting Blender, save your preferences.


In some cases it’s not enough to write a single script or add-on, and expect someone to replace their preferences and startup file, install scripts and change their keymap.

The goal of application templates is to support switching to a customized configuration without disrupting your existing settings and installation. This means people can build their own applications on top of Blender that can be easily distributed.


An application template may define its own:

Startup File

The default file to load with this template.


Only certain preferences from a template are used:

  • Themes.

  • Add-ons.

  • Keymaps.

  • Viewport lighting.

Splash Screen

Templates may provide their own splash screen image.

Python Scripts

While templates have access to the same functionality as any other scripts, typical operations include:

  • Modifying and replacing parts of the user interface.

  • Defining new menus, keymaps and tools.

  • Defining a custom add-on path for template specific add-ons.

Templates also have their own user configuration, so saving a startup file while using a template won’t overwrite your default startup file.

Directory Layout

Templates may be located in one of two locations within the scripts directory.

Template locations:

User configuration is stored in a subdirectory:

Without a template:
With a template:

See Blender’s Directory Layout for details on script and configuration locations.


Troubleshooting Paths

When creating an application template, you may run into issues where paths are not being found. To investigate this you can log output of all of Blender’s path look-ups.

Example command line arguments that load Blender with a custom application template (replace my_app_template with the name of your own template):

blender --log "bke.appdir.*" --log-level -1 --app-template my_app_template

You can then check the paths where attempts to access my_app_template are made.

Command Line Access

Using the command-line arguments you can setup a launcher that opens Blender with a specific app template:

blender --app-template my_template

Template Contents

Each of the following files can be used for application templates but are optional.


Factory startup file to use for this template.


Factory preferences file to use for this template. When omitted preferences are shared with the default Blender configuration.

(As noted previously, this is only used for a subset of preferences).


Splash screen to override Blender’s default artwork (not including header text). Note, this image must be a 1000x500 image.

A Python script which must contain register and unregister functions.


Bundled blend-files startup.blend and userpref.blend are considered Factory Settings and are never overwritten.

The user may save their own startup/preferences while using this template which will be stored in their user configuration, but only when the template includes its own userpref.blend file.

The original template settings can be loaded using: Load Template Factory Settings from the file menu in much the same way Load Factory Settings works.

Template Scripts

While app templates can use Python scripts, they simply have access to the same APIs available for add-ons and any other scripts.

As noted above, you may optionally have an in your app template. This has the following advantages:

  • Changes can be made to the startup or preferences, without having to distribute a blend-file.

  • Changes can be made dynamically.

    You could for example – configure the template to check the number of processors, operating system and memory, then set values based on this.

  • You may enable add-ons associated with your template.

On activation a register function is called, unregister is called when another template is selected.

As these only run once, any changes to defaults must be made via handler. Two handlers you are likely to use are:



These allow you to define your own “factory settings”, which the user may change, just as Blender has it’s own defaults when first launched.

This is an example file which defines defaults for an app template to use.

import bpy
from import persistent

def load_handler_for_preferences(_):
    print("Changing Preference Defaults!")
    from bpy import context

    prefs = context.preferences
    prefs.use_preferences_save = False

    kc = context.window_manager.keyconfigs["blender"]
    kc_prefs = kc.preferences
    if kc_prefs is not None:
        kc_prefs.select_mouse = 'RIGHT'
        kc_prefs.spacebar_action = 'SEARCH'
        kc_prefs.use_pie_click_drag = True

    view = prefs.view
    view.header_align = 'BOTTOM'

def load_handler_for_startup(_):
    print("Changing Startup Defaults!")

    # Use smooth faces.
    for mesh in
        for poly in mesh.polygons:
            poly.use_smooth = True

    # Use material preview shading.
    for screen in
        for area in screen.areas:
            for space in area.spaces:
                if space.type == 'VIEW_3D':
                    space.shading.type = 'MATERIAL'
                    space.shading.use_scene_lights = True

def register():
    print("Registering to Change Defaults")

def unregister():
    print("Unregistering to Change Defaults")