Importing and Exporting Files

Sometimes you may want to utilize files that either came from other 2D or 3D software, or you may want to use the things you have made in Blender and edit them in other software. Luckily, Blender offers a wide range of file formats (e.g. OBJ, FBX, 3DS, PLY, STL… etc) that can be used to import and export.

These formats can be accessed from the menus: File ‣ Import and File ‣ Export.

Popular formats are enabled by default, other formats are also supported and distributed with Blender, these can be enabled in the User Preferences through the use of Add-ons.

Hint

If you are not interested in technical details, a good rule of thumb for selecting import/export formates for your project is:

Use STL
if you intend to import/export the files for CAD software. This format is also commonly used for loading into 3D printing software.
Use FBX
if you intend to export objects with rigs and/or animation to be used in other 3D creation suites or game development.
Use DAE
if you intend to export objects with rigs and/or animation to be used in other 3D creation suites or game development (provided they support Collada). See also the Blender Collada module.
Use ABC
if you want to import/export a large amount of scene data. This Alembic format is also useful to export an animated mesh (rather than a static mesh + the armature + the animation of the armature). Using that animated mesh from an Alembic file can then be used for shading and lighting.

See also

A list of these add-ons can also be found on the Add-ons Catalog.