Blender 3D: Noob to Pro/User Preferences Windows

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In this module, we'll take a closer look at the User Preferences window. In the process, you'll encounter three different user-interface controls: radio buttons, toggle buttons, and sliders.

Saving User Preferences[edit]

Most applications have a place to keep user-configured settings (including document defaults), separate from any user-created documents. Blender works in a slightly different fashion. All user-configured settings are saved in every document you create. Each time you create a new Blender document, it reloads your default document, which is called .B.blend. To save your current state as the default document, press  CTRL + U . This will save everything you’ve done to the current in-memory document, including objects and materials created, to .B.blend.

Accessing the User Preferences[edit]

First we must open the User Preferences window. There are 3 ways to do this:

  • Click  LMB  File → User Preferences...
  • Change the window type of the top header to User Preferences Blender269UserPrefsIcon.png and drag the header down.
  • Press  CTRL + ALT + U , which will open the User Preferences into a separate window which you can resize at will.

The User Preferences window should look something like the screenshot below.

Blender-2.5 user preferences.png

Configuring Your Preferences[edit]

In order to get to modeling and rendering sooner, this tutorial will cover only a few of the many user-settable preferences.

Auto Save[edit]

As the name suggests, Auto Save automatically saves the current .blend after a specified period of time. The settings are:

  • Auto Save Temporary Files: This enables/disables the auto save feature.
  • Timer (mins) slider: This specifies the time in minutes between each auto save.

In Blender 2.66 and later, an additional option is available: "Keep Session". This option always saves a quit.blend at Quit, and loads it on starting Blender. If you close Blender with an "empty file" session (the startup.blend), it keeps the Window header name "Blender" and treats the session as if no file was loaded. For the purposes of this tutorial, it can be left disabled.


Blender-2.5 user preferences files.png

Number of Undo Levels[edit]

Next we'll look at the undo settings. By default, Blender remembers your last 32 actions and allows you to undo them one at a time by pressing  Ctrl + Z . If your computer has plenty of memory, you may wish to increase that number. If it has relatively little memory, you might consider decreasing it to 10 or 20. The Memory Limit slider specifies the amount of RAM (in megabytes) to use for storing the undo levels. Undo level "0" is unlimited.

Blender-2.5 user preferences editing.png

Numpad Emulation[edit]

Blender uses numberpad keys (such as  7 ) to control the 3D View and ordinary numeral keys (such as  7 ) to change layers. If you are working on a laptop or if you find the numberpad inconvenient, you can select Emulate Numpad to reassign the 3D View controls to the ordinary numeral keys.

Blender-2.5 user preferences input.png

If you ever need to restore Blender to its factory settings, you can delete your personal ".blend" file then restart Blender, or click  LMB  File → Load Factory Settings


The second method only affects the current session. To make the settings persist, you would need to save them with  Ctrl + U  or File → Save User Settings - This menu name has been changed to Save Startup File in Blender 2.67b.


Additional Resources[edit]