OpenSCAD User Manual/Customizer

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[Note: Requires version 2019.05]

Customizer feature provides a graphic user interface for editing model parameters. With this feature one does not need to edit the code to change the values of the parameters / variables. Programmers can create templates for a given model, and customize these further to adapt to different needs / users. Sets of parameter values can also be saved, which effectively saves a variant of a particular model.

Activation of Customizer panel[edit]

  • In View menu, you shall have an option [Hide customizer], than you shall untick

supported variables[edit]

  • Only variables in the main file are evaluated. Files from includes and use are NOT considered.
  • Only the variables that are on the top of the main file will be evaluated, that is, they must be declared BEFORE the first line with a module declaration in order to appear in the customizer.
  • If you want to hide some variables from the customizer, they must be put on or after the first line which declares a module.

Only literals are available as parameters. Examples for literals are:

a = "Text";
b = 123;
c = 456.789;
d = [1,2,3,4];

Expression (even trivial examples) like

e = str("String"," ","concat");
f = 12 + 0.5;

are not supported as parameters.

Syntax support for generation of the customization form[edit]

// variable description
variable name = defaultValue; // possible values

Following is the syntax for how to define different types of widgets in the form:

Drop down box[edit]

experimental-build customizer example 1
// combo box for number
Numbers=2; // [0, 1, 2, 3]

// combo box for string
Strings="foo"; // [foo, bar, baz]

//labeled combo box for numbers
Labeled_values=10; // [10:S, 20:M, 30:L]

//labeled combo box for string
Labeled_value="S"; // [S:Small, M:Medium, L:Large]


Only numbers are allowed in this one, specify any of the following:

experimental-build customizer example 2
// slider widget for number with max. value
sliderWithMax =34; // [50]

// slider widget for number in range
sliderWithRange =34; // [10:100]

//step slider for number
stepSlider=2; //[0:5:100]

// slider widget for number in range
sliderCentered =0; // [-10:0.1:10]

Note that this

// slider widget for number with max. value
sliderWithMax =34; // [50]

is mainly for compatibility with Thingiverse


experimental-build customizer example 3
Variable = true;


experimental-build customizer example 4
// spinbox with step size 1
Spinbox= 5;


experimental-build configurator example 5
//Text box for vector with more than 4 elements

// Text box for string

// Text box for string with length 8
String="length"; //8

Special vector[edit]

experimental-build configurator example 6
//Spin box box for vector with less than or equal to 4 elements

You can also set a range for the vector:

VectorRange3=[12,34,46]; //[1:2:50]
VectorRange4=[12,34,45,23]; //[1:50]

Creating Tabs[edit]

Parameters can be grouped into tabs. This feature will allows related parameters to be associated into groups. The syntax is very similar the Thingiverse rules for tabs. To create a tab, use a multi-line block comment like this:

/* [Tab Name] */

Also possible, but not recommended:

/* [Tab] [Name] */

Three tabs names have a special functionality;


Parameters in the Global tab will always be shown on every tab no matter which tab is selected. No tab will be displayed for “Global” parameters, they will always be shown in all the tabs.


Parameters in the Hidden tab (with first letter uppercase) will never be displayed. Not even the tab will be shown. This prevents global variables that have not been parameterized for the Thingiverse or OpenSCAD Customizer from showing up in the Customizer interface or widget. Included for compatibility with Thingiverse. You can have multiples segments under the Hidden group. see also #hidden_parameters


Parameters that are not under any tab will be displayed under a tab named “parameters”. In Thingiverse, these parameters are listed with no tab.

Example showcasing most features[edit]

/* [Drop down box:] */
// combo box for number
Numbers=2; // [0, 1, 2, 3]

// combo box for string
Strings="foo"; // [foo, bar, baz]

//labeled combo box for numbers
Labeled_values=10; // [10:L, 20:M, 30:XL]

//labeled combo box for string
Labeled_value="S"; // [S:Small, M:Medium, L:Large]

/*[ Slider ]*/
// slider widget for number
slider =34; // [10:100]

//step slider for number
stepSlider=2; //[0:5:100]

/* [Checkbox] */

Variable = true;

/*[Spinbox] */

// spinbox with step size 1
Spinbox = 5; 

/* [Textbox] */

//Text box for vector with more than 4 elements

// Text box for string

/* [Special vector] */
//Text box for vector with less than or equal to 4 elements
Vector1=[12]; //[0:2:50]
Vector2=[12,34]; //[0:2:50]
Vector3=[12,34,46]; //[0:2:50]
Vector4=[12,34,46,24]; //[0:2:50]

Saving Parameters value in JSON file[edit]

This feature, which is unique to openSCAD, gives the user the ability to save the values of all parameters. JSON parameter values can be then reused through the command line.


openscad --enable=customizer -o model-2.stl -p parameters.json -P model-2 model.scad
openscad --enable=customizer -o <output-file> -p <parameteric-file (JSON File) > -P <NameOfSet> <input-file SCAD file >
  • -p is used to give input JSON file in which parameters are saved.
  • -P is used to give the name of the set of the parameters written in JSON file.

And JSON file is written in the following format:

        "FirstSet": {
            "Labeled_values": "13",
            "Numbers": "18",
            "Spinbox": "35",
            "Vector": "[2, 34, 45, 12, 23, 56]",
            "slider": "2",
            "stepSlider": "12",
            "string": "he"
        "SecondSet": {
            "Labeled_values": "10",
            "Numbers": "8",
            "Spinbox": "5",
            "Vector": "[12, 34, 45, 12, 23, 56]",
            "slider": "12",
            "stepSlider": "2",
            "string": "hello"
    "fileFormatVersion": "1"
              "set-name ":{
                         "parameter-name " :"value ",
                         "parameter-name " :"value "
             "set-name ":{
                         "parameter-name " :"value ",
                         "parameter-name " :"value "
    "fileFormatVersion": "1"


Through GUI you can easily apply and save Parameter in JSON file using Present section in Customizer explained below.

In customizer, the first line of options is as follows:

  1. Automatic Preview : If checked preview of model will be automatically updated when you change any parameter in Customizer else you need to click preview button or press F5 after you update parameter in customizer.
  2. Show Details:
    1. Show Details: If chosen, the description for the parameter will be shown below the parameter name.
    2. Inline Details: If chosen, the description for the parameter will be shown right next to the parameter name. Long descriptions get clipped, speak not fully shown. This option is a compromise between vertical space usage and still having part of the description.
    3. Hide Details: It will not be displayed but you still can view the description by hovering the cursor over the input widget.
  3. Reset button which when clicked resets the values of all input widgets for the parameter to the default provided in SCAD file.

Next comes Preset section: It consist of four buttons:

combo Box
It is used to select the set of parameters to be used
+ button
add new set of the parameters
– button
It is used to delete the set selected in combo Box.
save preset button
save/overwrite the current preset

and finally below Preset Section is the Place where you can play with the parameters.

You can also refer to two examples that are Part of OpenSCAD to learn more:

  1. Parametric/sign.scad
  2. Parametric/candlStand.scad

manually create datasets[edit]

You can manually create a dataset by modifying the JSON file according above format and defining your own variables. When a dataset is loaded, only the parameters defined in the dataset are modified, other parameters are NOT set to defaults. This allow one to create partial datasets which are only modifiers, not complete dataset.

hidden parameters[edit]

Variables belonging to the hidden group are stored in the JSON file, but are NOT retrieved from the JSON file.

Meaning: If a variable is moved from the hidden group to an other group, it also becomes applicable. This allows a designer to use the hidden group for reserved variables, that become customizable (and assigend with a different default) in a future version, without breaking existing preset.

A hidden variable can also be used as a "last saved with" indicator, that can be read by manually viewing the JSON file.

The idea is, that the customizer only modifies variables that the user can see and control from the customizer UI.

Tips and Tricks[edit]

Set Range and Stepping[edit]

The customizer tries to guess an appropriate range and stepping. However it can/will be inconsistent, as the customizer does not know your design intent. For example, the customizer also treats numbers like 0.0, 1.0, 2.0 etc. as integers. The customizer also does not know whether or not negative numbers make sense. It is therefor highly recommended to always supply range and step as comments. Keep in mind, that if in doubt, the user can always modify the scad file.

Do not hesitate to limit the range. For instance, in the design of a smart phone holder, limit the size to reasonable smart phone sizes. If someone wants to use your smart phone holder as a tablet holder, he always can directly edit the SCAD file itself. This act also makes the user aware, that the design was not meant as a tablet holder and that he or she might need for example to modify the support structure

Scroll Wheel[edit]

The buttons on the spinboxes are small, but you can use the scroll wheel on your mouse to change the value comfortably. First, click on the spin box to focus the spin box.


color =[edit]

cubeColor = [1,0.5,0]; //[0:0.1:1]
sphereColor = "blue"; // [red, green, blue]