Customizing the User Interface


3ds Max gives you a wealth of options for customizing the user interface to best suit your working style. You can rearrange its components, including the menu bar, toolbars, and command panel. You can also resize the viewport windows dynamically. You can specify which toolbars should appear and which should not, and create your own keyboard shortcuts, custom toolbars, and quad menus. You can also customize the user interface colors.

For procedures that tell how to rearrange and resize UI components, see Useful Customization Techniques. Various other customization options are available from the Customize menu.

  • Useful Customization Techniques

    This topic offers procedures for customizing the 3ds Max user interface, including methods for rearranging and resizing UI components. Various other customization options are available from the Customize menu.

  • Customize Display Right-Click Menu

    The Customize Display right-click menu displays when you right-click over a blank area of a toolbar (not when the cursor is over a button) or certain parts of the command panel. Use this menu to toggle the display of various user-interface elements, customize the display of toolbars, and dock or float items such as the command panel.

  • Show UI

    The Show UI submenu lets you toggle user interface elements in the workspace, so that you can customize your screen as you work. You can turn these elements on and off as you need by choosing them from the menu, maximizing the efficiency of your workspace. The settings are stored in the maxstart.cui file, so they remain after you shut down and restart 3ds Max.

  • Lock UI Layout

    When the Lock UI Layout toggle is active, you cannot modify the user interface layout by dragging interface elements. (You can still use the right-click menu to do so, however.) Use this command to prevent user interface changes or inadvertent actions, such as floating toolbars, from happening due to mouse clicks.

  • Plug-In Manager

    The Plug-in Manager lets you manage plug-ins dynamically without any initialization required. The Plug-in Manager provides a list of all plug-ins found in the 3ds Max plug-in directories, including the plug-in description, type (object, helper, modifier, and so on), status (loaded or deferred), size, and path. The Plug-in Manager provides options to load any plug-in, regardless where it resides on disk. The Plug-in Manager is similar to Summary Info, but with more options.

  • Custom UI and Defaults Switcher

    Artists and designers in different industries use 3ds Max in different ways. The Custom UI and Defaults Switcher lets you quickly change your program defaults and UI scheme to more closely match the type of work you are doing.

  • COM/DCOM Server Control Utility

    The COM/DCOM Server Control utility supports plug-ins and third-party programs that use the COM (Component Object Model). The idea behind the COM is to expose the core of 3ds Max so applications can invoke 3ds Max to generate images.

  • Customize User Interface Dialog

    The Customize User Interface dialog lets you create an entirely customized user interface, including shortcuts, quad menus, menus, toolbars, and colors. You can also add commands and macro scripts by selecting either a text or icon button to represent the command or script on the toolbar.

  • Saving and Loading Custom User Interfaces

    You can customize your workspace by saving and loading custom user interface (UI) schemes.

  • Configure Paths

    You can configure the paths used for 3ds Max scenes, plug-in components, external files such as bitmaps or MAXScript scripts, and so on.

  • Preferences

    3ds Max offers many options for its display and operation. These options are available on the Preference Settings dialog in a series of tabbed panels.

  • Units Setup Dialog

    The Units Setup dialog establishes the unit display method, giving you the choice between generic units and standard units (feet and inches, or metric). You can also create custom units, which are used whenever you create an object.

  • Viewport Configuration

    The Viewport Configuration dialog provides controls for setting viewport-control options.

  • Strokes

    Strokes are a way to assign command shortcuts to mouse or tablet drag patterns. For many operations, strokes are more convenient than keyboard shortcuts because they can select an object and apply a command to it.