Startup File

What is a Startup File in Blender?

There is a single file stored in the config folder of blender called startup.blend. This is a standard ordinary blender file – nothing special about it except that it usually contains very few objects. Its purpose is straightforward – it provides a starting template so that when you begin a new drawing, there are specific pre-set settings just like you always want them for every drawing. The startup.blend drawing often has a single custom object that provides a guide as to the orientation of a scene when you first start.

Once we have become at least familiar with Blender, we tend to set up a whole lot of things before we get started. The idea of the startup.blend file is that you set up all your settings and objects that you usually have in the drawing when you start, and then before you begin the new drawing, all those settings are automatically there already.

A typical startup drawing would contain:

  • A particular object which you like to have when you start up for reference purposes, like a life-size model of a person if you draw things with people-sized objects; or a basic model of a house if you are doing architectural work; or a simplified solar system model if you make planet-sized sci-fi pictures; or even just a humble cube of 2M x 2M x 2M. Some people prefer to begin a drawing with nothing in it at all, and the first thing they do when starting a new drawing is delete the default cube, so their startup drawing would have no object in it.
  • A system of units and their appropriate scale and clipping values. See this article on setting up Blender to work in mm.
  • A set of activated add-ons and settings that you always use. See these articles
  • A viewport setup.
  • A bunch of pre-defined lights and cameras, all in their own Collection with visibility turned off.
  • A set of empty Collections in a hierarchical structure in the Outliner panel.
  • When using blender on a dual-monitor screen, you can set up the startup file to display viewports and editors on both monitors. Alternatively, you might configure blender on a 3-monitor setup, to begin with, a full-screen modelling viewport on one monitor, a Quad View on another monitor, and the Asset browser, Outliner editor, and Properties panel on the third monitor. Imagine setting all that up every time you started a new drawing?
A Dual-Monitor setup

How do we Set Up this Startup.blend File?

It’s easy! All you do is start a new file in Blender. Keep what you want in, remove what you don’t, configure your units system, set up your viewports, etc… When you are done, save the drawing as a Startup file:

Go to Defaults under the File pull-down menu and click Save Startup File

From now on Blender will begin a new file using these settings until you overwrite it with another Startup.blend file.

Where is the Startup.blend file actually kept?

C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Blender Foundation\Blender\3.0\config


/Users/Username/Library/Application Support/Blender/3.0/config

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