Files with 3ds file extension can be commonly found as 3D computer graphics created using 3D Studio Max software as well its successor product 3ds Max by Autodesk.

There is one other file type using
the 3DS file extension!

empty icon.3ds - Nintendo 3DS ROM image

Detailed description

Software that open 3ds file

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3DS file extension - 3ds Max (3D Studio MAX) graphics

What is 3ds file? How to open 3ds files?

File type specification:

3d graphics, CAD-CAM-CAE file type icon 3d graphics, CAD-CAM-CAE file type

3ds file icon: 3ds filetype icon

File extension 3ds is best known for it's use in in 3D Studio Max. 3DS was the default file format of the old Autodesk 3D Studio DOS, which was popular until its successor (3D Studio MAX 1.0) replaced it in April 1996.

Historically, 3ds is an ancient file format coming from the mid 1980s 16-bit era of home computing, in particular the Atari|ST computer and Tom Hudson's CAD-3D program. As such, it is not a good file format for modern data translation. It has no ability to convey all-important vertex normals (for geometry smoothing); it is limited to DOS 8.3 filenames for texture maps; each object is limited to only 64k polygons and vertices; all meshes must be triangles; object names are limited to only 10 characters and material names to 16 characters. 

The 3ds file format is a merger of the old 1985-era Atari|ST computer's CAD-3D .3d2 file format (from Tom Hudson) and the Antic Animator file formats.

Having been around since 1990 (when the first version of 3D Studio DOS was launched), it has grown to become a de facto industry standard for transferring models between 3D programs, or for storing models for 3D resource catalogs (along with OBJ, which is more frequently used as a model archiving file format).

MIME types used for 3ds Max files:

Updated: November 13, 2023

The default software associated to open 3ds file:

3ds Max (3D Studio Max) icon

Autodesk, Inc. logo3ds Max (3D Studio Max)  Microsoft Windows software

Company or developer:
Autodesk, Inc.

A popular 3D animation software, 3ds Max (previously known as 3D Studio Max) is used by professional to create stunning 3D content. It contains modeling capabilities, flexible plug-in architecture, scripting language, etc. It is mostly used by computer game developers. It is also used to create movie visual effects. 3ds Max is only for Microsoft Windows.

Help how to open:

Primary use 3D Studio Max to open the 3ds files, or any other suitable application.

Third party applications such as Blender can open the *.3ds files as well.

How to convert:

You can use 3D Studio Max or Blender to convert a *.3ds file in to other file format. Alternative would be to use some dedicated conversion program like PolyTrans|CAD+DCC.

Find conversions from 3ds file:

3ds to 3dm

3ds to blend

3ds to dwg

3ds to igs

3ds to skp

3ds to step

3ds to stp

Find converter to 3ds file type:

3dm to 3ds

c4d to 3ds

dwg to 3ds

fbx to 3ds

max to 3ds

skp to 3ds

step to 3ds

File identification strings:

HEX code: 4D 4D
ASCII code: MM

List of software applications associated to the .3ds file extension

Recommended software programs are sorted by OS platform (Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android etc.)
and possible program actions that can be done with the file: like open 3ds file, edit 3ds file, convert 3ds file, view 3ds file, play 3ds file etc. (if exist software for corresponding action in's database).

Click on the tab below to simply browse between the application actions, to quickly get a list of recommended software, which is able to perform the specified software action, such as opening, editing or converting 3ds files.

Software that open 3ds file - 3ds Max (3D Studio MAX) graphics

Programs supporting the exension 3ds on the main platforms Windows, Mac, Linux or mobile. Click on the link to get more information about listed programs for open 3ds file action.

Microsoft Windows:

Main software associated with 3ds file by default:
3ds Max (3D Studio Max) small icon 3ds Max (3D Studio Max)
Other suggested software:
Adobe Photoshop small icon Adobe Photoshop
CINEMA 4D small icon CINEMA 4D
Blender small icon Blender
SketchUp small icon SketchUp
ABViewer small icon ABViewer
TurboCAD small icon TurboCAD



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