There are 8 other file types using
the STL file extension!

empty icon.stl - C++ standard template library

empty icon.stl - ClarisWorks data

stl icon.stl - Micrografx Designer stylesheet

empty icon.stl - EBU-standard open and teletext

stl icon.stl - Adobe Fireworks style library

empty icon.stl - SPEFO stellar spectra analysis

empty icon.stl - Win2020 screen subtitle

empty icon.stl - ROSE Online game data

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STL file extension - Stereolithography CAD data

What is stl file? How to open stl files?

File type specification:

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

File extension stl is probably best known for its use for 3D format used for 3D printers.

STL stands for Standard Tessellation Language, and as a format was developed by the Albert Consulting Group (Albert-Battaglin Consulting Group today) for 3D Systems in 1987 for moving 3D CAD models to its stereolithography apparatus (SLA) machines. Historically, the use of this format is tightly tied with stereolithography - 3D printing in series slices.

A, stl file describe only the surface geometry of a 3D object without any representation of color, texture or other common CAD model attributes. It exists in both binary and ASCII format and probably many variants were created through the years.

It is easy to output, so most CAD programs that deal with 3D models can export to STL.

Note that STL is one of the world's worst 3D file formats. Many people continue to believe it is a high quality CAD file format when that has little reality. It should never be used to convert data from one 3D program to another, and especially not from any CAD program. If you are sent a STL file then the data vendor should be asked for the original, native CAD file, IGES or STEP file instead.

A .stl file only contains a run of individual triangles with only vertex information and nothing else. There is no accurate vertex normals smoothing information, no uv texture coordinates or vertex colors, no materials, no hierarchy, no lights, no cameras, etc. It doesn't get much worse.

Note: In Windows, the STL extension is by default associated with Certificate Trust List. This is not in any way related to stereolithography.

MIME type:

Updated: November 9, 2023

The default software associated to open stl file:

TurboCAD icon

IMSI/Design, LLC. logoTurboCAD  Microsoft Windows software

Company or developer:
IMSI/Design, LLC.

TurboCAD is the premium 2D/3D designing software used to architectural and mechanical design.

TurboCAD for Mac icon

IMSI/Design, LLC. logoTurboCAD for Mac  Apple macOS / Mac OS X software

Company or developer:
IMSI/Design, LLC.

TurboCAD for Mac is CAD designing software making it easy to design anything. Through a simple interface, use the design wizard to quickly layout floor plans, diagrams, and illustrations. Access over 38,000 pre-drawn CAD symbols and 1,000 floor plans to speed design.

Help how to open:

Many prototyping and solid modeling CAD programs can import or at least view STL format. Also used in 3D printers.

How to convert:

Whole models and prototypes in 3D CAD formats can be exported for use in STL.

Find conversions from stl file:

stl to dwg

stl to dxf

stl to iges

stl to ipt

stl to prt

stl to skp

stl to sldprt

Find converter to stl file type:

dwg to stl

ipt to stl

skp to stl

sldasm to stl

sldprt to stl

stp to stl

x_t to stl

List of software applications associated to the .stl 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 stl file, edit stl file, convert stl file, view stl file, play stl 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 stl files.

Software that open stl file - Stereolithography CAD data

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

Microsoft Windows:

Main software associated with stl file by default:
TurboCAD small icon TurboCAD
Other suggested software:
SolidWorks small icon SolidWorks
Pro/Engineer (Creo Elements/Pro) small icon Pro/Engineer (Creo Elements/Pro)
CATIA small icon CATIA
3D Builder small icon 3D Builder
Creo Parametric small icon Creo Parametric

Apple macOS / Mac OS X:

Main software associated with stl file by default:
TurboCAD for Mac small icon TurboCAD for Mac
Other suggested software:
Afanche 3D Viewer for Mac
AutoQ3D for Mac small icon AutoQ3D for Mac

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