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The User Preferences window (ReferenceWindows-InfoWindowType.png) is where you customize and set program-wide options for Blender. By default this window is located at the top and only the header (which contains Blender’s main menu) is visible.

User Preferences window header.

To see all of the User Preferences window and its contents, you need to drag it into view. You can do this by hovering the mouse over its bottom edge (or the top of the 3D View just below…), and then click LMB Template-LMB.png and drag downwards. In the (User Preferences visible) picture, the User Preferences window has been made visible at the top.

User Preferences visible (called here “Info”…).

When viewing all of the User Preferences window, you can customize Blender to fit your personality or machine capabilities. For example, you may not like the default theme and switch to the Rounded one. Or your machine may not be able to handle Vertex Arrays, so you switch them off…

For an in depth look at the User Preferences window, read its reference section, as well as this manual page. There you will find all the details on configuring Blender.

User Preferences and Themes

In Blender, you can customize your defaults, and once you are satisfied, save them via File » Save Default Settings (CtrlU). If you ever want to start completely over, simply restore “factory” settings via File » Load Factory Settings.

Blender has a few options that are not saved with each file, but which apply to all of a user’s files instead. These preferences primarily concern the user interface handling details, system properties like mouse, fonts, and languages.

As the user preferences are rarely needed, they are neatly hidden behind the main menu. To make them visible, pull down the window border of the menu (usually the topmost border in the screen). The settings are grouped into seven categories which can be selected with the bottom row of buttons shown in (User Preferences window).

User Preferences window.
The View & Controls tab.
The Edit Methods tab.
The Language & Font tab.
The Themes tab.
The Auto Save tab.
The System & OpenGL tab.
The File Paths tab.
Because most buttons are self-explanatory, or display a helpful tool-tip if you hold the mouse still over them, we won’t describe them in detail here. Instead, we will just give you an overview of the preference categories and some suggestions.
Nevertheless, these settings will also be tackled in relevant chapters…

Saving your Preferences

When you press CtrlU, you will save a file called .B.blend in the .blender folder underneath your Blender installation that contains the present setup, including all screens and scenes. Please note that because of its weird file name (starting with a dot), most OS’s may try to hide it from you. Also, it might be saved in an “Application Data” directory specific to your user profile. If it is not saving your changes, be sure you have security rights set to allow changes to files in the folder – this is especially a problem with Microsoft Vista/7, as it definitely does not by default allow any program to change any file in the Program Files directory.

In any event, it is a plain old .blend file, so if you have objects and so on in your file when you CtrlU, those will also be the default the next time you start.

If the file is lost or accidentally deleted, Blender will re-create it on the next startup, with the default factory settings.

It is also possible to open blender, save the current new project without editing anything. This file (e.g. settings.blend) contains all the preferences like the .B.blend file. Saving the preferences this way can help users to save the settings without digging into any special folders of windows.