Setting (and keeping) the sort order in the Scene Explorer to the sequence in which the objects were created

By - - 3ds Max
2 mins
Last modification: 16 Sep, 2017

The default sort orders for the Scene Explorers are:

Scene Explorer command Sort order
"Select from Scene" (h key) by Name
Tools->Open Container Explorer sequence in which the objects were created
Tools->New Scene Explorer sequence in which the objects were created
Animation->Simulation-MassFX->Utilities-Open MassFX Explorer by Name


For the middle two: if you change the sort order by clicking on a column there is no way to get the "sequence in which the objects were created" back in the UI. Ok, if you can't do it in the UI surely we can edit some config files? Indeed!


The files are stored in the user configuration files:

  • Windows XP: C:\\Document and Settings\\\\Local Settings\\Application Data\\Autodesk\\3dsMax\\2012 - 64bit\\enu\\plugcfg\\ExplorerConfig\\SceneExplorer\\
  • Windows 7: C:\\Users\\\\AppData\\Local\\Autodesk\\3dsMax\\2012 - 64bit\\enu\\plugcfg\\ExplorerConfig\\SceneExplorer\\


The configuration files in that folder are:

  • DefaultContainerExplorer.ini (used for Tools->Open Container Explorer)
  • DefaultDynamicsExplorer.ini (used for Animation->Simulation-MassFX->Utilities-Open MassFX Explorer)
  • DefaultModelSceneExplorer.ini (used for Select from Scene)
  • DefaultSceneExplorer.ini (used for Tools->New Scene Explorer)


Open the files in a text editor and edit the line ColumnSortStates=Ascending/Name so that it reads ColumnSortStates=Ascending/Date instead.


One final thing: the settings get written back to the .ini files so that change would be undone.

To prevent this happening you can set these files to read-only. If you then change the sort order in the UI and would like to go back to the sequence in which the objects were created you would just close the scene explorer and open it again (as the file is read each time the scene explorer is opened).

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1 Comment
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| 9 years ago
IMHO: Merge "Scene Explorer", "Select by Name", "Layer Manager" etc. You can vote for this here: