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    Quick Tip - Saving 3dsmax file for older versions backward compatibility


    This is a quick tip on How to save a max file so that it can be opened in a previous version of 3ds Max.

    Backward compatibility option was added to 3ds Max since version 2011. This is how you use it - Instead of clicking File/Save, use File/Save As. Give a name to the file in the file_name text box. Below it, you will find a Save as type dropdown list, where you can choose which previous version of Max do you want to save your file as. The first option "3ds Max (*.max)" will always save the file in the format which will only be compatible with your current version of 3ds Max. If you choose any of the options below the first one, your file will be compatible with the chosen version (and higher - since forward compatibility is always true - well atleast till 2013 !).

    Based on which version of 3ds Max you use currently, the number of max versions shown in the dropdown will differ. Max 2013 will show these 3 :

    • 3ds Max 2010
    • 3ds Max 2011
    • 3ds Max 2012

    Max 2012 will show these 2 :

    • 3ds Max 2010
    • 3ds Max 2011

    And Max 2011 will show only one backward compatible option :

    • 3ds Max 2010

    Remember, though the Save as Previous feature allows you to save your file as previous versions, donot trust it too much. If your scene is pretty basic with just models and textures, it probably will open fine in the previous version, but if your scene uses any of the new features introduced in your current version, then those new features will not be compatible with an older version of 3ds Max.

    To find out which version of Max was used to save a particular file, go to Application Menu/Properties/File Properties and click on the Contents tab. The Saved As Version can be found there. The file version that you see in the file properties are numeric point release versions of 3ds Max, and they will not be 2011 or 2012 or 2013. Instead you will find numbers like 3ds Max version 13.00, or 14.00 . Here is a handy mapping table of Max versions :

    • 3ds Max 2009 : 11.00
    • 3ds Max 2010 - 12.00
    • 3ds Max 2011 - 13.00
    • 3ds Max 2012 : 14.00
    • 3ds Max 2013 : 15.00
    • 3ds Max 2014 : 16.00
    written 4 Years ago by
    Avatar image of CG Helpline user team

    Last edited by team
    on 2013-04-18 13:28:36

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