Opening STL files

Have a problem opening a .STL file? We collect information about file formats and can explain what STL files are. Additionally we recommend software suitable for opening or converting such files.

What is the .STL file type?

As an abbreviation for 'Style,' the filename extension .stl is primarily associated with the Adobe Fireworks Style Library (.stl) file type. A style library (.stl) is a binary file in Adobe-owned proprietary format storing definitions of multiple object or text styles that can be loaded and used in Adobe Fireworks, a commercial bitmap and vector drawing and web graphics design software product by Adobe Systems Software. A style is a collection of several effects applied to a graphical or text object that can be easily re-used. Within Adobe Fireworks, style libraries can be loaded or saved as .stl files to an arbitrary location using the Styles panel. STL style libraries are available for downloading from different Adobe Fireworks-focused resources on the Internet.

Alternatively, standing for 'Stereolithography,' the extension .stl is associated with the STL (Stereolithography) file format and represents the STL 3D Model (.stl) file type. Developed by 3D Systems in 1987 and now widely used for 3D printing and Rapid Prototyping (RP), STL allows to describe three-dimensional surfaces using multiple interconnected triangles. An .stl file is either an ASCII or binary representation of a 3D model in the STL format. Import and export of STL models is presently supported in many 3D modeling or CAD/CAM applications, and additionally a number of STL viewers/converters exist.

Besides, the .stl extension is associated with STL, a simple text-based subtitle format developed by Spruce Technologies for subtitling digital video with rich formatting capabilities. Saved either as plain text or using the RTF format, an .stl subtitle file contains time-coded phrases and optional formatting commands. STL subtitles are supported by several multimedia players and authoring tools. The same filename extension (.stl) is shared by another subtitle format, EBU STL, which is a European Broadcasting Union standard, different from the Spruce STL format.

Software to open or convert STL files

You can open STL files with the following programs:
Macromedia Fireworks MX
Cura by Ultimaker
Meshmixer by Autodesk, Inc.
Simplify3D Software
Simplify3D Software by Simplify3D

Popular formats