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Is there any way to run Blender with different configurations?

I am using the installed version of Blender on a Windows system. This automatically creates all configurations (startup.blend, userpref.blend, etc.) in the path C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Blender Foundation\Blender\X.X\config.

I would like to use different configurations when starting Blender by simply creating additional startup files and specifying a different path to the configuration files.

Depending on the situation, I want different add-ons to be activated and different settings to be used. On every startup the same directory should always be used for the add-ons (even if they are not used or activated in a particular configuration). However, when double-clicking on a blend file, the default configuration (!) should always be used.

I'm pretty sure there is a simple solution here without using the portable version, but I'm not sure what variables need to be changed here on Windows or how best to do it.

PS: I have found other solutions for Mac/Linux/Portable, but unfortunately not the installed version for Windows:

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    $\begingroup$ Maybe use Templates? Otherwise you can use environment variable to define startup parameters. Use different shortcuts (scripts, or whatever method you usually use to lauch Blender) with different parameters to launch the different configurations blender.stackexchange.com/a/63666/19307 $\endgroup$ Jan 27 at 17:19
  • $\begingroup$ @DuarteFarrajotaRamos Oh, wonderful! I didn't even know about the templates. I think that's exactly what I was looking for. I'll have to take a closer look. Thank you very much! $\endgroup$
    – quellenform
    Jan 27 at 17:37
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome. Never used them myself, gotta look into those as well $\endgroup$ Jan 27 at 18:07

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In this case, "Templates" seem to be the best solution for Windows, as Duarte Farrajota Ramos has already noted in the comments.

...However, these do not work exactly as described in the official documentation.

Basically, each custom template can have its own settings for userpref.blend, startup.blend and splash.png (as well as run its own scripts on startup).


The procedure is as follows:

First you have to create the folder "bl_app_templates_user" in the path C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Blender Foundation\Blender\X.X\scripts\startup\.
(USERNAME must be replaced with your username and X.X with your Blender version)

In this path a folder for your personal template will be created. I choose the name "Custom Template" for the sake of simplicity.

However, this must be done with underscores, so the final path must be as follows: C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Blender Foundation\Blender\X.X\scripts\startup\bl_app_templates_user\Custom_Template\.

Here then optionally own configuration files can be stored. According to the manuals these are:

  • startup.blend
  • userpref.blend
  • splash.png (1500x500 px !)
  • __init__.py

Important: The most important point is that the file userpref.blend is present in any case!

If this file is not present, the settings will be stored in the main configuration file C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Blender Foundation\Blender\X.X\config\userpref.blend instead!

Only if this file is present, individual settings of the template are stored in a separate file, which is then located here and is created automatically as soon as settings are changed: C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Blender Foundation\Blender\X.X\config\Custom_Template\userpref.blend.

So the userpref.blend in the path scripts\startup\bl_app_templates_user\Custom_Template\ serves as the basis for your own settings within this template.


Briefly summarized to repeat:

  1. Find Blender configuration path, e.g. C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Blender Foundation\Blender\X.X\.
  2. Create there a folder named scripts\startup\bl_app_templates_user\Custom_Template\.
  3. In this folder save the custom files (userpref.blend, startup.blend, etc.)

And after that, all personal settings for the template based on these files will be automatically saved in config\Custom_Template\.

The templates can then be easily switched via File > New, or selected on startup at the splash screen.

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