How increase/decrease undo steps?

I've been working on a mesh in edit mode, and have done several hundred actions. After realizing I was clearly going in the wrong direction, I hit Ctrl+Z a bunch of times, but it only took me back 20-30 steps.

If I leave edit mode and press undo, it undoes ALL the hard work I've been working on for the past hour and a half.

I know I probably can't save this mesh, but how can I get more undo actions when in edit mode?

• Fun fact: In ancient times, before Blender 2.3, Blender had no universal undo at all. There were the tempsave files and the fact that you worked with a copy of the mesh when entering editmode. The real mesh would get updated when you'd leave editmode. So you had the opportunity to revert your mesh to the state it was in when you entered edit mode. That was about all the undo you had. And even after 2.3, undo stayed edit mode only for some releases. Since I started with 2.12, I can testify that you could still get things done (: – Haunt_House Sep 21 '13 at 0:29

As mentioned on the Blender wiki page on undo, there is the User level of undo, and the System level.

User level:

Expanding on the existing answers, You can configure the number of undo steps in User Preferences > Editing:

or Preferences > System > Memory & Limits in 2.8:

However, this value is arbitrarily limited to 64 256, or the Memory limit value. In other words, Steps is the maximum possible amount of undo steps, no matter what the Memory limit is set at.

Note that edit mode undo steps and object mode undo steps are stored separately, so you can have 256 edit mode undo steps and simultaneously have 256 object mode undo steps. (if you have enough memory)

System level:

You could use blenders autosave features to do something like zeffi suggested automatically.

• Save on Quit
The function Save on Quit is enabled by default in Blender. Blender will always save your files when you quit the application under normal operation.

• Save Versions
This option tells Blender to keep the indicated number of saved versions of your file in your current working directory when you manually save a file. These files will have the extension: .blend1, .blend2, etc., with the number increasing to the number of versions you specify. Older files will be named with a higher number. e.g. With the default setting of 2, you will have three versions of your file: *.blend (your last save), *.blend1 (your second last save) and *.blend2 (your third last save).

• Auto Save Temporary Files
Checking this box tells Blender to automatically save a backup copy of your work-in-progress to the Temp directory (refer to the File panel in the User Preferences window for its location). This will also enable the Timer(mins) control which specifies the number of minutes between each Auto Save. The default value of the Blender installation is 5 (5 minutes). The minimum is 1, and the Maximum is 60 (Save at every one hour).The Auto Saved files are named using a random number and have a .blend extension.

Settings are in User preferences > File:

Or Preferences > Save & Load in 2.8:

I personally use a combination of automated saving and manual saving, and always save or at least duplicate the object when doing something destructive such as applying a modifier.

Images are from the wiki

• The downside to automated process is the lack of 'contextual naming', by manually naming new versions of the file it is possible to say something more about the file that can't be expressed through numbers. – zeffii Sep 20 '13 at 21:13
• @zeffii True, but you could (provided you have a camera setup) use the thumbnail previews. I can usually find versions of files I want from looking at the thumbnails. – gandalf3 Sep 20 '13 at 21:22
• Indeed, can't argue with that! – zeffii Sep 20 '13 at 21:54
• Helps to sort by date as well, assuming you know when it might have been saved. Not really sure why the autosaves have such useless names, can't be that hard to get the current file name and append the date+time. – Greg Zaal Jul 16 '14 at 12:19
• As stated in this tweet by AgenZasBrothers (a small german Blender studio) since version 2.74 the undo limit is raised to 256. – Samoth Apr 21 '15 at 7:37

I tend to save frequently, mostly with different file names. This way I can have named restore points.

For example when working on a model and about to make destructive changes then I might save the type of change as a postfix to the filename.

armchair_00.blend
armchair_01.blend
armchair_02.blend
armchair_03.blend
armchair_04_legs.blend
armchair_05.blend
armchair_06.blend
armchair_07_back.blend
armchair_08.blend
armchair_09_decoration.blend
armchair_10_back.blend


This requires a bit of conscious effort on saving and thinking ahead, but it can save you much grief if you find out the undo doesn't go back to where you want. The downside to this method is that you can get rather many files in your project directory, a solution is to regularly prune older versions.

Gandalf3 points out that you can make the sequential naming a piece of cake by using the + and - buttons in the File Save window.

You can also use + and - on the numpad to increment the number. Hold Shift to increment by 10, and hold Ctrl to increment by 100

• +1 Maybe add a note about the + and - buttons for adding numbers when saving? – gandalf3 Sep 20 '13 at 20:32
• I have never used those, adding the number manually is muscle reflex from other programs, but yes, i'm sure +/- are convenient if you learn to use them. – zeffii Sep 20 '13 at 20:58
• There's buttons for this now? This feature exists at least since 2.12 and numpad plus and numpad minus are the shortcuts. – Haunt_House Sep 21 '13 at 0:20

You can set the number of Undo steps in the Editing tab in User Preferences. More steps means more memory will be allocated to this function. If you set the Memory Limit to 0 then Blender will use whatever is available to it

The number of undo steps can be configured in the User Preferences (Editing tab), but 64 256 is the maximum possible value.
You can also set a memory limit where 0 means unlimited.

• As commented in the accepted answer, the undo limit has been raised with Blender 2.74 to be able to set up to 256 undo steps. – Samoth Apr 21 '15 at 7:41
• @Samoth thanks! I had totally missed this change. – TobiMarg Apr 23 '15 at 15:55