PLY (.ply)

Background & Context

    • 3D geometry format.
    • ASCII or binary format.
    • Used for storage and interchange of 3D graphical objects.
    • Known as Stanford Triangle Format.
    • PLY is an acronym derived from polygon.
    • Stores a 3D object as a collection of line and polygon primitives and their properties.
    • Allows user-defined format elements.

Import & Export

Import Elements

  • General Import elements:
  • "Elements"list of elements and options available in this file
    "Rules"full list of rules for each element
    "Options"list of rules for options and settings
    "Summary"summary of properties
    "CoordinateTransform"transformation function from PLY format
  • Data format representation elements:
  • "BinaryFormat"whether the file is a binary or ASCII PLY
    "VertexData"list of vertex coordinates
    "PolygonData"the polygon elements in indexed form
    "UserExtensions"user-defined data associated with polygon vertices
  • Geometry representation elements:
  • "BoundaryMeshRegion"boundary mesh representation of a solid
    "MeshRegion"mesh representation of a surface
  • Graphics representation elements:
  • "Graphics3D"PLY file represented as a Graphics3D object
    "GraphicsComplex"PLY file as a GraphicsComplex object
    "PolygonObjects"list of polygon primitives given in absolute coordinates
  • Import and Export use the "MeshRegion" element by default for PLY files.


  • Export options:
  • "BinaryFormat"Truewhether to write a binary or ASCII file


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Basic Examples  (2)

Import a 3D model from PLY as a MeshRegion object:

Summary properties of the model:

Export a 3D model to a PLY file:

Print the raw textual contents of the file:

Scope  (14)

Import  (7)

Import works on an ASCII PLY file:

Binary PLY file:

Any accessible URL:


Import automatically detects PLY files:

Import provides access to elements in the PLY file:

Import works on large files:

Export  (7)

Export works on graphics:

Export works on 3D graphics:

Special regions:

Formula regions:

Mesh regions:

Export to ASCII PLY file:

Binary PLY file:

Import Elements  (11)

"BinaryFormat"  (1)

Test whether this file is a binary or ASCII PLY:

"BoundaryMeshRegion"  (1)

Give a boundary mesh region:

"Comments"  (1)

Comments to be embedded in the file:

"CoordinateTransform"  (1)

Give the transformation function from the coordinate system used by the PLY format to the coordinate system used in Wolfram Language:

"Graphics3D"  (1)

Give the Graphics3D object:

"GraphicsComplex"  (1)

Give the GraphicsComplex object:

"MeshRegion"  (1)

Give a mesh region:

"PolygonData"  (1)

Give the polygon elements in indexed form:

"PolygonObjects"  (1)

Give the list of Polygon primitives given in absolute coordinates:

"Summary"  (1)

Give the summary of properties:

File size:

"UserExtensions"  (1)

Names of user-defined data fields:

Export Options  (2)

By default, an ASCII file is generated when exporting:

Print the raw textual contents of the file:

Use "BinaryFormat" True to generate a binary file:

Print the raw textual contents of the file: