Find and import files from the Content Browser

In the Content Browser, you can navigate through folders in different locations, search for files in the Content panel, and then import or reference those files.

Navigating the folders

Expand the folder structure in the browsing panel on the left and select a folder to display its contents in the Content panel on the right.

Note: By default, the Content Browser opens to the Examples tab, but the next time you open it, it goes to the last location you selected.

Element in Content Browser

Lets you do this

1: Tabs in the browsing panel

Find the location of the data you want to load, then expand the folder structure and select a folder to display its contents in the Content panel:

  • Projects displays your project in a tree view. By default, it displays the current project, but you can select another one from the Current Project list at the top of this tab.

    Click the Set Project button at the bottom of this tab to open a browser in which you can select and set a different project as current, or click the Project Window button to open the Project Window in which you can create a new project or modify the existing one.

  • File System displays your local or network directories in a tree view.
  • Examples displays a library of example content from the Maya installation \Examples folder.
  • Favorites displays folders and files you have added as favorites.

    See Customize the Content Browser for information about adding to the Favorites tab and creating your own folders there.

2: Path bar

Select or enter an absolute path to find content:

  • Click a folder name in the path bar to open that folder directly.
  • Enter an absolute path name in the path bar to open that folder. This can be path to a folder that is local or on a network.

3: Back/forward arrows

Navigate among the previous and next locations you have already visited.

4: Navigation arrow

Open a menu that displays the recent navigation history. Select a location to go to it.

5: Go Up One Directory Level icon

Click the icon in the Content panel to open the directory above the current folder and display its content in the Content panel.

6: Search field

Search the contents that are currently displayed in the Content panel - see below for details.

7: File

Import a file into your scene in different ways, such as by dragging and dropping it into a view panel. You can also reference the contents of the file - see below for details.

Searching for files

You can search for files in the contents of the current folder using the Search field at the top of the Content panel:

  • Start typing a string to find files that match. The files are automatically filtered to match the string as you type.
  • Use wildcards (*), such as *ee, to find any file whose name contains that string.
  • Enter a file type extension (such as .ma or .jpg) to find all files of that type.

To clear the Search field, click the X at the right end of it, or select the contents and press the Delete or Backspace keys.

Importing or referencing files into the scene

You can import one or more files from the Content panel into your scene, or you can reference them. When a file is referenced, its contents are visible in your scene, but they're not loaded into the scene. You can manipulate and edit objects from a referenced file, but any edits you make remain in your current scene. The original objects remain untouched in their original file - see File Referencing for more information.

To import one or more files

To reference a file

  1. Right-click one or more selected .ma, .mb, or .fbx files and choose Create Reference. You can also click the icon to open Import Options with the same options set as in Reference Options.

    The objects in the file appear in your scene as referenced objects, which are identified by a blue diamond icon in the Outliner.

    For more information on working with referenced files, see File Referencing.