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User Interface Design

With the forthcoming release of Blender 2.8, addons need to be updated. This document serves as a guide to addon developers on how to integrate with the Blender’s UI in 2.8.

Old addons

In 2.7x, there was a convention to put all addons inside the toolbar (T-key). This was somewhat a random accident of history, in that the toolbar was always just a list of duplicated quick commands. Because of the new way tools are handled in 2.8, this may no longer be appropriate.

Depending on what type of addon you are making, you should integrate into the 2.8 UI in different ways. Below are several scenarios that illustrate what to do in common cases.


If your addon is simply an operator command (eg such as Subdivide, Symmetrize, Convert, Join etc.) there is no need to add a panel or a button at all. Simply register and add your command into the appropriate menu inside the correct viewport and mode.


  • Object mode selection operator should be placed in the 3D View > Object Mode > Object menu
  • Object mode mesh editing operator should be placed in the 3D View > Edit Mode > Vertex, Edge or Face menu, depending on which is the appropriate

You can also register and add your command to the contextual menu (right click menu)

For quick access, users can add your command to their custom Quick Commands menu (Q key)


If your addon makes sense as an active tool (anything that is interactive inside the viewport), your addon can register itself as an active tool in the toolbar.


  • Active tool to interactively add objects by dragging
  • Active tool to interactively bend or curve a mesh

The settings pertaining to the active tool will automatically be added to the Tool Properties section.

Toolbar Icons

Tools in the toolbar have to supply an icon. Here's how:

In blender 2.8 we have the possibility of creating binary icon files (.dat) from blender files (.blend). You can see some examples of these blender files with icons in the "icon_geom.blend" in the library with the blender dependencies. (..lib/resources/icon_geom.blend).

This library is located in Blender's Resources SVN repository, here:

To create the actual icons, follow the built-in README.txt inside icon_geom.blend. This will guide you through creating the icon mesh correctly.

Once you do the geometry in blender, you can transform it into a binary icon file with the command:

icon_file.blend --background --python ./release/datafiles/ --


Perhaps your addon is best described as a list of custom properties that attach themselves to a data ID block. If this is the case, consider adding a panel inside the Properties Editor.


Addons may add a custom template, which alters the way Blender looks and functions. This may be appropriate for addons that intend to completely change the focus of Blender, such as a 3D-printing addon, or architecture addon.


  • Architecture modeling addon
  • Children-focused extra simple version of Blender

All of the Above

Addons don't have to fall strictly into any of the categories outlined above. They can combine any of the above approaches in the same addon.