Loading max with custom UI from command line


According to the help files I should be able to load a custom ui setup when firing up max from the command line. The help file tells us the following:

To start 3ds Max with a custom user interface from the command line:

  1. Save your custom UI scheme with a descriptive base file name with the Save Custom UI Scheme dialog.
  2. Right-click the 3ds Max icon on the Windows desktop, and choose Properties.
  3. In the Target field, change 3dsmax.exe to 3dsmax.exe -c, followed by the name of your .cui file.

Example: 3dsmax.exe -c myfile.cui. Be sure to leave a space both before and after the -c.

If you want to move the UI scheme to a different computer, copy all the files in the 3dsmax\UI\ folder that start with the custom UI scheme base name to the new 3dsmax\UI\ folder. Alternately, you can add the path name to the command line.

Unfortunately I cannot seem to get this to work and I have tried many different ways. Max always seems to load the last saved UI (toolbars at least) from the user folders, EVEN when I have ‘Save UI configuration on Exit’ turned off.

This is also where the confusion starts. I am using max 2024 at the moment, but already ran into this with 2021. Max does not save a .CUI file by default anymore, instead it saves a .UI file when using the ‘Customize - Save Custom UI scheme…’ option in the main toolbar. I feel that autodesk has done changes to the UI loading and saving, but they didn’t document it too well and also forgot about the command line option there.

Have any of you ever played with the command line argument and custom UI. Or can anyone provide me with a nice alternative sollution? I have to fire up a test environment for my colleagues where they will be presented with a toolbar setup with limited custom buttons.

other command line arguments work fine, for example loading a diffenent 3dsmax.ini and plugin.ini file

I had some succes with setting up different ‘workspaces’ and using

WorkspaceManager.SetCurrentWorkspaceByIdentifier “developmentWorkspace”

But that will fire up max first, and only after a full load it will shift the UI and all the colors which is a whole lot less elegant in my opinion


The -c argument dosn’t work at all. You should setup so many thing to achieve your goal. create an custom ini file and set some settings before run, some options that help you:


Save your startup script in “Additional Startup Scripts” folder and load custom ui using that script

Additional Startup Scripts=C:\Users\Mehdi\AppData\Local\Autodesk\3dsMax\2024 - 64bit\ENU\scripts\startup
MaxData=C:\Users\Mehdi\AppData\Local\Autodesk\3dsMax\2024 - 64bit\ENU\


If nothing else works, you may want to go with a very simple solution, just have two (or more) backup folders:


Then have a .BAT to copy either of them to the ENU folder and launch Max: