How to Open, Edit, and Convert DAE Files

Screenshot of several DAE files that open with Photoshop in Windows 10

 Screenshot

A file with the DAE file extension is a Digital Asset Exchange file. As the name implies, it's used by various graphics programs to exchange digital assets under the same format. They may be images, textures, 3D models, etc.

DAE files are based on the XML COLLADA format, which is short for Collaborative Design Activity.

Note: Even though their file extensions look similar, DAE files have nothing to do with DAA, DAT, or DAO (Disk at Once CD/DVD Image) files.

How to Open a DAE File

DAE files can be opened or imported into Adobe Photoshop, SketchUp, Chief Architect, DAZ Studio, Cheetah3D, Cinema 4D, MODO, and Autodesk's AutoCAD, 3ds Max, and Maya programs. Other applications probably support the DAE format too, like the free and open source Blender tool.

Note: The COLLADA plugin for Maya and 3ds Max is required for those programs, and this COLLADA plugin is needed in order to open DAE files in Blender.

Another DAE opener for Linux is GLC Player. MacOS users can use Apple Preview to open the DAE file. Some DAE files may also open in Esko's free Studio Viewer.

Clara.io is a free and easy way to view DAE files in your web browser so that you don't have to download any software.

Note: Some file types can be viewed with a program that uses text files exclusively. While this is true for a DAE file too since they're XML-based, it's not the ideal solution since it will just show you the text that makes up the file. The best way to view a 3D DAE file is to use a full-fledged viewer, like one of the above programs.

If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the DAE file but it's the wrong application or would rather have another installed program open DAE files, there are guides for making that change in Windows.

How to Convert a DAE File

One easy to use DAE converter is Online 3D Converter. Just upload the DAE file to the website and choose between different formats to save it as, like OBJ, 3DS, STL, PLY, X, and others.

FBX Converter is a free tool from Autodesk for Windows and macOS that converts DAE files to FBX, with support for multiple versions of the FBX format.

DAE files can also be converted to GLB files for use in Cesium. You can do this with Cesium's own online COLLADA to gITF tool.

After importing a DAE file into SketchUp Pro, the program can be used to export the model to DWG, DXF, and several other similar formats.