What Is a DAE File?

How to open, edit, & convert DAE files

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.

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

DAE is also short for some technology terms that have nothing to do with this file format, such as disk array enclosure and digital audio engine.

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.

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.

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, such as 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 you'd rather have another installed program open DAE files, we have a guide on how to make 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, 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 CesiumJS. 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.

Still Can't Open the File?

If you can't open your file at this point, it's likely that you're dealing with a file that's in a completely different format. This can happen rather easily if you've misread the file extension. Some extensions look similar even though the file formats are unrelated.

For example, DAE files have nothing to do with DAR, DAA, DAT, or DAO (Disk at Once CD/DVD Image) files.

ADE is another one you might confuse for DAE. Although all the same file extension letters are present, ADE files are Access Project Extension files that can only be used in the Microsoft Access program.