.PLY File Extension

2 file types use the .ply file extension.

Finale Playback File

Developer MakeMusic
3.6  |  17 Votes

What is a PLY file?

A PLY file is a music file created by MakeMusic Finale music notation and playback software. It stores MIDI audio data for sheet music that Finale plays when a user plays back a musical composition. PLY files also store settings for how to play back the piece, including the mode, style, and when to begin and stop.

More Information

MakeMusic Finale is a widely-used music notation application for composing musical scores. It comes with various tools for writing compositions and recording them.

Finale allows you to play back music from scores you created, and earlier versions of Finale created PLY playback files for playing music from a custom score. Creating a PLY file to store the audio playback of a score helped reduce required computer resources when playing large score files with Finale.

To create a PLY file with earlier versions of Finale (like Finale 2006), open the Playback window and click Save File. Unfortunately, Finale does not automatically update PLY files when you update the associated score. Instead, you must recreate the PLY file.

How to open a PLY file

You can open a PLY file with MakeMusic Finale in Windows and macOS. To open a PLY file with Finale, select File → Open.

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Programs that open PLY files


Polygon Model

Developer Stanford University
3.6  |  7 Votes

A PLY file may also be a 3D image file created using the Polygon File Format, an open standard that describes objects as a collection of polygons. It contains a header followed by a list of vertices that specify the shape of each polygon.

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Screenshot of a .ply file in Microsoft 3D Builder
PLY file open in Microsoft 3D Builder

PLY files are used by many different 3D programs. They may be saved in either a binary or plain text format.

Often, PLY files contain 3D models, which users view or edit in 3D modeling programs such as Blender or Microsoft 3D Builder.

NOTE: Since the PLY file format was developed at Stanford University, it is also known as the Stanford Triangle Format.

How to open a PLY file

PLY file open in Microsoft Visual Studio Code
PLY file open in Microsoft Visual Studio Code

You can open a PLY file with Microsoft 3D Builder (Windows), Apple Preview (Mac), Blender (multiplatform), or Prisma3D (Android).

You can also open plain text PLY files with any text editor, such as Microsoft Notepad (Windows) or Apple TextEdit (Mac), to view the data they contain.

How to convert a PLY file

Many CAD applications, including Blender and Microsoft 3D Builder, can convert PLY files to other formats. For example, Microsoft 3D Builder can convert PLY files to the following formats:

  • .3MF - 3D Manufacturing File
  • .STL - Stereolithography File
  • .OBJ - Wavefront 3D Object File
  • .GLTF - GL Transmission Format
  • .GLB - Binary GL Transmission Format

Programs that open PLY files

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