168 votes
Date Updated: 

Summary of changes for activeType 0.36

- removed spacewarp mods query (it was causing a bit of slowdown)
- disabled subobject, pflow and slate modes
(More detailed info on changes at the History notes below)

Activetype is a quick way to work around 3dsmax. It gives you a context sensitive input box that generates a list of items that you can use to create geometry, assign modifers, access properties, execute scripts and custom commands.


Additional Info: 


Youtube - Usage Video

* This script was largely inspired by Houdini's intuitive TAB Menu.
* Thanks to Jordan Walsh for the bit regarding .classes!
* Thanks to Daniel Santana (4+Arquitectos, Lda) for the User Commands/Object Parameters/Script Execution ideas!
* Thanks to Sergo Pogosyan for the History List idea!
* Thanks to Martin Breidt for the max commands ini file! (Download his activtypeCommands.ini below)
* Thanks to Arnon Marcus for the bit about adding "Locals"


  • Run the script file, it will create commands inside your "Customize User Interface" dialog called ActiveType and ActiveType Preferences under the category Terabyte.
  • When running the script for the first time, the preferences window will pop-up. Here are the options:

    • Exit Token: If you type this text on ActiveType, it will exit the script. It is recommendable that you use the same character/text for your shortcut and your Exit Token.
    • Command Token: This key will invoke the Custom Commands list. (0.35)
    • Box Width: The width of the ActiveType box.
    • Max Items: The maximum number of items that will be displayed.
    • History List: The maximum number of items that can be displayed in the history list. (0.32)
    • Initialize on Startup:  This will create a startup script on your scripts\startup folder. Whenever 3dsmax starts, it will run activeType invisibly to pre-compile the dotNet classes being used, essentialy speeding up loading on first-run. (0.35)
    • Spaces as Wildcards: Will convert blank spaces (pressing the spacebar) into wildcards (*).
    • Windows Start Menu Bar: If you have the start menu always visible, check this option to offset the ui size overflow. (0.30)
    • Custom Colors: Set the colors for the pop-up UI.
    • Open INI File: Opens the activeType.ini file found in your PlugCfg folder. (0.29)
    • Open Commands File: Opens the activeTypeCommands.ini file found in your PlugCfg folder. (0.29)
  • This script is intended to be assigned as a short-cut using non-alphabetic characters. (Right now, it won't work inside the quad menu)
  • This will also save counters for each class that you select on the list, enabling the script to populate the list with the most commonly used classes first.
  • The script is using some dotNet controls, so it might lag the first time you run it. (Enable 'Initialize on Startup' to alleviate this)
  • This can also display a History List of previously selected items whenever invoking activeType. (0.31~0.32)
  • To exit activeType, do one of the following:
    • Press Enter (will execute highlighted item).
    • Click on an item in the list (will execute the picked item).
    • Type in the "Exit Text".
    • Click anywhere outside the input box.
    • Press the ESC button.

0.35 New Features

  • Limited Edit\Editable Mesh / Poly / Spline / Patch Support
    • To invoke the feature, simply be in sub-object mode.
    • The script will work on both Editable and Modifier flavors.
    • Edit Poly in particular, is slightly different. The names will have suffixes for Commands, Buttons, and Pick Buttons.
    • Sadly, Edit\Editable Poly sometimes are unable to execute a command, thus the 'Limited' tag. (You may look at the listener for reports of unexecuted commands)
    • Some of the commands are unfiltered. A command for a sub-object polygon may appear on a vertex sub-object list.
    • This feature does not trigger if you are editing two or more objects. (no yet)
    • The option "Spaces as wildcards" greatly helps to quickly narrow down your list:
      • e.g. On a sub-object Edit_Poly, you may type "t" followed by space (whicih is automatically converted to "*", then type "w" to quickly narrow the list to "TargetWeld"
  • Customizable key for invoking the Custom Commands.
    • Now defaults to the "~" (tilde). Old hotkey was "#".
    • I've also added a Custom Commands INI file on th elinks below.
      • It's a long list of Max Commands courtesy of by Martin Breidt. Simple copy it to your \AppData\Local\Autodesk\3dsMax\2013 - 64bit\ENU\en-US\plugcfg folder.

0.33 & 0.34 New Features

  • Limited Slate Support (for max2013 only)
    • You can only create nodes inside the Slate Material Editor if:
      1. The Slate Window is open.
      2. There is a selection inside the Graph View
        *** Just remember to unselect a node inside the Slate if your list is still showing maps and materials ***
    • The created nodes will appear at an offset to the Left of the selected node, and will be selected.
    • Lists will be filtered depending on the current active renderer.
    • Note that you may see un-creatable Material/Maps on the list. 3dsMax may have automatic safegaurds preventing those to be created via Maxscript.
  • Pre-Load on Start-up
    • There is now an option called 'Initialize on Startup' to pre-load activeType in order to defer the lag (caused by DotNet) whenever launching the script for the first time.
  • The input textbox is now displayed with a cursor and a selectable text.

0.32 New Features:

  • Limited PFlow Support
    • You can only create Operators when you have an Operator/Event selected inside Particle View.
    • ActiveType will switch to PFlow mode only if it detects that the Particle View is the current active window, your mouse cursor is inside the Particle View work area AND you have an operator/event selected.


0.31 New Features:

 History List:

  • A list of previously used geometries/modifiers/operators can be visible whenever invoking activeType.
  • You may disable the history list by setting the count to 0 (zero) from the preferences dialog.


0.30 New Features:

  • The UI will now automatically expand based on the text width, and list height.
  • The UI will also reposition itself whenever it detects that the size will overflow off the screen.


0.29 New Features:

  • User Commands
    • To enter user commands, type "#" as the first character. --> Changed to "~" (tilde) by default on version 0.35
    • To add more commands, edit the activeTypeCommands.ini found in the plugcfg folder.
  • Object Parameters
    • To list the parameters for the active modifier in the stack, type "." as the first character.
    • You can then press the TAB or ENTER key to complete the text. (You can also click the item)
    • Supported parameter classes are Integers, Floats, Strings, & Booleans.
  • Script Execution
    • To execute a one-liner script, type "=" as the first character.



- fixed command mode not working
- found part of the cause of the slowdown whenever querying modifiers:
   - removed spacewarp mods query, it was causing the slowdown
   - the speed at which activetype will query modifiers will be the same as the speed at which
     the modifier dropdown on the command panel appears.
   - i may have to build my own modifier cache to query from to speed things up a bit more.
- added "local" to variables to avoid liekly errors against other scipts (Thanks to Arnon Marcus)
- disabled subobject mode as this changed the way activeType initially worked
  - will update this to use capitalization in order to invoke sub-object mode.
- disbaled pflow and slate modes (I will need to look for better methods on detecting the dialogs)

- fixed alt-press on opening ini files for win7
- disabled custom color checkbox - it was kinda redundant to have the switch
- added (limited) support for subobject mesh/poly/spline/patch modeling
- updatead the Preferences UI and some functionalities
- added customizable Custom commands token string
- reworked the pre-load feature

- added startup pre-loading
- restructured some code
- modified textbox to have selectable text
- added (limited) support for the Slate Material Editor for max2013

- improved Custom Commands listing (as requested by Martin Breidt)
- upon opening the activeType Preferences, it will auto-create a sample Commands File if it doesnt exist
- under the activeType Preferences, pressing [ALT]+[Open INI/Commands files] will open windows explorer to show the file and is selected.
- fixed Pflow Dialog Detection using a much simpler method

- fixed PFlow Dialog Detection checking error

- fixed History List not initialized properly
- fixed PFlow Dialog Detection at index 1-3
- fixed blank "Exit Text" quick exit

- fixed Pflow creating ghost operators
- fixed "Color Hisroty BG" typo for INI file
- fixed history list - valid modifiers filtering

- added clean-up for pflow creating unnecessary Display Ops [2012]
- reintegrated/simplified the pflow functionality
- added max2009 check for UIAccessor
- initial tests for pflow support
- added PFlow support (pfview check and creation methods)
- added classPFExemptions
- added krakatoaClasses

- added class history list
- internally renamed some variables

- added auto extend width
- added offset UI on screen edge overflow
- added "windows menu bar" checkbox to control overflow at the bottom

- fixed max2010 on japanese win vista list height
- added preferences as a built in command
- fixed TAB error if no text entered
- fixed TAB key error

- code clean-up
- fixed parameter list will now work on multiple base objects
- added open INI file button
- added open Commands INI file button
- separate INI file for the commands list
- added enter key on parameter list to complete
- added parameter and command counters/ranking
- added one line script execution using "="
- added ESC key to exit
- added click an item on the parameters list to complete

Daniel Santana added a couple of neat features:
- added support for user commands using "#"
- added support for object properties (integer, float, bool and string) using "."
- added tab key on parameter list to complete

- fixed error with japanese characters inside the script

- fixed error on max9 with spaces as wildcards on
- I was using the function substituteString which isn't available in max9
- another fix for the dynamic UI height
- fixed for English/Japanese OS inconsistency
- adjusted width of the list for cosmetic reasons

- fixed dynamic UI width/height
- max 2010 was showing inconsistent list height
- custom colors checkbox

- disabled mouse checking within the UI
- fixed small UI size discrepancy
- added custom colors
- added max items
- added spaces as wildcards

- UI - colors
- UI - max height
- UI - spaces as wildcards
- added spacewarp modifiers
- fixed preferences bug

- a quick fix to exit activeType if it looses focus.
- added notes on how to exit the script.

- removed internal timer
- added preferences

- converted listbox to dotnet

- added all creatable classes
- switched editText to dotNet for up/down keypress detection
- added up/down keypress
- fixed listbox height calculation

- initial build

Version Requirement: 
3ds Max 2008 to 3ds Max 2016
activetypecommands.ini - by Martin Breidt2.53 KB
activetype_0.36.ms63 KB


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Jeff Lim's picture

Hi, that is quite odd. I've

Hi, that is quite odd. I've been using it without any errors so far.
Is it always happening even on a new/blank scene?

harumscarum's picture

stopped working

weird, it worked fine but stopped with this error -
happens when script run on nothing selected

windows10 + max2014x64

harumscarum's picture



Jeff Lim's picture

Small Update 0.36

I've updated the script and have been using it on max2014/2015/2016. The changes are minor. No new features yet. I will add them as soon as I get some time.

  • I've remove pflow and slate support temporarily as it tends to not detect the dialogs correctly. I'll put it back when it's fixed.
  • I also removed subobject mode for now, but if you guys do use this mode, I'll do another quick update just to have it properly integrated via another key word.
  • In max2016, the Global Search tool is unable to detect MCG objects and modifiiers. But actuveType can :)

EDIT: I forgot about sergo's update on sub-object mode. I'll integrate his revisions on my next quick update.

sergo: I agree, thank you for updating it! I''ll include it on the next version.

alteredgene: Great Idea, I'll add that. I can see it a as folder repository for that can contain multple custom command ini files, all of which will be read by activeType.


alteredgene's picture

thanks for the response. what

thanks for the response.

what i was hoping for was, having ability to load up the [activeTypeCommands.ini] from other locations, and having the ability to set the target folder.

reason behind this was that if i were to build up the [activeTypeCommands.ini] file extensively with my own commands etc.

forget to back up that specific file, which sits under the script folder i assume, will be lost. plus i wont' be able to have it synced to my work computer + home computer.

of course there will be other ways of syncing, using file syncing utilities, but was hoping for something more straight forward where i could actually set the folder of [activeTypeCommands.ini] to my dropbox for example, where it will be backed up, synced across computers ; )

thanks though!

bannor9's picture

try right clicking the link,

try right clicking the link, and then choose "save as" and that should prompt you for a file name to save it.

alteredgene's picture

Hi! my favourite script! wanted to make a suggestion

Hi Jeff, first i wanted to say this is one of my favourite script! and i have been actively spreading this script to my colleagues and we are all loving it as a team!

wanted to make one suggestions if i may.


i really appreciate you added custom command files.
i actually had similar script built for shortcuts (no way as advanced as yours) so i transferred lot of those commands as your custom command.

i was wondering, if we could set the folder activeType reads its command files? i have been utilising this feature adding lot of custom commands in, and i wanted to keep the .ini file somewhere safe (such as my dropbox) so i can use it at work and home, and is backed up.

for example, we could CTR click to set target folder?


thanks! and really appreciate your constant updates and amazing new features!

sergo's picture

It seems to work for me

Hi Juliano

It should work, I just tested it on clean 2012 install. Look:

And underscore for modifier commands:

jsrocha's picture

spline sub object mode

Hey Sergo, how´s going?
i was trying to use your edited version of the scritp, but seems that it doesn´t work with spline sub object mode. It doesn´t work to you either? or am i doing something wrong?


jefim's picture

Thank you very much. You are

Thank you very much. You are doing fantastic job.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.