Copying and Pasting Items

You can copy and paste geometry, lights, materials, and animation controllers between items in the Track View Hierarchy list of the controller window.

You can copy these categories of items in Track View:


Items with multiple branches that completely define something in your scene. Component items that can be copied include:

  • Material Parameters containing the Basic Parameters for a material definition.
  • Material Maps containing the entire set of maps and map parameters assigned to a material.
  • Map definitions containing a single map type with its associated parameters and coordinates.
  • Map Coordinates containing the map XYZ and UVW coordinate offset, tiling, and angle settings.
  • Map Parameters containing the parameters for a specific map type.
  • Objects, on levels below the transforms, containing creation parameters for an unmodified object.
  • Modified Object, containing modifiers applied to an object and the object-creation parameters.
  • Modifiers containing modifier parameters.

These control actual animated values for each parameter. Keep in mind that when you copy components, you are actually copying and pasting groups of related controllers. Details about copying and pasting single controllers are presented in Assigning Controllers.

Whether you copy objects, materials, or controllers, the same basic principles apply. Here are restrictions for using Copy and Paste:

  • You can copy only a single highlighted item.
  • You can paste a copied item only into another item of the same type. An exception to this restriction involves pasting Object and Modified Object components.
  • You can paste a copied item into a selection of multiple items only if all the items are of the same type.
  • When pasting items, you can choose to make an instance or a copy of the pasted item.
  • You cannot copy/paste actively linked objects.

Copying Items

You copy an item by highlighting it in the Controller window Hierarchy list, and then right-clicking and choosing Copy from the quad menu. If Copy is not available the selected item is not a valid copy source. 3ds Max disables Copy when the selected item is not a valid copy source or if multiple items are selected.

Pasting Items

Pasting items involves a few more choices than copying. You select one or more items from the Hierarchy list. If Paste is available the selected items are valid paste targets. 3ds Max disables Paste if the selected targets are not all the same type or if they do not match the type of item in the clipboard.

You can use Paste as follows:

Clicking Paste on the quad menu displays the Paste dialog, with controls for determining how the Paste operation will be carried out.


Pastes the item in the clipboard as an independent copy. The target item will have no connection to the copied source item.


Pastes the item in the clipboard as an instance of the copied source item. The target item will be an instance of the source item. Any change you make to either item affects the other.

Replace All Instances

Controls whether existing instances of the target item are also converted to the paste source or left as they are.

Making Instances Unique

You can convert instanced items to unique items by clicking Make Unique on the Controller menu. If the selected item is not an instance, or if a selection of multiple items does not contain similar instances, Make Unique is disabled.