In this article, I will show you how to enable STL thumbnails in Windows 10. This is especially helpful when browsing trough your STL files and easily find the one you are looking to print.
With the STL thumbnail viewer, a small image of your STL will show up in the Windows 10 explorer.
Why use an STL Thumbnail Viewer?
As previously mentioned, the main reason why you would want to install an STL thumbnail viewer is to improve your experience when going trough multiple STLs on your computer.
It makes things a lot easier and if you enable STL thumbnails in Windows 10, you will add extra functionality to your computer. You can even manipulate the STL files right from your Windows explorer preview pane, without the need of opening it.
STL-Thumb uses the system color scheme but can also be changes using the command line option.
I like having the dark theme enabled in Windows.
How to Enable STL Thumbnails in Windows 10?
It’s really easy to enable STL thumbnails in Windows 10, so follow the steps below:
Download STL-Thumb from Github
The first step to install the STL thumbnail viewer is to download the latest release of STL-Thumb from Github. So follow this link and download the .exe file.
Please note that because the application is unsigned and does not have a publisher listed, it might be detected by your browser as an unwanted file (or malware). You can safely save the installer.
Run the STL-Thumb installer
After you download STL-Thumb, you can double click and start the installation.
As you can probably notice, there’s another prompt which tells you that it’s recommended you don’t install the app. Click on More Info and then Run Anyway
Agree to the license agreement and click on Install
Extra tweaks in Windows 10
With STL-Thumb installed, you can probably notice that STLs on your desktop already show up as thumbnails.
If you want the same thumbnails in your Windows Explorer windows head over to the View menu, then select one of the three options.
For more control over the dimensions of the STL thumbnails in Windows 10, you can hold CTRL and use the scroll wheel on your mouse to make the thumbnails smaller or larger.
If you have 3D Viewer installed, you can go a step further and also have the STL section in your Windows 10 preview pane where you can interact with the model.
For this to work, you will need to have STL viewer as the default app to open STL files.
This can be easily achieved by right clicking an STL -> Open with -> Choose another app and select 3D Viewer. Make sure you select the Always use this app to open STL files, then click OK.
Enjoy your STL Thumbnails in Windows 10
That’s it. That’s how you enable STL thumbnails in Windows 10. There are other STL thumbnail viewers available, but STL-Thumb worked best for me.
You can also join the 3DPrintBeginner Forum where there are multiple threads for 3D printing discussions.