FAQ for LDraw file types

Everything you wanted to know about the different kinds of files in the LDraw Parts Library

What's with 'file types'? Aren't they all just DAT files?
Yes, all the files in the LDraw Parts Library are DAT files. But different files are included in the library for different reasons. Different rules sometimes apply to different files.

What are the different file types?
The main five types of files are:

How are the different classes of Parts identified?
A: Files in the parts folder are classified on the format of the filename and the initial character of the part description.

What are subparts, when should they be used, and how are they numbered?
A: Subparts may be used for four purposes, and in all cases are stored in the \s subdirectory and referenced from a main part with a type 1 line.

        1 <colour> 0 0 0 x 0 0 0 y 0 0 0 z s\nnnnSnn

Change as of January, 2005 Previously, color codes from 256 to 511 could only be used to reference subfiles. That is, only type 1 commands could use these colors. This meant that any part that needed colors in this range had to create a subfile specifically for each color. This restriction no longer applies. Feel free to use colors 256-511 (as appropriate) for any edge, polygon or subfile.

Please note: we will not be converting existing official subfiles that were created because of the color restriction. Now that they are official, they can stay right where they are.

Is file size really important?
Hard drives may be cheap, but bandwidth is not. Most people still connect to the Internet through dial-up modems. And many people have to pay by the minute while they are connected. Reducing the size of part files not only reduces the space required to store parts, it also reduces the time it takes to download the parts.