PLY Files
an ASCII Polygon Format

PLY is a data directory which contains examples of files in the PLY format, a simple format for the description of objects that are a collection of polygons.

PLY files are:


        format ascii 1.0           { ascii/binary, format version number }
        comment made by anonymous  { comments are keyword specified }
        comment this file is a cube
        element vertex 8           { define "vertex" element, 8 in file }
        property float32 x         { vertex contains float "x" coordinate }
        property float32 y         { y coordinate is also a vertex property }
        property float32 z         { z coordinate, too }
        element face 6             { there are 6 "face" elements in the file }
        property list uint8 int32 vertex_index
                                   { "vertex_indices" is a list of ints }
        end_header                 { delimits the end of the header }
        0 0 0                      { start of vertex list }
        0 0 1
        0 1 1
        0 1 0
        1 0 0
        1 0 1
        1 1 1
        1 1 0
        4 0 1 2 3                  { start of face list }
        4 7 6 5 4
        4 0 4 5 1
        4 1 5 6 2
        4 2 6 7 3
        4 3 7 4 0


The computer code and data files described and made available on this web page are distributed under the GNU LGPL license.

Related Data and Programs:

MESHLAB, examples which illustrate the use of the meshlab program, an advanced mesh processing system for automatic or user-assisted editing, cleaning, filtering, converting and rendering of large unstructured 3D triangular meshes.

OBJ_TO_PLY, a C program which reads an OBJ file and writes similar information to a PLY file, by Greg Turk.

PLATO_PLY, a C program which writes a PLY graphics file for any Platonic solid, by Greg Turk.

PLY_DISPLAY, a MATLAB program which displays an image of a 3D graphics file in PLY format;

PLY_IO, a C library which reads or writes a 3D graphics file in PLY format, by Greg Turk;

PLY_IO, a MATLAB library which reads or writes a 3D graphics file in PLY format, by Greg Turk;

PLY_TO_IV, a C program which converts a 3D graphics file from PLY format to Inventor format, by Greg Turk.

PLY_TO_OBJ, a C program which reads a PLY 3D graphics file and writes an equivalent OBJ graphics file, by Greg Turk.

PLY_TO_TRI_SURFACE, a MATLAB program which reads a PLY file and extracts the surface mesh data as a TRI_SURFACE dataset.

TRI_SURFACE_TO_PLY, a MATLAB program which converts a TRI_SURFACE dataset to a dataset suitable for storage as a PLY file.


  1. Greg Turk,
    The PLY Polygon File Format.

Sample files:

You can go up one level to the DATA page.

Last revised on 10 June 2012.