EditorFileDialog in Godot – Complete Guide

Navigating a sea of files and directories can be a daunting task when developing your next game hit in Godot Engine, but fear not! With the EditorFileDialog class, which only shows its face to those crafting editor plugins, your journey through the filesystem will be a breeze. Its additional features, such as tracking your favored and recent files and offering a thumbnail grid view, provide a tailored file management experience specific to your needs as a game developer. Let’s dive into the intricacies of this hidden gem and see how it can supercharge your workflow within the Godot editor.

What is EditorFileDialog?

Imagine you’re constructing a level editor for your game and you want to provide a smooth and intuitive way for other developers to access and organize game assets. The EditorFileDialog class is your ally in this endeavor, exclusive to Godot 4, which is a custom variant of the standard FileDialog. It’s not just any file dialog; it’s one optimized for the unique demands of game development with Godot.

What is it for?

The EditorFileDialog doesn’t play by the standard rules. It’s the tool you choose when you want to integrate a more sophisticated file dialog into your custom tools and editor plugins. With its ability to filter files, display them as thumbnails, and remember the paths you tread most often, it does more than just list files. It custom structures your virtual workspace to the way you work.

Why should I learn it?

Learning how to implement and tailor the EditorFileDialog can drastically improve the speed and efficiency of your development process. Whether you’re a budding game developer or a seasoned code wizard, mastering this tool will add a professional polish to your plugins and tools that many others overlook. It’s not just about choosing files, it’s about curating an environment that streamlines your creative process. Now, let the journey begin!

CTA Small Image

Creating an Instance of EditorFileDialog

To begin using the EditorFileDialog, you need to create an instance of the class within your script. You can do this by defining a new variable and using the EditorFileDialog.new() method. Here is a simple example of how to instantiate the EditorFileDialog:

var file_dialog = EditorFileDialog.new()

Once you have created and added your file dialog instance as a child to your scene, you can proceed to configure it to your needs.

Configuring the File Dialog

Now let’s see how you can configure the file dialog for your specific use case. You may want to set the path that the dialog opens to, change the dialog’s mode, or filter the file types that are displayed.

To open the dialog to a specific directory, set the current_path property:

file_dialog.current_path = "res://assets/textures"

To change the dialog mode, which can dictate whether the user is opening or saving a file, you can set the mode property to one of the predefined constants, such as FILE_MODE_OPEN or FILE_MODE_SAVE:

file_dialog.mode = EditorFileDialog.FILE_MODE_OPEN

You can set the allowed file types by defining the filters. Each filter is a string that contains a description followed by the file pattern:

file_dialog.filters = ["Image files (*.png, *.jpg)", "*.png", "*.jpg"]

Showing the File Dialog

To show the file dialog to the user, call the popup_centered() method. This will display the file dialog in the center of the editor window:

file_dialog.popup_centered(Vector2(600, 400))

Remember, the dialog is not automatically visible upon creation. You must explicitly show it when you want it to appear.

Connecting Signals to Handle User Actions

In Godot, signals are used to respond to events. With the EditorFileDialog, you’ll want to connect signals to handle the actions taken by the user such as selecting a file or canceling the dialog.

To handle a file selection, connect to the file_selected signal:

file_dialog.connect("file_selected", self, "_on_file_selected")

func _on_file_selected(path):
    print("Selected file: " + path)

Similarly, to handle the user pressing the “Cancel” button, connect to the popup_hide signal:

file_dialog.connect("popup_hide", self, "_on_dialog_cancel")

func _on_dialog_cancel():
    print("File dialog was canceled.")

These signals and the associated callback functions ensure that your script responds appropriately to the user’s interactions with the file dialog.

In these examples, we’ve covered creating an instance of EditorFileDialog, configuring its primary settings, showing the dialog, and responding to user actions through signals. In the next part of our tutorial, we’ll dive deeper into more advanced usage and customization options to suit the needs of your editor plugins and tools. Stay tuned!

Advanced Customization and Usage

Let’s explore some of the advanced features of the EditorFileDialog that you can leverage to further tailor the user’s experience.

If you want to provide a GUI (Graphical User Interface) that’s more in line with your editor’s design, you can change the appearance of the file dialog:

file_dialog.theme = your_custom_theme

Here, your_custom_theme is a predefined Theme resource you’ve created and styled to match your editor plugin’s aesthetics.

Adding Shortcuts and Favorites

Godot’s EditorFileDialog offers convenient ways to quickly access frequently used directories or files by adding shortcuts and favorites. To add a shortcut to the file dialog, which is akin to a quick bookmark, use:

file_dialog.add_shortcut("res://scenes/", "Scenes")

This adds a shortcut “Scenes” that, when clicked, will take you directly to the “res://scenes/” directory.

To manage favorite directories, there are methods for adding and removing them. Here’s how you add a favorite path with add_favorite():


And to remove a favorite if it’s no longer needed:


Setting the Access Mode

When specifying the access mode, you control which part of the filesystem the users of your editor plugin can interact with. For instance, if you want to restrict them to the “user://” directory only, you can set:

file_dialog.access = EditorFileDialog.ACCESS_USERDATA

Available constants for access include ACCESS_FILESYSTEM, ACCESS_RESOURCES, and ACCESS_USERDATA, each guiding the user to different parts of the filesystem.

Thumbnail View

Sometimes a visual preview is worth a thousand filenames, especially for artists and designers. The thumbnail view mode can be set using the thumbnail_mode property and passing true or false:

file_dialog.thumbnail_mode = true

Enabling thumbnail mode provides a grid view of image previews, making visual asset management substantially easier.

Handling Multiple Selections

If your tool requires users to select multiple files at once, EditorFileDialog has got you covered. To enable multiple file selection, set:

file_dialog.mode = EditorFileDialog.FILE_MODE_OPEN_MULTIPLE

Then, when the files are selected, you’ll handle them with the files_selected signal:

file_dialog.connect("files_selected", self, "_on_files_selected")

func _on_files_selected(paths):
    for path in paths:
        print("Selected file: " + path)

This callback function will be called with an array of selected file paths.

Remembering the Last Directory

For an enhanced user experience, having the file dialog remember the last directory accessed by the user is a significant convenience. You can retrieve the last used directory with:

var last_dir = file_dialog.current_path

And the next time your file dialog is used, you can set this as the starting directory:

file_dialog.current_path = last_dir

The EditorFileDialog is packed with features that cater to various use cases specific to game development. By leveraging these advanced functionalities, you can create robust file management solutions within your Godot editor plugins, streamlining the workflow for yourself and other developers. With the examples provided, you’re well-equipped to experiment and integrate the EditorFileDialog into your custom editor tools, elevating your Godot game development to new heights!By mastering the EditorFileDialog, you enable your Godot plugins to interact seamlessly with the project’s files and directories. To further expand on its capabilities, let’s delve into additional features and code examples that can enrich your development process.

Displaying Recent Directories

Convenience is key in a smooth workflow. The EditorFileDialog keeps track of recently visited directories. Enable it through the display_recent_dirs property:

file_dialog.display_recent_dirs = true

Now you’ll have a dropdown menu in your file dialog which lists recent directories, allowing quick navigation back to these spots.

Including or Excluding Folders from the List

In scenarios where you may want to prevent access to certain project folders or ensure only specific folders appear, fine-tune visibility using the add_filter and clear_filters methods.

To include only folders that contain scripts, you might configure the file dialog as follows:

file_dialog.add_filter("Scripts Folder (*.gd)")

Modifying Dialog’s Resizing Properties

The flexibility of the UI is often important. You can specify whether the EditorFileDialog can be resized by setting the resizable property:

file_dialog.resizable = true

This enables developers using your editor plugin to adjust the file dialog window size to their preferences.

Registering New Thumbnails

Godot’s EditorFileDialog can generate thumbnails for recognized file types, but what if you want to include thumbnails for custom file types? You can manually generate and register thumbnails:

var my_custom_thumbnail = preload("res://path_to_custom_icon.png")
EditorInterface.get_singleton().register_thumbnail_for_type("MyCustomType", my_custom_thumbnail)

By using the EditorInterface’s register_thumbnail_for_type() method, you can associate your custom thumbnails with particular file types, making your plugin even more intuitive.

Custom Actions with Tool Buttons

Need to add custom functionality right within the file dialog? Insert tool buttons for any additional actions you’d like to provide. Simply instantiate a Button and add it to the dialog using the add_tool_button() method:

var my_tool_button = Button.new()
my_tool_button.text = "Custom Action"
file_dialog.add_tool_button(my_tool_button, false)

The button will appear at the top of the file dialog, and you can connect it to custom methods to trigger whatever action you need.

Responding to Directory Selection

While handling file selections is critical, sometimes you’ll also want to respond when a user navigates to a different directory. This can be achieved by connecting to the dir_selected signal:

file_dialog.connect("dir_selected", self, "_on_dir_selected")

func _on_dir_selected(path):
    print("Selected directory: " + path)

This function will be called with the path of the newly selected directory.

Saving and Loading Dialog States

To create a user experience that feels contiguous and aware, you might want to save the state of the file dialog when it’s closed and restore it upon reopening. Capture the state with built-in methods:

var file_dialog_state = file_dialog.get_state()
# Save file_dialog_state to a file or a settings variable

# Later on, restore the state

Storing and restoring the state can include things like the current path, which files were selected, the scroll position, and other user actions.

By harnessing these enhanced features and implementing these code examples, you’re not just adding a file dialog to your editor plugin — you’re integrating a full-fledged file management system tailored for game development. Each additional feature brings your file dialog closer to the ideal tool for managing assets, scripts, and more within your Godot projects, making the development experience more efficient and user-friendly.

Continuing Your Godot Journey

Your exploration into the world of Godot doesn’t have to end here. Whether you’ve just started discovering the potential of developing games with Godot or you’re looking to deepen your existing skill set, we’ve got just the stepping stone for your learning path.

We encourage you to check out our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree, a comprehensive program designed to guide you through creating cross-platform games using the powerful Godot 4 engine. Our courses cover a broad spectrum of game development essentials, from 2D and 3D design to advanced gameplay mechanics. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to build your portfolio with a series of hands-on projects.

Additionally, don’t forget to explore our complete selection of Godot courses for a wider range of topics and skills. At Zenva, you’ll step up your game with practical instruction and put theory into action, all at a pace that suits you. Embark on this journey with us, and transform your passion for game development into a tangible skillset that could shape your future.


Diving into the depths of Godot’s EditorFileDialog is more than just learning about a feature – it’s about unlocking a tool that streamlines your creativity and development workflow. Whether you’re coding your first plugin or seeking to refine your Godot expertise, the functionality and convenience offered by this class are invaluable. By mastering it, you can craft a more personalized and productive game development experience.

Embark on your Godot development journey with confidence, knowing that every tool and every script you master brings you one step closer to realizing your game development dreams. Take advantage of our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree to build a strong foundation and keep pushing the boundaries of what you can create. With Zenva, your next game-changing project is within reach – start crafting it today!

Python Blog Image

FINAL DAYS: Unlock coding courses in Unity, Godot, Unreal, Python and more.