EditorFileDialog in Godot – Complete Guide

Welcome to our comprehensive tutorial on the EditorFileDialog class in Godot 4, where we’ll delve into how this tool can elevate your game development process within the Godot Engine. As a specialized component designed for editor plugins, EditorFileDialog offers an extensive range of features enabling developers to efficiently manage game assets and project files. This tutorial is geared toward both newcomers to Godot and seasoned veterans looking for a deeper understanding of the editor’s file management capabilities.

In this six-part series, we’ll explore the various functionalities of EditorFileDialog, provide practical examples, and showcase how this class can streamline your workflow. Whether you’re working on a 2D platformer or a 3D RPG, effectively handling your assets is essential to a smooth development experience. So, get ready to enhance your Godot toolset as we guide you through the ins and outs of the EditorFileDialog class!

What is EditorFileDialog?

The EditorFileDialog is a version of the traditional FileDialog with added features specifically suited for use in Godot’s editor environment. It stands apart by offering a customizable interface for accessing recent or favorite files, displaying file previews as thumbnails, and filtering content in a more user-friendly manner.

What is it for?

EditorFileDialog is an indispensable tool for game developers, providing a user interface for effectively navigating and selecting project files. It’s designed to improve productivity by facilitating the management of assets, scenes, and scripts within the Godot editor.

Why Should I Learn It?

Grasping how to utilize the EditorFileDialog effectively will not only save you time but also enhance your ability to manage the numerous files within your projects. As part of mastering the Godot Engine, understanding its utilities like EditorFileDialog ensures a smoother, more organized game development process. Being comfortable with these tools will allow you to focus more on creativity and less on file management overhead.

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Setting Up EditorFileDialog

Before diving into code examples, it’s essential to understand how to set up the EditorFileDialog in your project. This control is typically instantiated as part of a custom editor plugin. Here’s how you can start:

var file_dialog = EditorFileDialog.new()

After adding the EditorFileDialog node to your scene, you can configure its properties to suit your needs.

Opening and Configuring the Dialog

Let’s configure the file dialog’s basic settings and open it.

file_dialog.mode = EditorFileDialog.MODE_OPEN_FILE
file_dialog.access = EditorFileDialog.ACCESS_FILESYSTEM
file_dialog.current_path = "res://"

In this snippet, we initialize the dialog for opening files, set access to the filesystem, specify the starting directory, and then open the dialog centered on the screen with a certain size ratio.

Filtering Files

To only display certain file types, you can set up filters using the ‘filters’ property.

file_dialog.filters = ["*.png ; PNG Images", "*.tscn ; Scenes"]

These filters allow us to display only PNG images and Godot scene files, which can be very handy for asset management.

Handling User File Selection

To make the dialog functional, we need to handle the ‘file_selected’ and ‘files_selected’ signals. Here’s an example of how to do that:

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

func _on_file_selected(path):
    print("File selected: " + path)

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

When a user selects files, these signals will be emitted, and we can define the appropriate response with the connected methods.

Custom Thumbnails and Previews

Providing visual feedback can be a game-changer for usability within your editor. Use the EditorFileDialog’s thumbnail mode to display custom file thumbnails.

file_dialog.thumbnail_mode = true

This code snippet enables thumbnail previews in the file dialog window, making it much easier to visually identify assets.

In our next tutorial installment, we’ll continue with more examples showcasing the versatility of the EditorFileDialog class, helping you make the most of this powerful tool in your Godot editor plugins. Stay tuned as we delve deeper into advanced configuration and usage to streamline your asset management even further.

Advanced Configuration of EditorFileDialog

Moving beyond the basics, we delve into advanced features that can greatly enhance the utility of the EditorFileDialog. Here we’ll explore additional settings and functionalities at our disposal.

Setting the Dialog to Save Mode
To configure the EditorFileDialog for saving files, you need to adjust the ‘mode’ property.

file_dialog.mode = EditorFileDialog.MODE_SAVE_FILE

By setting the mode to MODE_SAVE_FILE, the dialog will now prompt the user to save a file, rather than open one.

Changing the Window Size
Customizing the look of the EditorFileDialog can be important for a seamless integration with your plugin. Adjust the size to fit your content better.

file_dialog.rect_min_size = Vector2(750, 500)

With this, we set the minimum size of the file dialog window to ensure everything is displayed as intended.

Custom Directories and Virtual Filesystems
Sometimes, you’ll need to guide the user towards specific directories or even use a virtual filesystem.


In the above snippet, we set the current directory to a ‘textures’ folder and establish a virtual ‘user://’ path that points to the user’s directory on their system.

Rescanning the Filesystem
To make sure the dialog always displays the most up-to-date files, we need to occasionally rescan the filesystem.


Calling ‘invalidate()’ forces the EditorFileDialog to refresh and display the latest files and folders.

Multiple File Selection
There may be cases where you want users to select more than one file at a time.

file_dialog.mode = EditorFileDialog.MODE_OPEN_FILES

By switching the mode to MODE_OPEN_FILES, the user can now select multiple files from the dialog.

Customizing the “Open” and “Save” Buttons
It’s possible to customize the text displayed on the dialog buttons, adding clarity or specific instructions.

file_dialog.ok_text = "Choose"
file_dialog.cancel_text = "Abort"

Here we change the ‘Open’ button to say “Choose” and the ‘Cancel’ button to “Abort”, which can be more appropriate depending on the use case.

These configurations showcase the depth to which the EditorFileDialog can be tailored to fit the specific needs of your editor plugin. With these advanced features, you can improve user interaction, making your plugin not just functional, but intuitive and aligned with the rest of your development workflow. Whether it’s organizing assets or managing various file types, understanding these capabilities ensures a robust and more enjoyable user experience for both you and other developers utilizing your plugin.Let’s continue delving deeper into the EditorFileDialog’s capabilities by exploring more advanced features that cater to specific needs within your editor plugin. We’ll look at how to handle virtual filesystems, adjust previews, and utilize custom signals for a refined user experience.

Accessing a Virtual Filesystem
If your game or application uses a virtual filesystem, the EditorFileDialog can be configured to navigate through it, as if it were the native one:

file_dialog.access = EditorFileDialog.ACCESS_RESOURCES

This line of code sets the file dialog to only navigate through the resources of the project, which is represented by ‘res://’ in Godot’s path system.

Enabling Folder Selection
Sometimes you want to allow users to select entire folders instead of individual files. This can easily be done by toggling the right mode:

file_dialog.mode = EditorFileDialog.MODE_OPEN_DIR

By specifying MODE_OPEN_DIR, you direct the file dialog to operate in a directory selection mode.

Adding a Shortcut to Home Directory
Adding shortcuts to commonly used directories can speed up the navigation process:

file_dialog.add_shortcut( "Home", "user://")

This method creates a shortcut that quickly takes users to their home directory when clicked.

Creating Custom “OK” and “Cancel” Actions
Instead of just printing or handling the file paths, we can create custom actions or validations when the OK button is clicked:

func _on_file_dialog_ok_pressed():
    if file_dialog.current_file != "":
        # Custom validation or action
        print("Proceed with file: " + file_dialog.current_file)

file_dialog.connect("confirmed", self, "_on_file_dialog_ok_pressed")

By connecting to the ‘confirmed’ signal, our function will check if a file is selected, allowing us to create a conditional flow based on that selection.

Displaying User-Created Folders
It is possible to show user-created folders in the dialog, which might be outside of the project:

file_dialog.show_hidden_files = true

By enabling ‘show_hidden_files’, we make sure that even user-defined folders that are typically hidden (like .folders in Unix-based systems) are displayed.

Providing File Previews
File previews greatly enhance usability by providing visual feedback to the user. In the case of image files, we can set up the file dialog to display thumbnails:


Invoking this method enables the preview of thumbnails for compatible files, aiding in quick identification of visual assets.

Using Signals to Extend Functionality
Godot’s signal system isn’t limited to default actions. You can define custom behavior for a wide variety of events:

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

func _on_directory_selected(directory_path):
    print("Directory selected: " + directory_path)

For example, with the ‘dir_selected’ signal, we can perform an action when a directory is chosen from the file dialog.

Through these examples, it becomes evident that EditorFileDialog is a versatile tool that can be tailored for a plethora of tasks in the Godot editor. Its capability to adjust to your project’s flow and design encourages a more personalized and efficient game development process. In the next sections, we’ll continue to unlock even more potential uses and configurations within the EditorFileDialog component, ensuring your editor plugin is as powerful and user-friendly as possible.

Continuing Your Game Development Journey

Having explored the essentials of the EditorFileDialog in Godot 4, you’re likely eager to keep evolving as a game developer. The world of Godot offers vast potential for innovation and creativity, and the best way to harness this power is through continuous learning and experimentation.

For those who wish to dive deeper into game creation with this robust engine, we highly recommend exploring our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. This extensive series of courses is meticulously designed to guide you through the intricate world of game development, covering a wide array of topics from using 2D and 3D assets to mastering GDScript and building engaging gameplay mechanics across various game types.

Additionally, take a look at the broader range of Godot courses we offer, where you can refine specific skills or broaden your understanding of game development with Godot. Whether you are at the start of your game development journey or looking to elevate your existing expertise, Zenva is here to support your learning path every step of the way.


In conclusion, mastering the EditorFileDialog in Godot 4 is just the beginning of a thrilling and rewarding game development adventure. By incorporating the techniques and insights provided in this tutorial, you’re now better equipped to navigate and manage your project files, making your creative workflow more efficient and streamlined. But the journey doesn’t end here; to truly transform your game development skills and bring your imaginings to life, continuous learning is key.

This is why we encourage you to take the next step with our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree, where every lesson is a building block towards your success as a game developer. At Zenva, we’re passionate about providing you with the knowledge and resources you need to excel in your craft. So why wait? Leap forward in your game development journey with us and let’s create something extraordinary together!

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