External file source

This panel shows information regarding the data that was loaded by OVITO from an external file and allows you to change the data source by picking a different input file. The file source panel is automatically displayed after you import a data file. You can access it again later by selecting the corresponding entry in the modification pipeline editor.


Pick new file

Allows you to select a different data file to replace the input data of the current modification pipeline. All modifiers are retained, but the data they act on changes.

Note that when you load a new simulation file using this function, OVITO does not automatically recognize any consecutive file series it belongs to (unlike when you use the Load File from the file menu). Thus, to load a new time series, you will have to specify the file pattern for the time series explicitly after loading the first file from the series.

By default, after loading the new file, OVITO automatically adjusts the visible region in the viewports to show the new simulation box. If you want to suppress the automatic zoom and keep the current view, create a fixed viewport camera using the Create Camera function from the viewport menu first.

Pick new remote file

Same as above, but allows you to enter a new remote URL instead of picking a local file.

Reload data

Reloads the data of the current animation frame from the external file. This is useful if the external data file has changed, for example after re-running a simulation with different parameters.

Update time series

Searches the directory for new files that match the current file pattern. When working with a file that contains multiple simulation frames, the file is re-scanned to rebuild the list of frames. This function is useful when a simulation is still running and produces additional output files.

Store data in state file

OVITO allows you to save the current program state in a state file (.ovito). By default, the input simulation data is not stored in that state file to save disk space. Instead it is read again from the original simulation file when you load the state file. Activating this function will embed a copy of the external simulation data in the state file, making it easier to transfer the state file to a different computer. However, this currently works only for the current animation frame. OVITO never embeds an entire time series in the state file.


This sub-panel contains controls that determine how the simulation frames loaded from the input file(s) are mapped to OVITO's internal animation timeline. Please see the documentation of the animation system for further information.

Specific format settings

Depending on the loaded file type, an additional panel is displayed that allows you to specify further settings. In the screenshot above, for example, the LAMMPS dump panel provides additional settings that controls the import of data from a LAMMPS dump file.

The option File contains time series tells OVITO that the input file contains more than one simulation frames. After activating this check box, OVITO scans the entire file to discover all frames and displays them in the animation timeline.