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Learn how to create, view, and convert an STP File, the most popular 3D CAD file format.

What is an STP file?

STP, or STEP, is a file extension for a 3D graphic file used by CAD software. Files with the STP file format are usually 3D model files created in the STEP file format. STP files may also use the less common STEP file extension.

STEP is short for STandard for the Exchange of Product Data. It is the ISO 10303-21 standard for representing 3D objects. The STP File Format is used to distribute 3D CAD files that can be viewed by a variety of software applications.

The real strength of STEP is its popularity. It is the most popular 3D CAD file format that allows designs created by different CAD programs to be viewed and modified. It is one of the most popular formats for 3D CAD data exchange and file sharing. STP files are primarily used for transferring 3D graphics between different CAD and CAM systems.

view stp files with measure, section, and other analysis tools
An STP file of a bike, opened in Glovius for Windows.

STP file format

The STEP file format was released in 1994 to standardize sharing of 3D CAD data. The file format is defined in ISO 10303-21. The file extensions STP and STEP indicate that the file contains data conforming to the STEP ISO standard.

STEP file format is widely adopted by many CAD software. The format is an ASCII format, making it very easy to read. However, there are a few disadvantages of the STP File Format –

  1. The file format specification is not free, you have to pay for it.
  2. It is not possible to sequentially read a STEP file. The entire file has to be read into memory before parsing.
  3. The format is not storage-efficient or well-defined. There are several ways to write an entity.
  4. Many CAD software does not support the full STEP format specification. As a result, some sort of “Repair Geometry” is required after each and every import.

How to open STP file?

On Windows, Glovius supports all versions of STP files. Users can open STP files, exported from any program, and view them in Glovius. Glovius is a powerful stp file viewer. Tools like Measurement, Sectioning, Thickness Analysis, and Markups, help users analyze and collaborate on STP files.

Double click a .stp or .step file to open it in Glovius STEP File Viewer. A free 15-day trial for Glovius is available from the link below. All Glovius Subscription and Permanent licenses support viewing and analyzing of STP files.

For viewing STP Files, Glovius subscriptions start from $45 $36/month and $360 $299/year. Visit the online store for a comparison between various subscriptions.

In your browser, Glovius Cloud also supports viewing STP files. Register for a free account and upload your STP and other CAD files to view them in your browser. Glovius Cloud website works in all popular browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. Since Glovius Cloud is an online STP File Viewer, it can run on Windows, Mac, Linux, or any other operating system that supports a modern web browser.

view stp files in your browser, from any device or operating system
An STP file of an engine block, opened in the browser using Glovius Cloud.

On mobile devices, like iPhones, iPads, or Android devices, download Glovius for iOS and Glovius for Android to view STP files. Glovius mobile apps are powered by Glovius Cloud. Upload your STP files from within the app, and view STP and other CAD files on the go.

view stp files on iphone, ipad, and Android devices
View STP Files on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices with free Glovius apps.

How to create STP files?

Most STP files are exported from CAD software. All popular CAD programs, like SolidWorks, CATIA, Creo, NX, Solid Edge, and Autodesk Inventor, have an option to save CAD parts and assemblies into the STP file format. This feature may be optional in CAD programs, and users may need additional licenses or purchase a higher version of the software to export to STP.

Glovius PLUS users can export their CAD parts and assemblies to the STP file format. PLUS users can also export to IGES, Parasolid, and 3MF. Glovius PLUS is available for $720 $599/year per subscription. Glovius PLUS permanent licenses are available for $1395 $1095 per node-locked license and $2795 $2195 per floating license.

create stp files from CATIA, SolidWorks, NX, JT, IGES, Parasolid, Inventor, and Solid Edge parts and assemblies
Export CATIA, NX, Creo, SolidWorks, and other CAD files to STP file format.

How to convert STP files?

Some users need to convert STP files for downstream use cases, like sharing, 3D asset creation, content for AR/VR apps, and so on.

Glovius STEP viewer can save STP files to various Image Formats. Glovius provides options to save images in BMP, TIFF, PNG, and JPEG formats. Users have the option to save images in HD, FHD, WUXGA, and 4K resolution.

Glovius is a popular stp file converter. For converting STP files to 3D formats, Glovius users can convert STP files to 3DS, OBJ, and STL file formats. These formats are popular for 3D content creation, animations, and for AR/VR apps.

And finally, Glovius users can convert STP files to 3D PDF, 3D HTML, and Powerpoint formats. These formats are popular for presentation, documentation, collaboration, and sharing.