• Most Cinema 4D plugins come as a simple zip file, which contains everything the plugin needs.

Unfortunately, Cinema 4D now needs a different build for every  R version of Cinema 4D.


  • An R25 plugin will work in R25 and S26
  • An R23 plugin will work in R23 and S24
  • An R21 plugin will work in R21 and S22
  • An R20 plugin, will only work in R20  (20.059)

Usually each xdl64 or xlib will be named appropriately for the c4d version it should work in.

For R20 (or later):

  • Since R20 there you to place a plugins anywhere, and load them in ad-hock via a plugin link in prefs.
  • You can still use the old plugin folders in prefs, and the app folder, but these are no longer necessary.
  • If you don't already have your own plugins folder, simply make a "plugins" folder yourself, anywhere.
  • Best is to make a folder for each version of cinema 4D.
  • Extract your plugins to that version specific folder.
  • Then go to your Cinema4d preferences/plugins list and add each plugin, or point it at your version specific folder. 
  • you can include the entire folder, or point specifically to an individual plugin folder, which I recommend.
  1. Be sure you are not loading any plugin twice, as Cinema 4D is easily confused by this.
  2. You should not use a network folder as a plugin location, especially on a mac.
  3. Consider that Cinema4D will attempt to load all plugins, regardless of the version they where build for, which can create startup issues, if you have lots of plugins, or the dev has not thoroughly tested all builds across all versions, for this scenario.
  4. You should make a habit of being organized with your plugin folder structure, and get used to that.
  • Once you have linked your plugin(s), restart Cinema4D.
  • You should see something like this :

Maxon wrote a general article on installing plugins here..


On a MAC?

See this important info on installing c++ plugins on newer versions of MACOS..

  • Do not let Safari download and unpick your zip files, or will think they are empty.
  • Extract the zip using a decent zip tool. In newer versions of Macos ,  APPL decided to quarantine extracted zip contents for you inconvenience.
  • If you copy past the folder contents, make sure you are not copying a link, but are really copying the files properly to the destination folder.

Some important things to remember:

  • In some cases you might need to extract a plugin to your user/plugins folder. This is apparently Maxons preferred plugin location now.You can find the user plugins folder by navigating to
  • your preferences and in the bottom left corner of that prefs dialog, there is a button to show your C4D user folder in explorer (or finder)
  • Cineware (C4DLite) does not support plugins !

Worth mentioning:

  • On Win 10, you should probably start using something like 7Zip to extract files. The system extractor can cause problems that will drive you nuts.
  • On a Mac, make sure safari is not unpacking files when you download them. This can result in safari quarantining plugin files, which will drive you nuts. There is a safari setting to change this behavior. you do not want to unpack trusted files on download.
  • Several other email providers actively filter emails. That mean they look inside, even a zip file to check what is in the file. A plugin file, is usually a zip, which contains one of more dll's or xlibs. These can and are actively blocked, by google and others. The result is that it has become difficult to send plugin files directly, by email. i.e. if we send you a plugin zip via email, the chances of it bouncing before it gets to you, are very high. You will not receive it and not even be aware that we sent you an email. For this reason, you will be sent download links, which will always expire after several days. This can even happen on the helpdesk now, which may result in an email from us, landing in spam. this is beyond our control.

  • Older plugins, compiled with older versions of cinema4d, wont work in R20 or later, without a specific, for your version of Cinema4D. 
  • All you need to do, is extract the zip file to your plugins folder, and restart Cinema4D.
  • TIP: You might be able to use a plugin bridge to get older plugins to load into your version of Cinema4d. This generally will not work for shader plugins, but for modifiers,generators,tags it might work, if the plugin is not too complicated.
  • in all versions pre R20, it is enough to extract the plugin to the plugins folder which is already present in your Cinema4d folder.