Material Editor UI

The Material Editor UI consists of a menu bar, a toolbar, and, by default, four open panels.


The Material Editor UI consists of a menu bar, a toolbar, and, by default, four open panels.


You can close any panel by clicking the small "X" in the upper-right corner of the tab. You can also hide any panel by right-clicking on the tab, and then clicking Hide Tab on the context menu that appears. To once again display a panel that you have closed, click that panel's name on the Window menu.


  • Save - Saves the asset you are currently working on.
  • Open Asset - Opens the Global Asset Picker to quickly find an asset and open the appropriate editor.
  • Save All - Saves all unsaved levels and assets for your project.
  • Choose Files to Save - Brings up a dialog box that allows you to choose which levels and assets you want to save for your project.
  • Submit To Source Control - Will check the current asset into Source Control.


  • Undo - Undoes the most recent action.
  • Redo - Redoes the most recent Undo, if it was the last action taken.
  • Undo History - Shows the history of the Undo actions.
  • Editor Preferences - Gives you a list of options, any of which open that part of the Editor Preferences window, where you can modify your Unreal Editor preferences.
  • Project Settings - Gives you a list of options, any of which open that part of the Project Settings window, where you can modify various settings for your Unreal Engine project.
  • Plugins - Opens the Plugins Browser tab.


  • Find in Content Browser - Locates and selects the current asset in the Content Browser.
  • Reference Viewer - Launches the reference viewer showing the selected assets' references.
  • Size Map - Displays an interactive map showing the approximate size of this asset and everything it references.
  • Audit Assets - Opens the Asset Audio UI and displays information about the selected assets.


  • Toolbar - Toggles the display of the Toolbar.
  • Viewport - Toggles the display of the Viewport panel.
  • Graph - Toggles the display of the Graph panel.
  • Details - Toggles the display of the Details panel.
  • Palette - Toggles the display of the Palette panel.
  • Find Results - Allows you to search for items in the Material Graph.
  • Stats - Toggles the display of the Stats panel.
  • Preview Scene Settings - Adjusts the options of the Material preview viewport.
  • Parameter Defaults - Displays the Materials global parameters.
  • Platform Stats - Displays the Material cost per platform.
  • Stats  - Displays the Material cost.
  • Shader Code - Displays the Material HLSL code for the selected platform.
    • HLSL Code - Displays the HLSL code.
      • Desktop - Displays the HLSL code for the various desktop renders.
        • DirectX SM5 - Displays the HLSL code for Windows SM5.
        • DirectX SM4 - Displays the HLSL code for Windows SM4.
        • Vulkan SM5 - Displays the HLSL code for Vulkan SM5.
        • Vulkan SM4 - Displays the HLSL code for Vulkan SM4.
        • OpenGL SM5Displays the HLSL code for OpenGL SM5.
        • OpenGL SM4Displays the HLSL code for OpenGL SM4.
      • Android Displays the HLSL code for the various Android renders.
        • Android GLES 3.1Displays the HLSL code for Android GLES 3.1.
        • Android GLES 2.0 - Displays the HLSL code for Android GLES 2.0.
      • iOSDisplays the HLSL code for the various iOS renders.
        • Metal SM5Displays the HLSL code for Metal SM5.
  • Content Browser - Brings up the Content Browser in a separate window.
  • Developer Tools - Brings up the selected Developer Tool in a separate window (Camera Debugger, Collision Analyzer, Debug Tools, Modules, Widget Reflector).
    • Blueprint Debugger - Brings up the Blueprint Debugger in a separate window.
    • Collision Analyzer - Brings up the Collision Analyzer in a separate window.
    • Debug Tool - Brings up the Debug Tool in a separate window.
    • Message Log - Brings up the Message Log in a separate window.
    • Output Log - Brings up the Output Log in a separate window.
    • Visual Logger - Bring up the Visual Logger tool in a separate window.
    • Class Viewer - Brings up the Class Viewer in a separate window.
    • Device Manager - Brings up Device Manager in a separate window.
    • Device Profiles - Brings up the Device Profiles in a separate window.
    • Modules - Brings up Modules in a separate window.
    • Session Frontend - Brings up Unreal Frontend in a separate window.
    • Widget Reflector - Brings up Widget Reflector in a separate window.
  • Find in Blueprints - Find references to functions, events and variables in all Blueprints.
  • GameplayCue Editor - Open Gameplay Cue Editor tab.
  • Project Launcher - The Project Launcher provides advanced workflows for packaging, deploying and launching your projects.
  • Localization Dashboard - Open the Localization Dashboard for this Project.
  • Reset Layout - Resets your layout to a default arrangement. Requires the editor to restart after saving your changes and creating a backup of your settings.
  • Save Layout - Saves the current layout of the panels as the new default layout.
  • Enable Fullscreen - Enables fullscreen mode for the application, expanding across the entire monitor.


  • Browse Documentation - Opens a browser window and navigates to the documentation about this tool.
  • Support - Opens a browser window to the Unreal Developers Network (UDN) forum page where you can ask a question about the Unreal Engine.
  • Forums - Go to the Unreal Engine forums to view announcements and engage in discussions with other developers.
  • Answer HUB - Go to the AnswerHub to  ask questions, search existing answers, and share your knowledge with other UE4 developers.
  • Visit - Opens in a browser window.
  • Credits - Displays application credits.
  • About Unreal Editor - Displays application credits, copyright information, and build information.


The following table lists the options in the Toolbar and what they do.



Saves the current asset.

Finds and selects the current asset in the Content Browser.


Applies any changes made in the Material Editor to the original Material and any uses of that Material in the world.


Finds expressions and comments in the current Material.


Centers the base Material node in the Graph panel.


Deletes any material nodes that are not connected to the Material.


Shows or hides material nodes that are not connected to anything.


If enabled, toggles real time update of the preview Material. Disable this option for faster Material Editor performance. See the Live Nodes and Live Update section.


Toggles real time update of the graph canvas.


If enabled, compiles the shaders of all subexpressions every time nodes are added, deleted, connected, or disconnected, or have their property values changed. Disable this option for faster Material Editor performance. See the Live Nodes and Live Update section.


Shows or hides Material statistics in the Graph panel.


Toggles the window that shows Material stats and compilation errors for multiple platforms.

Viewport Panel


The Viewport panel displays the Material being edited applied to a mesh.

You can navigate in the Viewport panel by using the options in the following table.



Drag with the left mouse button

Rotate the mesh

Drag with the middle mouse button


Drag with the right mouse button


Hold down L and drag with the left mouse button

Rotate the light direction

The viewport mesh can be changed by using the associated toolbar controls (the shape buttons, Select Preview Mesh combo, and Use Selected StaticMesh button). The viewport mesh is saved with the Material so that the next time the Material is opened in a Material Editor, it will be previewed on the same mesh.

Several icons appear along the top of the Preview panel; the following table details their usage.




Shows the result of your current Material on the respective primitive shape in the Preview panel.


Makes the selected Static Mesh in the Content Browser the preview mesh.


Toggles the Material Viewport Options 


Changes the type of Viewport that is used.


Changes the type of lighting the  Viewport is using.


Enables additional options to the Material Viewport.

Details Panel


This panel contains a property window for all currently selected material expression and function nodes. If no nodes are selected, the properties of the Material being edited will be displayed.

See Material Properties for descriptions of all Material properties.

Graph Panel


This panel contains a graph of all material expressions that belong to this Material. By default, each Material contains a single base Material node. This node has a series of inputs, each associated with a different aspect of the Material, that other material nodes can connect to.


See Material Inputs for descriptions of the various inputs of the base Material node.

Palette Panel

The Palette panel contains a list of material nodes that can be placed in a Material via "drag and drop". To place a new material node, drag it into the Graph panel.

You can filter the material nodes listed in the Palette panel by choosing either Expressions or Functions in the Category drop-down list.

For more information about material functions, see Material Functions.

Stats Panel


The number of shader instructions used in the Material as well as any Compiler Errors are displayed in this panel. The fewer the number of instructions, the less costly the Material. Material expression nodes that are not connected to the base material node do not contribute to the instruction count (cost) of the Material.

HLSL Code Panel


This panel shows the High Level Shader Language (HLSL) code that is generated by the current Material. Be aware that this is not an editor; you will not be able to change the HLSL code. Rather, this is merely a viewer to allow you to visualize the code defined by your material network.

The Code View panel is not visible by default. To display it, on the Window menu, click HLSL Code.

Platform Stats

You can view the cost of your Material on various platforms by clicking on the Platform Stats icon. 


You can view stats for each rendering API UE4 supports by clicking on the Settings option and then selecting the render you want to see stats for. 


In order to see the stat for Android you will need to first install Mali Offline Compiler by doing the following:

  1. Download and install the Mali Offline Compiler.
  2. Once the Mali Offline Compiler has been installed open up UE4 and from the Main Menu go Edit > Editor Preferences > Content Editors > Material Editor.
  3. Click the three dots to the right of the Mali Offline Compiler option and then locate the malisc.exe file that was installed when the Mali Offline Compiler was installed.
  4. Once that has been completed you will now be able to see stats for the various Android renders UE4 supports.

You will not be able to see the Android Platform stats without the offline compiler.

Graph Controls

Controls in the Material Editor generally match the controls of other tools in the Unreal Editor. For example, the material expression graph can be navigated as with other linked object editors, the material preview mesh can be oriented as per other mesh tools, etc.

Mouse Controls



LMB or RMB drag on background

Pan material expression graph

Rotate Mouse Wheel

Zoom in and out

LMB + RMB drag

Zoom in and out

LMB on object

Select expression/comment

Ctrl + LMB on object

Toggle selection of expression/comment

Ctrl + LMB drag

Move current selection/comment

Ctrl + Alt + LMB drag

Box select

Ctrl + Alt + Shift + LMB drag

Box select (add to current selection)

LMB drag on connector

Create connection (release on connector)

LMB drag from connection

Move connection (release on same type connector)

Shift + Double-Click LMB on connector

Marks the connector. Performing the action again with a connector marked will create connection between the two connectors. This is a quick way of making connections over large distances.

RMB on background

Bring up New Expression menu

RMB on object

Bring up Object menu

RMB on connector

Bring up Object menu

Alt + LMB on connector

Break all connections to connector

Keyboard Controls



Ctrl + B

Find in Content Browser

Ctrl + C

Copy selected expressions

Ctrl + S

Save all

Ctrl + V


Ctrl + W

Duplicate selected objects

Ctrl + Y


Ctrl + Z



Delete selected objects


Force update all material expression previews


(same as clicking apply)


You can use hotkeys to place commonly used material expression types. Hold down the hotkey and left-click to drop in the node. The hotkeys are as follows:













































Shift + C