Save-game editing

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This article may contain outdated information that is inaccurate for the current version of the game. It was last updated for 1.5.

This article details Stellaris save game format and how to edit them. As a reminder, always make a backup copy of your save file before editing!


OS Location
Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Paradox Interactive\Stellaris\save games\$EMPIRENAME+ID\
Mac $HOME/Documents/Paradox Interactive/Stellaris/save games/$EMPIRENAME+ID
Linux $HOME/.local/share/Paradox Interactive/Stellaris/save games/$EMPIRENAME+ID
Linux (newer versions) $STEAMFOLDER/userdata/$STEAMID/281990/remote/save games/$EMPIRENAME+ID

Cloud saves cannot be edited.


Each .sav file is a ZIP archive containing two text files: gamestate and meta. They include all the game state data and the meta-information that is shown on the load game screen.

The game seems to be unusually picky about the format when loading:

  • The files within the ZIP archive must use UNIX-style newlines. Windows Notepad will not save the newlines correctly, so another editor such as Notepad++ must be used.
  • The files within the ZIP archive must have correct timestamps. See OS-specific instructions below.

Compression on Windows[edit]

Options for 7-Zip

Use 7-Zip with the following options:

  • Archive format: zip
  • Compression method: Deflate
  • Do not include NTFS timestamps (tc=off parameters in bottom left of 7-Zip, or use a version equal to 9.12 beta or earlier)

Do not use WinRAR as it messes compressed lines.

Compression on Linux or macOS[edit]

Use Apple's Archive Utility app to unzip the .sav game file. To do that:

Navigate and select Archive Utility app
1. Right-click the .sav file and click Open With > Other...
2. Navigate to: <computer_name>/System/Library/ CoreServices/Applications
3. In the Choose Application dialog change Enable option to All Applications
4. Select the Archive Utility, then click Open

A folder appears with the same name as the .sav file containing the gamestate and meta files. Edit using any text editor able to save in Unix LF format.

Put the save back together using:

   zip -X output.sav gamestate meta

The -X flag is needed to "eXclude eXtra file attributes".

Alternatively, run this Python script from the directory containing the gamestate and meta files.