What are Prefabs and How to Use Them?

What are Prefabs and How to Use Them?

Let's learn how to use prefabs in Unity. If you’re looking to streamline your game development process, understanding and utilizing prefabs is essential.

What is a Prefab?

Prefabs are essentially reusable blocks that can be repeatedly used within Unity, functioning like templates that you can easily manipulate and customize for 2 main purposes:

Bulk Editing

The first and most evident thing Prefabs do is allow you to bulk edit items in your game. Imagine you have multiple objects in your game that need to be edited simultaneously. With prefabs, you can make changes to one instance and automatically apply those changes across all instances of the prefab. This is particularly useful for large-scale edits and ensures consistency throughout your game. While you can get away with updating objects manually on a small scale, it can get out of hand very fast.

Update one thing, one time, and don't get lost in the weeds.


The less apparent use for prefabs is for spawning purposes. If you have any item in your scene that you want to spawn in vs. manually place, you'll have to use prefabs to do this. To spawn in anything into your game, whether it be enemies, coins, or powerups, requires the use of a template.

Prefab Best Practices:

As a best practice, prefab early and prefab as much as you possibly can.

What can you Use Prefabs for?

You can turn nearly anything into a prefab. While you can turn things like NPCs, environment assets, and players into prefabs, you can also turn effects like particle effects and trails into prefabs as well.

How Do I Turn Something into a Prefab?

Simply drag and drop your game object that's in your scene somewhere into your assets folder. Once the object turns blue in your scene, you'll know you've succeeded. Then, you can keep or remove that item from your scene.

How do I remove a prefab?

Say you've turned something into a prefab, but you don't want it as a prefab anymore. Simply right click, navigate to the "prefab" drop down, and select "Unpack."