glBindTexture — bind a named texture to a texturing target

C Specification

void glBindTexture(GLenum target,
 GLuint texture);



Specifies the target to which the texture is bound. Must be either GL_TEXTURE_1D, GL_TEXTURE_2D, GL_TEXTURE_3D, or GL_TEXTURE_CUBE_MAP.


Specifies the name of a texture.


glBindTexture lets you create or use a named texture. Calling glBindTexture with target set to GL_TEXTURE_1D, GL_TEXTURE_2D, GL_TEXTURE_3D or GL_TEXTURE_CUBE_MAP and texture set to the name of the new texture binds the texture name to the target. When a texture is bound to a target, the previous binding for that target is automatically broken.

Texture names are unsigned integers. The value zero is reserved to represent the default texture for each texture target. Texture names and the corresponding texture contents are local to the shared display-list space (see glXCreateContext) of the current GL rendering context; two rendering contexts share texture names only if they also share display lists.

You may use glGenTextures to generate a set of new texture names.

When a texture is first bound, it assumes the specified target: A texture first bound to GL_TEXTURE_1D becomes one-dimensional texture, a texture first bound to GL_TEXTURE_2D becomes two-dimensional texture, a texture first bound to GL_TEXTURE_3D becomes three-dimensional texture, and a texture first bound to GL_TEXTURE_CUBE_MAP becomes a cube-mapped texture. The state of a one-dimensional texture immediately after it is first bound is equivalent to the state of the default GL_TEXTURE_1D at GL initialization, and similarly for two- and three-dimensional textures and cube-mapped textures.

While a texture is bound, GL operations on the target to which it is bound affect the bound texture, and queries of the target to which it is bound return state from the bound texture. If texture mapping is active on the target to which a texture is bound, the bound texture is used. In effect, the texture targets become aliases for the textures currently bound to them, and the texture name zero refers to the default textures that were bound to them at initialization.

A texture binding created with glBindTexture remains active until a different texture is bound to the same target, or until the bound texture is deleted with glDeleteTextures.

Once created, a named texture may be re-bound to its same original target as often as needed. It is usually much faster to use glBindTexture to bind an existing named texture to one of the texture targets than it is to reload the texture image using glTexImage1D, glTexImage2D, or glTexImage3D. For additional control over performance, use glPrioritizeTextures.

glBindTexture is included in display lists.


glBindTexture is available only if the GL version is 1.1 or greater.

GL_TEXTURE_CUBE_MAP is available only if the GL version is 1.3 or greater.


GL_INVALID_ENUM is generated if target is not one of the allowable values.

GL_INVALID_OPERATION is generated if texture was previously created with a target that doesn't match that of target.

GL_INVALID_OPERATION is generated if glBindTexture is executed between the execution of glBegin and the corresponding execution of glEnd.

Associated Gets

glGet with argument GL_TEXTURE_BINDING_1D

glGet with argument GL_TEXTURE_BINDING_2D

glGet with argument GL_TEXTURE_BINDING_3D

See Also

glAreTexturesResident, glDeleteTextures, glGenTextures, glGet, glGetTexParameter, glIsTexture, glPrioritizeTextures, glTexImage1D, glTexImage2D, glTexParameter


Copyright © 1991-2006 Silicon Graphics, Inc. This document is licensed under the SGI Free Software B License. For details, see