Grab the Bull by the Horn: 11 Rhino Tricks and Shortcuts


Diandra Cohen  Grab the Bull by the Horn: 11 Rhino Tricks and Shortcuts

“Hey, how do you … ” or Dr. Google are ways to keep up with various how-tos in Rhino. Below we have compiled, with inspiration from Rhino’s very own McNeel, a list of 11 software tricks (see: TRICKS ARE FOR KIDS), efficient workflows (see: THE NEED FOR SPEED), and choices (see: CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE) in Rhino to make your workflow smooth sailing (well, smoother)!


The Tab Key Locks a Vector in Any Direction

If you hit the TAB key before your second click in the line function, tab will constrain to the direction (any) that you point your mouse. Note: the SHIFT key functions the way in the x-y-z direction. The tab key will do this anywhere and with any command (requiring two points and a direction).

A Shortcut to Trimming

FILLET (or CHAMFER) will trim lines, with a radius of zero (select trim and join corners) without having to select the curves in trim. Fillet remembers settings so use chamfer instead if more convenient.

Switch Back and Forth Between Two Views Quickly

Undo and redo views with HOME and END keys.


Drag and Drop Multiple Files of Any Type Into the Rhino Task Bar

Drag and drop multiple files of any type into the task bar; then, choose from open, insert, import, or attach.

Save Entire Workflows Using Scheme

Aliases, appearance and colors, toolbar layout, command defaults, dialog box positions, mouse settings, render settings, and shortcuts can be saved using schemes. It’s like you never left! You can do this for multiple schemes for different types of workflows.

  • Create a shortcut with the destination C:\Program Files\Rhino 4.exe
  • /Scheme = YOURSCHEME
  • Launch Rhino with the workspace options that you prefer, and your settings will be saved.

Selection Filter in the Task Bar

The selection filter can be accessed as usual in the command line. But if you find yourself in a rush and want to filter selections using the keyboard without having to pull out the mouse … type it into the command line.

This can be useful for trimming surfaces (with an edge curve rather than with an additional surface) without having to DUPEDGE. Type TRIM, and when prompted to select cutting objects, type CRV. Voilà, when you click on the edge of the surface that you would like to keep, a new edge curve will automatically become the trimming object. This is also useful with SPLIT.

Copy and Paste Multiple Types of Complex Geometry

Use BLOCK to copy and paste multiple and large items in a sequence without having to select geometry (that may be complex) multiple times. Block replaces your geometry with an instance and saves the definition. For instructions on how to use block, click here.

Fullscreen Mode and Image Capture to File

For quick presentations, use FULLSCREEN, and for quick image view saves, type IMAGECAPTURETOFILE. You can change file size using _IMAGECAPTURETOFILE.

Another Quicker Smaller Render Preview

Use RENDERPREVIEWWINDOW to get an even quicker or smaller section of the viewport using a rectangle selection than the normal RENDERPREVIEW for small details without having to move the camera.


Dots Over Text

Unlike text, dots always remain parallel to the view plane and are always the same size regardless of the orientation or zoom of the model. Note that dots are visible in Rhino only, and you can’t modify dots’ sizes or styles. Note: SELDOT to select dots!

Picture Frame Over Background Bitmap

PICTUREFRAME has several advantages over BACKGROUNDBITMAP. Images are more flexible, powerful, and vibrant because you can place as many images on the scene and they can viewed in any and all of the viewports. In rendered mode, the images can be dimmed or made more transparent and can be scaled and rotated without having to run through the task.

PICTUREFRAME will not always be behind the image because it’s not aligned to the cplane X and Y like BACKGROUNDBITMAP.

This article was adapted from Rhino’s Hidden Secrets on McNeel Wiki.