Rhino Guide

Here is a basic and crude  introduction to Rhino:

  1.  First of all, make sure you “CLICK” for confirming your commands in Rhino (enter is to activate a command or get out of a command).
  2. Make sure your start your drawing in the right unit setting (command: UNITS)
  3. Rules of Thumb
    -Any Geometry with NO Length, Width or Height is a “0” dimension object or 0D
    -Any geometry with only  Length is a 1 Dimensional object or 1D   [example: lines, curves and anything under the curve menu in rhino’s top menu bar]
    -Geometries with Length and Width are 2 Dimensional or 2D  [example: flat surfaces and most of the items in Surface top menu bar ]
    -Geometries with Length, Width and Height are 3 Dimensional or 3D [example: solids, polysurfaces and anything with volume, Solid and Mesh in top menu bar]
  4. You can download cool plugins and add-ons for your rhino at : (example: in-place-block edit, or try Box Edit tool)
  5. few shortcuts:
    F3: activates the properties menu (keep always on!)
    F8: Ortho
    F9: Grid Snap
    F10: Control Points ON
    F11: Control Points OFF
  6. in the beginning it’s not a bad idea to leave the “command help…” from the help menu on, this will guide you through commands and steps you need to take, it’s a helpful reference.


  • Right click is your best friend for orbiting and panning.
  • Use Shift and Ctrl keys while using the right click to Pan and Zoom on a dolly
  • Always be aware of where you are snapping, look at all viewports before you click.
  • Make sure your Planar function is on if you need lines on a consistent elevation (next to OSNAP on the bottom of the page)
  • Always read the command prompt as you go through the commands.




  • Start with lines, polylines and curves to start your geometries, simplify your model in your mind. (Analyze complex models as if you had to break them down into plans and sections.)
  • Always work with proper layering! You put the geometries in layers based on what they are and their materiality, this is key for rendering.(example: when modeling a door, there needs to be a layer for the door panel, the door frame(if different material from the door panel!) and a door knob, if there is glass in the door you need to have a Door_Glass layer as well.)
  • Use pictureframe command to bring in an image or scanned drawing that you need to scale (make sure it’s layered properly so you can lock the layer)
  • Don’t be shy to use guide lines and geometries that you can delete later, they save you time and help you work accurately!
  • Extrude a line you get a Surface (going from (1D to 2D)
  • Extrude a surface you get a Solid object (2D to 3D)
  • Use Slab  command to make walls, steps etc
  • Use Revolve to make a door knob, bottle or any object you can make on a lathe.
  • Use CAP to close any planar open polysurface
  • Use surface tools to create a planar surface from a closed planar curve, command : PlanarSRF
  • ·         Use Edgesrf to create a surface with chosing lines,curves as surface edges
  • Use Loft to create an organic (or faceted) surface with sectional lines (example: if you wanted to design a Vase, a Gehry style tower or building.)
  • *remember you can use edges of a polysurface, surface … as curves in your commands. (ex. If you wanted to extrude a glass from the edge of the wall; type extrudecrv (extrude curve), read the command prompt, select the edge that you need to extrude the glass from and give it the direction and height that it needs)
  • Use project and project to C plane commands to flatten your lines and geometries with different elevations, or get them projected on a surface of an object, *make sure you are in the viewport that you want to project in before you hit the final enter.



  • Use the family of SEL… commands to filter your selection, examples: SELCRV=select curve, SELSRF=select surface, SELColor, etc …
  • Scale 1D , Scale 2D, and Scale ; changing the scale of an object only in one direction (ex. A line, only the length of an object), two directions  (ex. Surface , change L*W or area)or globally make an object larger or smaller (ex. Any 3D objects that you need to make bigger or smaller like a door knob, chair, etc.)
  • Use trim, extend, fillet and other commands that you are familiar with from ACAD on lines and curves. There might a slight difference but if you read the command prompt you will be able figure it out.
  • Offset, distance, join and whole bunch of other commands are exactly like ACAD, be curious and explore their full-potential functions.
  • Boolean Union and Boolean Difference (and other Booleans) will allow you to modify your base solids (solid is a term used in rhino for enclosed 3D objects)
  • Turn control points on with F10, or from the side menu if needed to edit lines, curves and some surfaces.
  • You can use trim and split commands to modify curves (that includes polylines and lines) and surfaces.
  • You can explode polysurfaces into surface
  • Use blocks, name them appropriately. When you make a block make sure it is put in the corresponding layer. (ex. If you make a door block, it has to be on the “DOOR” layer and not on “Flowerbox_Grass” layer!)
  • Try Group command if you had to, it’s better to use blocks, they are more controllable but groups help in some sticky situations, this is the only command we have not covered but that was on purpose!
  • Inplaceblockedit is what you always need to use for editing blocks.
  • Use INSERT (from the file menu or type it.) to bring in an existing block or something you have downloaded from the internet. If you need them read as an XREF make sure you select Link at the bottom left corner.
  • Block Manager is how you keep an eye on your blocks, links (Xrefs)
  • Type UNITS to change and modify your unit settings.



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