Aliases vs. Shortcuts

I’m not sure I understand the distinction between aliases and just creating a KB short cut under the customize section, outside of being able to have a series of keystrokes “SelPolySurface” vs a single character + modifiers. They’re obviously there for a reason or the development time wouldn’t have been put into them being there, but I don’t quite grasp the nuance of why there are two separate mechanisms to achieve essentially the same thing (save a trip to a button with the mouse).

Further, in several of the alias definitions the KB trigger is very much like a shortcut (single char + various modifiers), and in these cases when looking a the shortcut list in customize will any Alias assignments show up in that list to help avoid inadvertently assigning the same char + modifier leading to an ambiguous result?

Just trying to get my head around the nuance…


In general keyboard shortcuts execute something immediately on a keypress (or combo keypress), whereas aliases need Enter afterwards in order to execute.

The thing about aliases is that they can compete with the autocompletion - however, in general, aliases are supposed to take precedence if they have been programmed. For example, I use CloseCrv a lot, most of the time if I type ‘clo’ I get that via autocomplete, but sometimes I get CloseViewport, which is annoying… So I programmed ‘clo’ as an alias for CloseCrv, and then ‘clo’ always executes CloseCrv.

There are a lot more keyboard shortcuts available under Windows than Mac, as there are F1-F12 plus combinations of those with Ctrl and Shift. Mac has a lot of stuff reserved system-wide, Windows does not.

In Windows Rhino in any case it’s not possible to add any more keyboard shortcuts than are already there (you can change all of them though, and there are tons of unassigned ones) and it’s also not possible to program aliases with any of the keyboard shortcuts, as they all involve modifier or function keys. Aliases can only be alphanumeric strings.


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Good info to know, thanks!

Since access to it’s buried under app preferences vs. customize I’ve sort of tended to overlook that it’s there. The fact that it overrides the “stock” command line stuff is probably good and bad, for reasons you mentioned above, but also bad in that some of the commands I’d have never ran into otherwise (not knowing they even existed due to not having an icon setup for them on a tool pallete) have been discovered while trying to bring up something else and going “well I haven’t seen that one before, what’s it do?”.

At least with RC2 the command help finally coincides with the mac version so I’ll start exploring that when I get some time.

just for conversation mainly…

shortcuts are normal… osx (and windows) have hundreds of default shortcuts and they’re used (or can be used) in all applications or os type tasks you may encounter.

aliases are the bonuses in rhino.

the question seems a little backwards: “why include shortcuts when we have aliases”… it should really be “why include aliases when we already have keystrokes?”…
then the answer becomes more apparent.

oh wait… i think you asked the question the way i was thinking it the ‘right’ way to ask it… ‘why aliases when there are already keystrokes’.

in that case… it’s just more options i suppose.
i think it’s more of what suits you best… personally, i use most of the shortcuts available in rhino in some form or another (shortcuts, aliases, screen edges, mouse buttons, trackpad gestures). mostly aliases but probably around 12 keystrokes too… i think some people prefer menus and icons… which is fine too.

rhino is the most customizable program i use… i don’t know all the apps but still, rhino is pretty far up there as far as being able to create customized workflows on mac… in part, due to the addition of aliases.

I found aliases can be very useful when I stack various commands in to 1 key. :slight_smile: something that is impossible to do with Shortcuts , like, I set key “P” to create rectangle (XY plane) , “PP” to create Rectangle (Vertical) "PPP for 3 points rectangle :smile:
I even have this ridiculous aliases "MMMM = Move Vertical by 3000mm ) :sweat:

and then after several weeks not using Rhino, I cant remember how many “M” I need to press to call that macro :cold_sweat:

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I use these single and double letter aliases almost likely:

G - Group
GG - Ungroup

H - Hide
HH - ShowSelected
HHH - HideSwap

M - Move

RT - Rotate
RTT - Rotate3D

D - Delete

XX - Explode

U - Undo
R - Redo

N - Line
NN - Lines
NNN - Polyline

F - Fillet (2D)
FE - FilletEdge (3D)

CF - Chamfer (2D)
CFE - ChamferEdge (3D)

CX - C-Plane vertical to X-axis
CY - C-Plane vertical to Y-axis
CZ - C-Plane vertical to Z-axis

They seem to be faster to me, because my right hand hovers mostly above the ENTER key, and typing the same (or nearby) letter multiple times again is really fast.

hat trick: you can trigger “non-persistent” object snaps when the command is running, e.g.

ER - near
O - ortho (working out of the box)
S - grid snap (working out of the box)

These last ones are my most time-saving tricks I all the time use.

additional hat trick: aliases can be exported as a text file and re-imported on ANY Rhino installation (Windows AND Mac), to keep things working the same for you.

hope this helps!

hahaha, thanks for sharing mate… lovely! since I am leftie, my aliases are always the letter that is close to Enter key as well, I only have problem executing “Tab” axis locking since it cannot be overwritten to any other key.

but now I dont use aliases anymore, because I have a bad habit of forgetting shortcut and aliases if I dont use the software very often. so I came up with asign-ing all commands to a single popup menu with Middle mouse click. ( took me weeks to arrange every command though ). I think not so many people use this pop up menu bar but I found it more handy than aliases or shortcut.
the only aliases that I keep is F = zoom . and shortcut F1 - F4 to toggle wire-shaded-Render-Render+Wire.
normally I use option-Export Option to copy all the UI changes and also have to manually copy my custom toolbar…

I have never noticed about that S - Grid Snap, that is very handy thanks mate :)))))

Thanks, I use both Aliases and the middle mouse button pop-up

Great stuff…

Question on the cplane ones: do these set the cplane to x y z with relationship to the object or world space?

Often I’d like to temporarily move the cplane relative to say the object’s z axis in order to be able to move an object or group in x y then revert the cplane back to the native cplane for the viewport (I.e. “Top” view for the perspective viewport). Would something like this be the easiest way to do this?