Can't insert dxf file

Hi. Newbie trying to follow an instruction vid. El Capitan, Rhino 5.1 evaluation.

For some reason I can no longer INSERT the dxf file supplied. I was able to initially, but now the selection is unavailable.

My guess is I’ve inadvertently changed a setting while blundering… Can someone advise me on this please?

I can IMPORT and OPEN, but early in the process of following the video, responses differ so I can’t duplicate the command/response sequence, and I am assuming the different file opening methods are causing this. but - …er ‘I might be mistaken’ …(ZZ Top) Would import not insert cause differences like this?

What are the differences between INSERT and IMPORT?

I must say the HELP files are short on explanation.


When you import a file into the current document, the objects of that file are merged into the current document as they are in the other file.

When you insert an external file into the current document, a block is made of the geometry of the other file.

The workflow for dealing with these will be different but neither should cause problems with importing or inserting other files afterwards.

You can also insert files as ordinary geometry, not just blocks. The difference between Insert and Import is that import imports a file at 1:1 scale and relative to the world coordinate system, whereas Insert allows you to pick a specific insertion point, and apply a scale and/or rotation when inserting.

The dialog for Insert is therefore quite different from Import, as it handles all the above mentioned options.


But not when using “Insert File”…

I don’t use blocks and as such not insert either. Before I answered as I did I read the help file on Insert and when that left me slightly confused, I just went and tried it. The help file describes both cases (Insert Options versus Insert File Options but I didn’t realise that you invoke this by changing the way to start the insert …

This is one of the situations where I think a picture of the dialog box would help making the help file better. @margaret.

Don’t quite understand this… Don’t know what “Insert file” means, all I have is plain old Insert.

If you run Insert, you have the choice to insert the file as a block, group or individual geometry. You get to browse for the file, and you have all the settings concerning insert point, scale and rotation…

This video is for Windows, the Mac version looks a bit different but works identically.


Yes, that was a bit cryptic. Try to drag and drop a file into Rhino. Apparently that triggers the “Insert file” mechanism.

Thanks everyone…but as for INSERT coming up with options - well it does, but the dxf file of interest is greyed out - unavailable - whereas before I have completed the insertion.

Obviously something has changed and/or I’m doing something inappropriate.

I understand the explanations of the differences - to a point - I feel that that I need to know how to control these issues since I think for me most things will start with an existing file of some type.

So why would the dxf file be greyed out in the INSERT dialogue?

Thanks again,

Ahh, forgot, I think inserting files other than .3dm doesn’t yet work on Mac Rhino 5.1. I think it has been implemented in the current 5.2 WIP… Hang on, my current WIP expired, downloading the latest… Yes, dxf Insert is now working in Mac Rhino 5.2.

OK, got it. Drag 'n drop doesn’t work in Mac Rhino anyway, so for this particular thread, does not apply…


Except, of course, that the help file for the Mac version explains both - without explicitly stating how to trigger which behavior. So if you don’t know of some other way to provoke the behavior on the Mac, then that part of the help file is wrong / should be removed.

I take that back - drag 'n drop is now working in Mac Rhino 5.2 as well - BUT, it does not work the same as in Windows Rhino, all it does is open the dropped-in file in a new modeling window (like running (Open).

So yes, @margaret, the Mac help does need to be fixed on this one. --Mitch

Got it. Thanks.

Where does something need to be fixed on this?

I’m revising the Import, Insert, and Open topics.