Export Selected Layout to Illustrator

Is there a way to export/plot a layout with it’s lines/layers directly to Illustrator?

The only long workaround is to plot to PDF, which doesn’t preserve layers in Illustrator. So, I’ve been selecting lines by colors and recreating layers manually for each drawing.

Thanks for any advice you can give!

That is what I was going to suggest… currently I think that is it.


Since only exporting to AI from model space in AI format replicates layers, perhaps its better to export all of your geometry to AI in one shot, and do your layout work in AI?

I am randomly adding to this discussion, but there are many similar focusing on exporting layouts as separate drawings to other formats (ai, dwg, dxf,…).
It seems like for quite some time the only work around is colour by layer, export one by one as pdf, import pdf to a new 3dm, assign layers by colours, export to any format. Quite dirty.
Still the only option, especially if I´d like to batch it?
Is there any improvement on this in Rh6?

Hi all,

Let’s talk layouts.

I’ve done quite a few tests of Rhino Layout < > Illustrator and shared with @pascal. Layout is an area where it would be great to see some more ambitious workflow and export improvements.

The low hanging fruit is creating a multi-page PDF export of all your layout pages with layer support (PDF supports layers and other illustrator capabilities). The advantage of adding full illustrator editability to PDFs is that you can also open those multi-page PDFs in Indesign, or PowerPoint (Adobe Acrobat exports PDFs to PowerPoint and works really well). So you can create entire presentations/documents in Rhino with live geometry and export/publish to a 2D documentation package when you are done.

Made some model changes? No problem! All your layout pages in Rhino will be live updated. So export again and you are done. …if you were creating screenshots and making your documents elsewhere all your screenshots are now obsolete and you have to manually redo everything. This is an absolute waste of time. And this is the wasteful way we spend our days many of us. And it doesn’t have to be this way.

More ambitious/complete workflow:

Rhino layout needs a few more tools for this workflow to make sense, but many pieces are there and this is something that would benefit all users, at all experience levels, in all industries. So I don’t see this as a 5% tool, like some of the other improvements being discussed in this forum. Especially because people don’t need to learn to craft multi-page documents in things like indesign, deal with PowerPoint and obsolete model screenshots that constantly need to be updated, or try to make a document layout of text/images/callouts in Word (a difficult task and a nightmare UX). Also imagine the possibilities of saving/recalling all model states in one ‘living document’:

Material assignments
Layer visibility
Object visibility
Curve Shutlining on/off (important for design variations)
Named position
Active clipping planes/Section views
Active foreground/background images
Grasshopper configuration states

I’ve shown live presentations with only half of this things being recalled using the old script NameViewManager (broken again in current V5/V6); and the fast iteration/recalling of states drew more interest than the work being shown!

With these tools not only you can do a one-shot export of the entire 3D document as a shareable 2D document (PDF, word, PowerPoint) but you can also package each ‘layout viewport’ as a separate 3D file for RP/fabrication output. Example: you have one Rhino+Grasshopper file with 15 states that you would like to build. You create a multi-page layout document. And you export a ‘package’, this package includes a document with views/text/callouts of all your 15 states, and also 15 .stl (or whatever format you choose) files matching the names of each of those states/layout viewports. You have now a build document (PDF), and the 3D files needed for a service bureau to build your models.

We could also have options for make2D at export time. So you can work with live 3D models creating all your views, fully editable, nothing becomes obsolete; then flatten&vectorize them at the last minute in one shot.

Don’t need vectors, but you where using make2D just to have crisp lines? Maybe we can have an export setting that lets you choose what resolution to bake all your technical view layout viewports at. So the can be as high-res/antialiased and you need.

Want some/all view as photorealistic renderings? Just export the entire document as ‘render at export’. So now your entire document (all the needed views) will be rendered and assembled in the background while you are not on the computer. You can maybe even package this document and send it to a render farm or a colleague with a faster machine, and let them ‘bake it’ for you for a fee/a case of beers.

This would be a great 2017 project. Maybe as a plugin so it can be iterated faster than a Rhino build.

If you like the idea tell @bobmcneel. @RhinoFabStudio and I have been nagging him for a few years on this, we have him almost convinced. It might take a few more years or a bunch of people voting this up to give it priority.



Yea, getting 2D out and into IL or ID has been an issue for years - they are using a woefully outdated format, many threads about this.

In one of those theads, one of the developers mentions that PDF is the “modern” method of attack.

Either way, the ability to post process 2D output needs some :heart:️…please

I’ve got a presentation to put together and this is exactly what I need…the ability to add layer upon layer in something like PowerPoint.
What’s the status of this idea? Has it been implemented? I’m running Rhino 5 on Windows 7 64 bit.

Our documentation team spends countless hours by doing all this ‘layout work’ outside of Rhino because they do not have a way to easily manage all the variants/permutations/saved views/layers visibility/material(color) assignments/active clipping planes, etc. So in most cases they don’t have a single file, or even if it’s all in one file there’s not an easy way to recall each view state.

I’m mentioning recalling, because creating each of these views once takes about the same amount of time done in various ways. The problem is after all this work is done and the model changes. if this is not all done IN Rhino, and with a saved multi-page layout all the prior work is absolutely wasted.

I think before a global export can be created, a global save/recall of all possible states of a model into what makes a unique view needs to be implemented. I know the need and some conceptual ideas have been clearly identified and demonstrated to some folks at McNeel. I also think this has broad user appeal, for pretty much all industries if you need to either present or document your work.

The only thing missing is available developers to tackle this. Not an easy challenge for them.


2021 and we still here? :smiley:


I’ll just add my vote for this.

I’m honestly quite confused what the thinking is. McNeel are clearly serious about 2D output, because Make2d and layout features keep improving. Rhino already has the ability to make decent-quality 2D drawings of 3D geometry, and to export those drawings in an editable format; it just doesn’t use those abilities when you export layouts, which makes the entire layout system nearly pointless.

I mean, you can tweak line weights and clipping planes and layer states all you like, but an export of a wireframe view is simply not the same thing as a usable drawing. Even if it was in an editable format, it could take hours of work to clean up each drawing. And McNeel obviously know this, because the layout documentation is conspicuously based on flat 2D geometry only.

If layouts worked the way they are supposed to, I would pay money for that on its own; as it is, I can’t use them at all, and the weird thing is, I don’t understand how anyone possibly could. It’s bizarre.

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