Exporting Nested Layers to Illustrator and Hatches

When I export from Rhino to Illustrator and I have nested layers in Rhino, each layer comes into Illustrator with “::” between the parent and the child layer names. For example:


Is there anyway to have the layers show up as nested layers in Illustrator as well?

Also, could you add an export option to Illustrator that explodes hatches (except for solid hatch)? Right now when I’m exporting hatches I have to manually explode them, export, then undo the explode so that I keep them as hatches in Rhino. It would be much easier if Rhino could explode them as part of the export. Or if I were to really dream, it would be amazing if Rhino could create an Illustrator pattern swatch that matched the Rhino hatch so that it would be a fill pattern in Illustrator too. Maybe for V6?


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Hi Jacob- added to the pile- thanks.



(These are not available to the public yet)


Same issue for DXF/DWG export, which Illustrator will also open.

I see dollar $ signs between layer levels in all of these cases, not :: though.

Hi -
I’m still hoping to see layer nesting for AI export in a future update. I’m using Rhino 6 SR19 and AI export still operates like Jacob described it…turning each Rhino sublayer into individual layers in Illustrator. For example:

Turns to this:

Illustrator%20Capture )

Came here looking for the solution, saw this post, decided to add another voice for this feature, since it is already possible to have sublayers in AI. Also AutoCAD has something like that implemented.
(Rh 6.25, no changes in this regard)

Hi Tim - Printing and exporting using the Rhino PDF writer in Rhino 7 now supports nested layers in the PDF format.

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Ah, I see, that can be a workaround. I’ll keep that in mind, thank you.

HI there, another voice for this feature to be implemented for ai file exports.
Jeremy :slight_smile:

Hi Wim,

I am unable to save the layer structure when exporting to PDFs (Rhino7Beta) and opening in Illustrator(2020). Am I missing something?

This layer structure printed as vector rhino PDF becomes

This in illustrator

Or, when exporting selected, and choosing the options below

I get the same clipping group and layer structure as with print

What are your thoughts?


Hi Tim,
Just wondering if you’ve been able to make the nested layers work when exporting as a pdf to Illustrator?

Hey, no, haven’t had a chance yet. But yeah, would be nice to keep the hierarchy in direct AI export.

Hi Jeremy -

Could you post those 3dm and pdf files so that I can take a look?

Hi Wim :slightly_smiling_face:

Here’s the test files.

Jeremy Nested layers test.pdf (2.6 KB) Nested layers test.3dm (22.6 KB)

Hi Jeremy -
Thanks for these files.
I don’t have Illustrator but I downloaded the PDF and opened it in Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and get the following:

That seems to be correct. I’m afraid I don’t know what Illustrator does differently.

Hi Wim,
I also get the nested layers in Acrobat;

But alas in Illustrator, same file opens without the same luck.

If there is some solution to this, it would be very helpful; as when you have 500 layers/sublayers nested nicely in rhino; become 500 individual layers in illustrator, it takes a lot of time to ‘re-nest’ them.

Anyways, still amazingly appreciative of the community feedback and product improvement here. It’s interesting to note that Illustrator and Indesign are very inefficient at dealing with the kinds of outputs possible with Rhino. They seem to become bogged down as they don’t seem to be designed to handle so many curves.


Hi Jeremy - I noticed that Rhino also opens these nested PDF files un-nested and put that on our list as RH-61109. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that will have an impact on how these are written from Rhino but who knows…

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Being able to maintain layer hierarchies from make2d to illustrator would cut my drawing time dramatically. hopefully this can get implemented…

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Hi all, I made a little Illustrator script that does exactly this. I haven’t tested it fully, so maybe you all can help me out!

I can’t upload a .jsx file here, but you can find the code on my GitHub

This is what it does:


another voice to add this feature. that would be fantastic. Thank you

Thank you Sadi… An amazing script. I hope that Rhino fixes the nested layers soon enough :slight_smile: