First look at single window modeling


The 2013-11-18 and later versions of Rhino for Mac will let you take a first look at single window modeling on the Mac. There is a test command, TestSingleWindowModeling, that will switch the modeling window to the new user interface. You have to type the whole thing, it won’t autocomplete.

Run the command, then quit and restart Rhino. When you do this, the Legacy preference panel is gone. There is a new Themes preference panel. The modeling window now has a left and right side bar.

This new window format can be used in full screen mode. OS X Mavericks handles multiple displays and full screen applications much better than previous OS X versions.

Floating panels are still available in the Window menu, so it possible to have both floating panels and side bar panels at the same time.

There is plenty of work yet to be done, so if you find its current state frustrating, don’t use it.

Transition to single window modeling

We will slowly transition to just this window style for Mac Rhino. Currently, single window modeling is off by default. After more work is completed, the default will be turned on so Rhino starts in single window mode. The TestSingleWindowModeling command will be available for a while to let users turn off the default. Finally, the TestSingleWindowModeling command will be removed entirely and the previous window styles will not be accessible.

Command options dialog

Although most people prefer working with the command options dialog, some have used the legacy command line because it never covers part of the modeling window. There will be command options panel (which is not implemented yet) that can be added to one of the side bars that will provide the same capabilities as the legacy command line.


There are two new commands, ToggleLeftSidebar and ToggleRightSidebar, that could be added as screen edge macros. These show and hide the sidebars.

You might consider making the tool buttons smaller using the Tool Palette preference panel. This will allow you to see more tool buttons and/or make the left side bar narrower.


Rhino for Windows V5 added a ribbon bar that contains all 900+ tool palette buttons. The Themes preference panel allows you to add this ribbon bar to the Mac version.

Personally, I do not like the ribbon bar because:

  • It duplicates what is already in the application menu without adding value
  • It replaces the descriptive words in the application menu with 900+ icons you have to either memorize or constantly hover over the icon to learn (again) what it does
  • It takes precious vertical screen space
  • Mac applications do not use the ribbon bar metaphor from Windows

In addition, feedback from some Windows users is that the ribbon bar is very confusing.

However, the ribbon bar is part of Rhino V5, so it is there if you depend on it. It will not be part of the default Mac user interface.

Outstanding issues

There are plenty of issues and bugs. Here are just a few:

  • Sidebars
    • Not customizable
    • Do not remember current state
    • No Current Command panel for command options
    • Should auto-reveal and auto-hide
    • Widths of side bar panels need some tuning so the side bars work better on smaller laptop displays
  • Modeling area
    • Can display extra viewports and floating viewports created in Windows Rhino, but cannot create them in Mac Rhino.
  • General
    • Plenty of visual glitches

Changing Themes requires a Rhino restart too.

Restarting Rhino is not necessary. The bottom of the Themes preference panel says, “Changes take effect for new modeling windows”.

love the single modeling set up- great work marlin!

Thanks Marlin!, this is good news.

Also, I don’t know if this has been mentioned before but there seems to be a bug when trying to change layers’ colours from object property’s palette. Steeps to duplicate the bug.

Select an object in the viewport
Open object property’s palette
Click on the colour box next to Display Color: By layer and try to modify the colour

Hope that makes sense,


I just noticed that I can’t even change layer’s colours from Layer’s Palette. I’m running latest Wenatchee (2013-11-18) on OSX Mavericks

You have “Piggy backed” your message onto an unrelated thread.
This is not a good thing.
Please repost your message with your example with an accurate title so it will be seen.

Loving the new look, here at home with 2 monitors but only on Lion, old Mac Pro 1,1 . Will try it on Mavericks @ work next week. So far so good.

I must say I am very excited by the new single window mode. It seems to be more in line will all of Apple’s new applications. I love the direction this is going. Keep up the great work Marlin!

Neat! Just one little gripe… is it possible to swop sides with the tool bar i.e. have it on the left? I’ve never understood why - I’m right handed - I have to cross the whole screen with my cursor to select a tool…

Are you using a Wacom?.

No, just a mouse

So then, I can’t understand your problem. Sometimes your cursor will be placed close to the right side and sometimes it will be close to the left side. We work in the viewport, which is located at the center, so there is the same distance to whatever side…

Exactly which version (date?) first contains this feature?

Hi Marlin,
I like your vision of Rhino for Mac as a single window application. Good work!

Judging by the recent update of the iWork Suite it seems Apple likes it too. :wink:

General Feedback and Ideas:

  • Maintaining the floating toolbars window styles as an option/theme should be considered, as it works quite well.

  • I like the idea of the command options Panel. It has a lot of potential interaction-wise. It could become some kind of a selection/command-aware panel like the new iWork sidebar.
    Random ideas: Stepping back and forth between multiple command-dialogs, Recording and Saving command options like Macros, Editing Text, etc… is a great example for a selection-aware dialog panel in a single window application.

  • The unified Toolbar should be customizable too. In its current state it takes screen space too.

  • The ToggleSidebar Icons and Ortho/Osnap/History/Gumball/Planar/Snap-Toggles could be moved to the scope bar or bottom bar. (Like has a little Icon in the scope bar to reveal the source list)

  • A dark theme would be a perfect fit for (Fullscreen) Rhino for Mac.
    Pixelmator has done this with perfection.

rhino for win users need this feature too!!

i like the single viewport modeling concept,it’s very efficient to view and check the geometry.

That looks very nice. Once I have the command line back I will love it even more. Great work.

This capability is still there. Just collapse the side bars and select the floating panels you want from the Window menu. Putting floating panels on a second display works fine in 10.8. I haven’t tried this yet with OS X Mavericks.

Stepping back and forth between the dialogs within a command is a good idea but is going to require support for this in core Rhino.

I agree it should be shorter in height. This is the standard toolbar height and it will take some custom programming that replaces the tool bar contents to get a shorter tool bar.

I totally agree. Apple already has a collection of darker controls that it uses for it’s own Pro apps (like Aperture) but Apple won’t let third parties use that library. :frowning:

We’d have to write our own set of controls to get the same look, and doing all that work just for a darker theme is not a priority right now.

I made a quick mockup to explain how to save screen space with a standard toolbar. You could even gain some modeling area when collapsing the toolbar and pass on the bottom bar.

The customizable toolbar items will duplicate sidebar items, but this is welcome when dealing with over 900 commands.

You have some interesting ideas, and I already considered some of them for future enhancements.

However, your layout only works for large monitors and won’t work on laptops, which is what most Rhino for Mac users have. Your mockup is too wide to fit on a laptop screen. Also, you dropped the current layers info from the tool bar, and that is an important piece that has not been in the Mac version until now.

Some of these things are already planned for the future, but we need to also consider the needs of laptop users.