How to create measurement guidelines, responsive dimensions?

Hi all,

I’m coming into Rhino from using SketchUp, in which using the measuring tape tool to draw out guidelines/visual aids is very common. Is there a way to in Rhino create measurement guidelines (that stay on the screen and don’t vanish)? I find it super helpful when building something to sketch it our using guides first, or when laying things out to use guides as just a visual marque of where things might go, or midpoints between things, etc.

I’m also wondering if there is a way to make objects respond to dimensions? For example, to quickly alter something when you use dimension, if you alter the dimension the thing being measured would respond?


Add Guide maybe something to look at, and Box Edit may be your friend for quickly changing dims of objects, hth :+1:

thanks for the response! I looked at tutorials about this and Add Guide was all that came up–my issue with it is that it seems not very helpful? It does not really display any measurement as you’re putting it down, it’s just a line, and then it vanishes after putting it down unless I am drawing something. What I’m hoping for is a dotted line of sorts that could be laid down/toggled on/off when needed, and that displays measurement at the same time.

Box Edit! this is kind of helpful. It does not seem to do…exactly what I was hoping for but kind of helps if the polysurface i’m working on is exploded. Is there something similar like this for say, moving objects? Like say I have and object on top of some surface. The space between the object and the edge is 4" but I draw out the space between them using dimension at 2"–is there a way to move the object to 2"?


the Move command may help you, and the Gumball is a great little tool for moving, rotating etc :+1:

thanks! yeah I always have gumball on, and do use the move tool, I was just hoping for a more fluid way that involved fewer clicks/less typing. Do you know of a way to Osnap to dimensions?


not sure what you mean by osnap to dimensions ? You should be able to snap to any point as long as you have the check box ticked and osnaps on. You can also use Scale1D to quickly resize objects, including curves and dimension lines. Move and Scale1D are commands I use loads in Rhino. And he gumball is incredibly useful too. It will take you a while to get your head round Rhino if you’re coming over from SU, quite a bit to learn, but you won’t regret it, Rhino is way more versatile, powerful and creative than SU, and you don’t need 101 plugins to get basic functionality :joy::joy: (extensions you guys call them I think)

AddGuides will be useful in your workflow, you just have to get used to them appearing when you draw an object or curve. I also assign a layer which I just use for temporary geometry, mostly curves, lines etc for using as guides. There’s a tutorial you will find helpful, its a few years old now, ut still relevant, it was made for SU users coming into the Rhino3d world, link below :+1:

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Yes, I’ve been doing all you’re suggesting since I started 2 weeks ago–the add guides are not really useful since I need guides that are permanent, not just something that turns on when i’m drawing since more often i’m correcting things as I go. By OSnapping to dimensions I meant the measurements drawn out when you use the various dimension tools, and using those as points to snap to. I’ve been using move and scale 1D, would just be nice if I could use those dimensions as points to move to, or use as drawing guides since they seem like the closest thing to measurements Rhino has. Sometimes Rhino snaps to them, but seems very random when it does and only where the arrows meet the crossing lines?

attached an example of me trying to snap to them but it not hitting

I watched that video, as well as the knife, waterbottle demo etc, and they teach a lot but where I really feel a struggle is setting up guides and ways to visually see measurements as a I make things. My partner uses Solidworks and from what I know it also has guides/measuerments that you can set up, so was thinking if SketchUp and Solidworks had that shared, Rhino would have something similar.

I love SketchUp for what it has, although what it has is super limited without plugins yeah.

SketchUp is ok, I do still use on rare occasions. It sounds like you need to play around with you Osnap settings, you can snap to dimensions. If you are not liking the AddGuides try creating a layer for temporary line work, for using as guides, you can also change the the lines to dashed, dotted etc etc. couple of screenshots attached

hmmm all of my o snap settings have been on, I think it’s just that the only part of the dimension thats selectable is that tip of the triangle?

For example, I have this holder I am designing–how would you recommend drawing/setting up guides on the face? Is there anyway to do that entirely in perspective view? The only way I can snap to the face now is when I’m in Right view, it does not hit the spot I want so I need to then move+scale to get it where I want–say, in-between the openings. Is there a more fluid way to simply mark the surface without switching views?


Just some possible solutions.

Modify your Grid to suit the situation.
Snap to Grid

@denniswitkin Take some time to review the User’s Guide which is a tutorial on how to use Rhino. Also worth spending time review is the Level 1 Training Manual and Level 2 Training Manual. Rhino works differently than SketchUp and some different approaches are sometimes needed to be efficient using Rhino. When creating geometry in Rhino I frequently directly input dimensions.

Hi David,

I’ve been going through the videos on rhino’s vimeo page, as well as youtube videos as the user manual is a ton of text and it’s hard for me to really get the grip of things myself even with the files they include to work off of. I just did a search of the manual now to try to find some answers to my above questions and came up short. Any specific section I should look at?

Based on the general direction of your questions look at Level 1 Manual, Chapter 5 Accurate Modeling.

Take a look at using C-Planes , :+1:

Hi @denniswitkin,
Welcome to Rhino. Like you, I also migrated from SketchUp To Rhino. It was long time ago but I still remember that it took me a bit of time to change my mindset to properly model in Rhino. Bear in mind that the approach to modelling in sketchUp is very different to the way Rhino works.

I’ve recorded a video that shows the approach I would use when modelling that holder you were trying to build. There are many ways to do this, but I wanted to show you how easy is to build something like this in Rhino, and that you can do everything in perspective. Take a look and keep asking anything you don’t understand.

Basic commands I used here:

1 Command+Shift+LeftMouseButton selects subobjects entities like edges, faces…
2 _CPlane with object mode will place your working plane on the surface you have selected. In my case, I selected the surface first with Cmd+Shift+LMB and then I used _CPlane >Object
3 Activate Gumball and set it to snappy mode as I show in the video.
4 Activates Osnap/ End

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wow wow wow! ok thank you José! This definitely helps with a lot with what I’ve been having trouble with and the video is especially helpful!

I’ve hot keyed CPlane>Object since it’s something I’ll be using super often. Super Super helpful! Thank you again!


I’m glad I could help!