Importing PDF in Rhino for Mac

I am having problems importing PDFs into Rhino. I have a plan drawing I want to use. When I browse around on the internet for tips on this I find that I can use the command BackgroundBitmap, but it does not allow me to import the PDF. Any suggestions?

try using the command Import

You can only import PDF’s that contain vector graphics (lines, curves, etc) and not PDF’s that contain only images. If the PDF contains both, only the vector graphics are imported. The import will create Rhino curve geometry.

For a background bitmap, you will first need to extract the image from the PDF and use either PictureFrame or BackgroundBitmap to place the image into Rhino.

HTH, --Mitch

I get the message “PDF File Read Error” when I try this.

Siv Lier

+47 45 47 34 58

I am not allowed to import the pdf-file in picture frame nor background bitmap. The file is grey and unselectable when I try this. Any clue why?

Siv Lier

+47 45 47 34 58

Have you opened the PDF in reader to see what it contains? --Mitch

I don’t know, @pascal, When using the BackgroundBitmap (or Picture) command, the Open Bitmap dialog defaults to All Files (.). When expanding the file type drop-down, only eligible file type are shown.

I’m just wondering if it would reduce ‘user error’ if only eligible files were shown in the first place…

Alternatively, perhaps a PDF could be attempted read anyway (?) and a message could be given that there are no objects to load (in this case because everything is vector). [just like one gets when trying to import a PDF with only images].

Yes, it is a plan drawing, attached you see a part of it (screenshot)

Siv Lier

+47 45 47 34 58

Well, if it is really a vector file and you are unable to open it in Rhino with import or Open, please either post the file here or send it directly to McNeel tech support for analysis.


Yeah… All Files seems incorrect here … I see ‘All files’ on Picture in the V6 WIP only so far - @wim, is there someplace else it turns up?



ah, should have tried that on RH 5.12, sorry about that.

But, no, nowhere else (except, of course (?), on BackgroundBitmap in the WIP but that’s obsolete anyway).

No, it´s not a vector file. I thought I could use a not vectorized file just to draw on top of in Rhino. (?)

As I said before, Rhino cannot import a raster (image) pdf directly as a background bitmap. You will need to extract the image as a jpeg, png or similar. It looks like Mac Preview will allow you to do this according to this page… --Mitch

I thought the same thing. But apparently not!

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