Layouts, Details, Layers, and Visibility

I’m a long-term Rhino user but am only now learning how to use the Layout feature. I’m finding the implementation totally baffling, and I’m wondering what I’m missing.

The desired functionality seems so simple. Having designed a complex model in 3D using many layers, the hard work is done. The final step of generating 2D construction documents should be straight-forward. I just want to specify the view and scale I want for each detail and add dimensions and notes to each. Ideally, I would like be able to lock the detail to prevent any accidental changes as I finalize work on other details.

But instead of that straight-forward process, the Layout feature, in effect, requires me to specify everything I DON’T want the detail to show. And if I don’t have visibility set in the model exactly as it was when I created the detail, I risk having the detail become incomplete or littered with extraneous information. The potential for collateral damage is enormous.

I’m using Rhino 5, and I understand that Rhino 6 offers some help in this area, but the changes sound more like Band-Aids than fixes. The problems with Rhino Layouts appear fundamental:

• Why if I specify what I want to be visible in a detail would I ever want that to be overridden by a change I make in its visibility at that model level? The visibility setting in the detail should be absolute, not contingent on its setting in model space.

• Why if I place a note in a detail would I want that note to display everywhere else in the model? On the rare occasion I need it elsewhere, I can copy it. The ability to put annotations on the Layout solves the problem but creates others, such as disconnecting dimensions from the model and creating another layer of ambiguity and complexity in the document creation process.

• Why when I create a new layer should I have to worry that it could cause collateral damage in already completed details?

In general I think Rhino has a great user interface, but the Layout feature seems fundamental ill-conceived. Is it working well for other Rhino users? Is there a small set of procedures that if followed can ensure success with it? Or are other users avoiding Layouts entirely and using other software for producing construction documents from their Rhino models?

I would appreciate hearing the opinions of other Rhino users on the Layout feature.



I feel your pain. It’s also mine because I seriously tried to use Details on Layouts the right way.
Turned out that the most annoying hindrance is the fact that the model view’s layer setting override any Detail’s, like a master switch.
That’s a flawed concept, and there even exists an entry in mcneel’s youtrack system. They tried to fix this already, but reverted back because there are issues with selection then that need to be tackled, too.
I use layer sets as a workaround. When I want to print a layer I use one layer set that switches on every layer, and then one for every detail.
Yeah, sucks… But kinda works.

Hi Rob,

This works now. But the tips below may help you avoid accidents or at least recover from them faster.

The implementation for our layout feature is not original, by any means. Those users that requested the feature overwhelmingly asked that it follow the same process of AutoCAD and other CAD clones. Our layout feature was added in Rhino 4, improved in both Rhino 5, and 6. We are always trying to improve the feature, so if you have suggestions let us know the specifics of what will help.

Rhino 6 Windows (missing from Rhino 6 Mac currently) has an option when you right click on the layer in the details to “Hide in all other details.” in the entire model. The details needs to be active and you right click on the layer and select “Layer on in this detail only.”

You can also lock display scale of a detail in Properties.

This is on the wish list. Again, following the CAD model, there is a global visibility that affects “everything”, model, layout and detail layers. There is layout and details visibility, and as mentioned above, you can tag a layer in 6 to be visibility only in one detail. In addition, Rhino has object level visibility per details, which is independent of the layer. See commands HideInDetail, ShowInDetail and ShowSelectedIDetail.

Some users want this feature, even if you do not.
If you do not, consider making an annotation or dimension on the Layout. If you use your object snaps, the dimension text will reflect the Model geometry not the layout.

  • Rhino 6 Windows (missing from Rhino 6 Mac) has an option when you right click on the layer in the details to “Hide in all other details.” in the entire model.
  • Rhino also has a feature called Layer states. You can save a layer state in one detail, and restore it in another detail.
    You can also copy a detail and the layer setting will also copy with it. These are few ways that detail layer visibility is managed.
  • And of course, scripting is always away to make Rhino work more like you want.

In general, those that use Layouts in other applications like AutoCAD are satisfied. There is always room for improvement and bugs crop up from time to time. Those that are starting to use layouts in Rhino and have not used other CAD packages have a bit of work to do. But we have this extensive Layout tutorial that was done for 5 and works for 6.

What program do you use that has a layout like feature that works well for you? We would appreciate hearing the opinions of other Rhino users on the Layout feature.

I have seen some incredible examples of layout use in Rhino right on this Forum. You may need to search on Layout and see what is in the archive. Ideal for one user, is not ideal for all. We try to make the largest pool of users happy and model our feature off a well-established standard.

Mary Ann Fugier
McNeel Technical Support and Training
Seattle, WA

I used Autodesk Powershape (formally Delcam) for many years which had some really good features.
i) automatic alignment of objects in different viewports.
ii) automatic creation of side and end views, correctly orientated (no rotate viewport 90° required)
iii) The Make2D functionality is on a per viewport basis. Nothing has to created in the model environment, everything is local.
iv) Section views are again local to the viewport. Just click on where in a view you want the section and it is created, with or without the detail behind operator’s choice.

Neither package handles the creation of Auxillary views (not at 90° to a main view) very well.

Hi @Mary, could this feature be implemented on Mac? It’ll facilitate the workflow a lot while we wait for a change to the way current layer system work, globally versus detail/layout.

I don’t think AutoCAD is a good example as a page layout software, it has quite a convolute workflow.I would rather prefer having as a reference something like Adobe inDesign, in which each page layout rememberers its own layer configuration and you can also have master layouts, something that is very handy for repeated elements of a page like title blocks.


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HI, Is there a way to have one object at different visibility in layout please? Here I have all in pen view but I would love to have one (13) object shaded.

Does setobjectdisplaymode give the desired result?

Thank you very much. It works!

Hi, not sure if this is the correct conversion thread to pick up on, but I have noticed that in a Detail View, a Child Layer can be still be visible when its Parent Layer is turned off. This happens often when the child layer is created after the detail view is created.

In this example, I created a detail view and turned off layer “Fixing”, then I made a new child layer “FIGRINE_BOW_02” in the model. I come back to the detail view and the new child layer is visible even though the parent layer is turned off.


@mary, is this something can be fixed? Thanks

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This is still an issue as of RH7’s newest Release, FYI.

I get the feeling that they will never fix this :sweat_smile:

Hi @egdivad,
Sorry for the delay.
Thank you for the detailed description.

I ran your steps with my file and was not able to duplicate the issue.
See the video and let me know if I am missing any important steps.

I may need your file. Please email it to and include a reference to this Forum post.
You may also upload with our large file upload system here.
Again, please include a link to this post.

Mary Ann Fugier

20220421_ChildLayerVisDetailView.3dm (35.9 KB)

Thanks Mary. Please see attached

when the detail view is active, this is the layer structure and object on child layer is visible when parent layer is off


Hi @egdivad,
Thank you!

I was able to see the issue with the file you sent.
I logged RH-68382 Display Needs to Update Child Layer in Detail as OFF

We will let you know when we see something to test from the developers.

Mary Ann Fugier

Object level visibility per Detail, layer independent… I’m testing this, but if I turn off the ‘main’ layer (the model space layer) of objects visible in a Detail, they disappear. Am I missing something?

unfortunately not. AFAIK Detail layers are still a child of Model layers

Hi @Eugen.
You do have to turn it back on. :slight_smile:
This is what the YT reads
“Turn off the ParentLayer globally and then back on, and the Child layer wakes up, and is now no longer displaying the green box.”

This essentially refreshed the display of Parent-Child Detail to show correctly on the screen. There may be other way to “nudge” the display of these layers into updating.
Does this make sense? It is not a fix, but a workaround.

This is bug and it is logged.
We will let you know when there is a fix.
Thanks for the file, again!

Mary Ann Fugier

I wholeheartedly, utterly, totally agree. Let’s talk about this once again.

Here’s the 9(!) year old youtrack entry.

For my 2D architectural documentation, I try really hard to follow along with the given features, to stay in Rhino as long as possible (without switching to Illustrator or whatever). In the meantime I dare to say I got the hang of doing layouting the Rhino way. It works, but there is still this pitfall with the global layer toggles (two pitfalls actually, the second being that display modes are too easily lost and should come with the file, but let’s leave this out for now).

There’s this scripted plugin by Lahos “SafeLayout”, which sole purpose is this: enter layout space, and all global layers are turned on automatically. Enter model space again, and the previous global layer settings, which were saved in a LayerState, are restored. A lifesaver. If it wasn’t there, someone would need to write it, because doing without means having to work those layer states manually, each and every time you switch between model and layout space.

There’s a point in that, too, however.

So, there seems to be a contradiction here. On the one hand, it can be useful to deliberately toggle a layer on or off globally, but on the other hand, just working in model space, which involves a lot of layer toggling, should not accidentially break the layouts/details, right?

Here’s a suggestion for a possible solution (which I’m trying to convey now for the fourth time in the last years, I think):
In the MODEL space layer panel, in addition to the global layer toggle, add a SECOND toggle which is LOCAL to the model space.
The local toggle would be the one used during modelling work. The global toggle is used if one really, consciously needs to toggle layers across model AND layout space.

Would this be too confusing? I don’t think so. After all, layouts and details already have two layer toggles. Even AutoCAD has this ‘freeze’ and ‘hide’ toggle (they are slightly different thing, yes, but there don’t seem to be many complaints about it).

The price is obviously that most commands dealing with layer and object visibility would need to be reworked, and a few commands added.

Analog to this, “HideInModel”, “ShowInModel”, “ShowSelectedInModel” would be needed, right? The ‘regular’ Hide/Show etc. commands could stay on the global toggle.

Tell me this is a stupid idea and I will not bother you no more with it. But please at last come up with a logical solution for the problem, hopefully in R8.

A citation from Wim Dekeyser in this youtrack entry: “It’s certainly an entangled mess and I won’t have much time to focus on this.”
Since the layer panel gets reworked at the time being, maybe this can be handled, too, now?

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Hi All.

Just don’t want to create a new topic as my question is mostly about the same.

Is it possible to have Layer “off” in Model space but “on” in Detail? I understand that for Model space only global switch works.
I can explain.
I have section curves in model space on a separate layer. And I don’t want to see them in model space but I need them in detail on layout.
Is this possible? As future feature maybe?


I’m in Rhino 8 now. I don’t know when this feature happened, but in the Layers panel, there is now “global on” and separate “model/detail/layout on” lightbulbs. In the Layers panel, if you look carefully, you can hover over the columns and see the column name changes to Model On, Layout On, Detail On, depending on your current mode. Because the global Layer On messes up layouts, I never touch it. I just leave it on all the time. Only use the Model/Detail/Layout on, and things work well for me now. I don’t accidentally turn off layers and then they are missing when I print.