Rhino 8: Synopsis of planned improvements to annotations

As per the title, I’m just curious what’s on deck. Even marginal improvements would go a long way.

Hi Keith -
The list of planned features and enhancements for Rhino 8 is here:

Depending on how strict you define annotations, the only thing that is specific to that is the capsule frame around text. If you include hatching, a lot of work has gone into creating hatches on clipping plane sections.

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Are there specific improvements you are hoping to see?

Hi Steve,

I posted this Wish: Allow thousands separator choice in dimension styles in 2021 but I don’t see any sign it has been taken up.

Insofar as there are standards body requirements for dimensioning technical drawings, I suggest it is a fundamental requirement of any professional technical drawing package to be able to conform to those standards.

It’d be neat if McNeel could review the WIP’s standards conformity and ensure compliance with at least the mainstream standards for its major markets.


Off the top of my head, sort of (I’ve just tested a few things out to refresh my memory), my major bottlenecks are:

  • Leaders: They generally work pretty good but there isn’t an option to make them “empty” or have no text like in AutoCAD. I think I made a macro to handle this sometime back. And now that I’m learning .NET I’ll be able to make something even better when I have time. Having a bit more flexibility out of the box would be a big help though; similar options to AutoCAD. Or maybe at least just a “quick leader” command that creates a leader without text. Also, a quicker way to manipulate the landing would be a welcome feature. For example, it takes me two actions to access the landing on a leader object (and in a way that may not be intuitive to many users - by selecting the two nodes), but on a polyline, I can access what would be the landing with only one action.

image image

  • Dimensions: They work really really good I think. I haven’t yet explored all the style options yet so cannot comment on that. Compared to AutoCAD they are about as easy to create (maybe even better). They are a little slower to manipulate but I can live with that (especially given the trade-off: readable text from either direction is awesome!!). The thing that kills me is moving the text and adding leaders. You can’t snap to the center of the dimension line so it’s a little cumbersome to draw a leader manually. An automatic leader option would be best. Simply being able to snap to the dimension line (with a “quick” leader) would be the next best thing.


  • Text: The system works but it’s a little behind most other programs. AutoCAD as well as a few other programs (and most AutoCAD clones) have in-place text editors. Functionality similar to that would be amazing. It’s worth noting that those AutoCAD clones have only caught up to AutoCAD in that respect in the last few years. Even a ‘bare bones’ version of ACAD’s would be a really great addition.

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Yes, there is - I do it all the time. When the dialog box comes up for the text, just hit Enter and it will go away and finish the leader without text.

Hmm, I wonder if the segments of a leader could be made accessible via sub-object selection…

On my computer, hitting enter just advances a line in the text editor. I can’t even tab out of it. I have to mouse-click ‘okay’. It slows my workflow down quite a bit. If I hit escape the entire leader cancels. Having an option in the leader style with no text at all would be a good feature. I suppose it’s a problem easily solved with a macro… kind of (I just have to get my head back into it).

Hmm, looks like they changed that for V8… In V7 hitting Enter just closes the dialog and gives me a leader without text. That’s a dis-improvement IMO. @pascal - is this by design for some reason?

What seems to work is quickly moving the mouse out of the dialog area and right clicking - that does it.

You can make a new alias or button for “Textless Leader” with the following macro:

! _-Leader _Multipause _Enter

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Just tried this in R7 current SRC and it advances the line like Keith says. Could you check if your R7 has changed?

Hmm, you’re correct… I could swear it worked as I described this morning. I did load a new SRC in between, but maybe also I have just the habit of right clicking the mouse after and not hitting the Enter key? Ahh, that’s it, as the dialog for the leader text always ends up on my second screen, so I guess I always just right click in the empty space to end the command instead of hitting the Enter key.

Hi Mitch- yeah, looks like Enter advances a line and RMB dismisses the empty dialog in V8. I guess Shifit-Enter should force a new line, and Enter would exit, is that what you’d expect (Windows)?

On the other hand, RMB does not dismiss a Text dialog that has text… I honestly do not know if this is all by design or what, I’ll ask.


this is not very ambitious…

Necessary and missing in Rhino. Some are more trivial than others. This is my minimum for V8 to really sense a progress over few years and major versions.

-super and subscript
-width factor (scaling text in 1D)
-pasting text with or without formatting

-more control over alignment of values on dimension line
-better handling of leaders
-gradians as units for angles

-display modes stored in file so that layouts look the same on every pc
-clipping of linked objects (clipping boundaries in case you only want part of the whole linked model)
-linetypes supporting .shx
-workessions are completely useless as long as layers states are not remembered in details
-proper dwg export of layouts and model space as well (especially annotations objects which cause the most issues and infidelity)

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I forgot about this. And agree. AutoCAD does this as well.

I should stress that many aspects of Rhino’s annotation features are great! Just if certain things were refined a little I feel like there would be an exponential improvement. I like the “freedom” (if that makes sense, think AutoCAD vs BIM style annotating) and I like that the dimensions adhere to that workflow concept.

AutoCAD has decided to simply bill a high yearly fee while only offering marginal improvements; any improvements we see in a program that effectively costs less than 1/4 the price, if you upgrade every new release, are much appreciated. And I know improvements to the text editor are a lot to ask for (and as a novice programmer I know sometimes even the little things require massive overhauls).


Thanks a ton for posting this! In a past life I actually got a Rhino Script working similar to my AutoCAD routine: I would override the arrowhead for each macro opposed to having different styles with different arrowheads.

Rhino’s Macro is far better than AutoCAD’s.

Sorry for bumping this. One very good “workaround” is simply doing as much annotating in AutoCAD (or an AutoCAD clone) as possible. Rhino does a decent job of importing linework and most objects (maybe some issues with dynamic blocks, I haven’t explored that much however). Importing annotations isn’t the greatest. Leaders don’t seem to import well but this is workable. I guess if I had to pick one thing it would be the limited text options. Not much data is carried over from AutoCAD into Rhino. From MS Word to Rhino, slightly more data is carried over.

AutoCAD to Rhino:


Text in MS Word vs Rhino Editor vs Rhino model space:



And below is the imported text from a PDF printed from MS Word and then imported into Rhino (I should have tried a fraction other than 1/2):


Aside from the glitch with the subscript I think the imported PDF text is by far the best result.

The reason I went through all this trouble is because I had the bright idea that ETO forms might have the equivalent of Winform’s RichTextBox. Maybe something way better? Text itself seems to lag behind compared to say, dimensions. AutoCAD dimensions import nearly perfectly into Rhino but importing text is quite unreliable. It’s usually the other way around with most programs.

At least I now know that importing a PDF is the best way to import annotations. I still need to see how it handles leaders and other annotations.

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Thanks for the above info - its such a pain getting text into rhino.
The screenshot shows something I can deal with for low volume work.
The original is printed to PDF from MS Word 2000 (!) - font courier new, line spacing 1.5.
At least it gets text in which can be edited within rhino sentence by sentence.

Its ridiculous that in 2022 we have to resort to this kind of thing…


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It even indented the second line of #9 for you!