Rhino -> AutoCAD - How To Maintain Sub-Layer/Parent Structure?


I am using Rhino 8 and saving a .3dm file as a .dwg to share with an engineering partner.

It opens fine in AutoCAD but the layer structure is not maintained.

Specifically if, in Rhino, I have some layers such as Commercial, Parking, etc. as children of SITE

The hiearchy looks like SITE::Commercial, SITE::Parking, SITE::etc.

However, when opened in AutoCAD with the different export options I can only get the child layers by themselves, Commercial, Parking OR with a dollar sign symbol replacing the double colon ::

So, in AutoCAD they read as SITE$Commercial, SITE$Parking

Am I overlooking something simple?

Honestly, it’s been years since I’ve touched AutoCAD so I’m not familiar if there’s a simple process to use the $ syntax to merge the proper layer structure or some other setting I am overlooking.

Rhino Layer Structure Example:

How it is in the .dwg in AutoCAD:

Thanks for your help!

You could create group filters:


Search/Filter your layers:


Note the asterix placement.

Then you can select those layers and drag them into your new group filter (do like a shift+select, CTRL A works too I think):


Closest I can come to a solution to sort your layers. I was a bit miffed myself the first time I ever imported layers into AutoCAD. And I’ve since been trying to come up with a scheme that’s cross-compatible.

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Thank you @keithscadservices,

Well this is certainly helpful and I can utilize it in the meantime I am shocked there isn’t better interoperability with the layers from Rhino to AutoCAD as all the other properties (Visiblity, Color, etc) transfer just fine.

I would think the parent,child,grandchild hierarchy would be a give in but I’m not a programmer so who knows.

@Gijs are there any open youtracks or requests that you know of to have Rhino to .DWG maintain layer structure?

Thank you all!

Hi @michaelvollrath,

Given that AutoCAD does not have hierarchical layers, how do you see us improving interoperability?

— Dale


One thing would be to add an option to re-create the sublayer structure in the Rhino DWG importer when the layer names contain some ‘@’.
I think it’s on the list.

Btw: why does it have to be an @ sign? Seems to be hardwired in the exporter. Make this configurable? A :: would look better, for example.

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I can make an AutoLISP script fairly easily that would change the layer names. I’ve also created this less-than-elegant solution:

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@Eugen The exporter from Rhino to AutoCAD uses a dollar sign $ for delineation between parent/child.

@dale thanks for your response, I could have sworn CAD supported layer hierarchy but obviously it does not, you are right.

Is the $ dollar sign syntactically important? Or is there an opportunity for a user defined delineator such as - or :: or whatever the user would type as the delineation string?

@keithscadservices well a script structuring the layer hierarchy with append text as you show seems like that’s maybe the best option for now because at least then you have hierarchical layers together in “groups” and they still retain alphabetic sorting.

I’d love to test out the AutoLISP script if you’d be willing to write/share.


Right, thanks! Not too much prettier… =)

I do agree, it does not promote great legibility which is why I’m curious what it is doing from a code/syntax perspective