Rhino has confusing UI! Toolbars need reorganization!

Hello everyone, I just started learning Rhinoceros 3D and I find it amazing, I really like it.

Now, I have a problem with toolbars and menu, they are just too confusing to me, so I wanna ask for help and see how you tackle issues I have. I don’t find toolbars / menus confusing, I find them organized really bad.

There are a lot of Rhino commands, and that’s good, it makes Rhino powerful. But it also makes it intimidating for someone who just started learning Rhino. Its like, you have a lot of commands to try out and learn what they do, but on top of that, same command is listed in multiple toolbars, and it adds to the confusion.

For example, “Curve Drawing” toolbar has some commands that help you draw a curve, and it has "Control Drawing Curve command, that is a “drop down” that shows you more commands, and that listed commands, they are the same commands listed in the first toolbar already, they are just repeated, like 50% of them are accessible from the original toolbar. And its like that for all toolbars.

Why have a “drop down” toolbar, that lists 50% of the same commands that exist in original toolbar? It just adds to the confusion, and makes it hard to remmember where is the command you are looking for.

So then I said fine, it is just too confusing to memorize all of the commands, I’m gonna go through all the menu commands and just ignore toolbars and use menu, its a good way to memorize names of commands instead just visualizing icons in my head and tie an icon to a command. So I started going through all the commands and realized there are some commands that are available through toolbar icons, but not through menu. Its just insane. For example commands like “AddGuide” and " ShowEnds" are not available through menu.


So my idea to go through all commands using menu failed as all commands are not listed there.
This is really a huge confusion, there are multiple ways to start a command, but there is no single way to lists all commands in a neat and clean way, that is easy to remember so when you need a command its easy to find. I like how Menu is grouped and organized, but I guess not all commands are there.

What I would like to have is have all commands that exist available through Menus, in a organized way, without repeating. Same thing for Toolbars, have all commands available through toolbars, but without repeating and having duplicate commands in different toolbars, this just adds to confusion and makes using Rhino harder. Its hard to memorize where is your command when you find it in a different place each time.

And now as I’m learning, I would like to go through all the commands, explore them so I can see what Rhino can do, and remember what it can do so when I get into a situation I wanna do something, I will know that there is a command that can help me. But its hard since Toolbars are in a mess.

I just think Toolbars are too confusing! Its like there are 10 places in toolbars where you can access the same command, but you can’t access all the commands. Menus are well organized, but now as I’m going through commands I see not all commands are listed there, so if I wanna access commands only through menus, I won’t be able to access them all.

Does anyone have problems like this? How did you tackle this?

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I’m still playing around with toolbars and found another confusing thing. “Helix” and “Spiral” commands. If I wanna draw a Helix I would have to go to “Curve Tools” toolbar and use “Sidebar” toolbar to select Helix.

Now Helix and Spiral are really similar curves right? I guess both should be listed side by side right? Well no!

Where is Spiral? How do I draw a Spiral? OK lets open “Curves Drawing” toolbar, it must be there, no its not! Helix is listed in “Curves Drawing” toolbar, but Spiral is not, maybe Spiral is not a curve?

Its listed under “Curves” sidebar, both Helix and Spiral. This is just too confusing to me.

The thing is, its not intuitive, you don’t find commands where you intuitively think they are. And its a mess since you have the same commands in different toolbars, so you end up with same command in five different toolbars, but similar command is listed only in one.

And its like… why do I need Split, Trim, Join… commands in “Curve Drawing” toolbar. I wanna draw curves, not edit them. Those editing commands should be in the sidebar, so you can know ok, I’m drawing here in toolbar, and I’m editing in sidebar.

Don’t wanna bash Rhino, its an amazing tool, just these toolbars are deal breaker for me! Devs should really take a look into this and make a new order for commands. Have all commands accessible through both Menu’s and Toolbars, in an intuitive way, without duplicating same command through multiple toolbars. Just make one toolbar that draws curves and place all curve drawing commands there. Then make another sidebar that edits curves and place all the commands there. This now is just a mess.

The problem I see with this is that there are a lot of commands in Rhino, and that is good. But its not possible to get a grasp of all the commands because they are unorganized in Toolbars, and not all commands are listed in Menu’s. You can say its powerful, but its not, it just makes you feel overwhelmed with all the commands even more, and makes it extra hard to get a grasp of what commands are available and what they do.

yes there are a hell of a lot commands in Rhino, I can’t solve your frustration right now, but what I will say is depending on your sector of work you will find there are a certain number of commands which you will use frequently, and clicking around toolbars and menus isn’t an efficient workflow. Try getting into the habit of typing commands, i.e. if you want ‘Spiral’ just start typing the word, it will autocomplete after ‘spi’, or maybe set up some macros, I’ve been using Rhino professionally about 4 years or so now, and sometimes i still find myself stumbling around the interface, :blush:

Thanks for your reply @milezee!

Yeah, it really is a frustration now :smile: The thing is I’m getting into Rhino and would like to get a grasp of all the commands, and I can’t since toolbars are messed. And yeah once you work professionally with Rhino as you do, I guess you already know all the commands and can just type them into console.

But for me or any new guy that is starting to get a grasp of what Rhino can do, and for example what are a different ways to draw a polyline? I would like to have a list of all the commands that can draw a polyline so I can test them all out, and when I need to draw a polyline I know what toolbar to look for. I want all commands that draw a polyline in one toolbar or menu. Not scattered all over the different toolbars and menus mixed with editing commands. And that same editing commands appear on every toolbar you click, but on a different location so its impossible to memorize them.

That’s the issue I have now! It would be amazing to have a clean UI, same as Menu already is. If I wanna draw Polyline I would go to Curve -> Polylines -> and find a list of all commands that can draw a polyline. If I need to work with Surfaces I would go to Surfaces, for Solids on Solids etc. And if I need to Split / Trim / Join / Explode / Rebuild I would go to Edit. That’s intuitive!

The things is, the way Rhino toolbars are organized now, you just can’t grasp all the commands easily, and intuitively remember their place, so you can find them later by just thinking about “category” command your looking for should fit in. There are total of 936 commands if I calculated it right. That’s too much to hold in your head, and its even harder when you have same commands all over the toolbars.

I’m gonna use this now: https://docs.mcneel.com/rhino/6/help/en-us/index.htm#seealso/sak_3ddigitizing.htm%3FTocPath%3DCommands|By%20function|_____1
and won’t even look at the toolbars!

I’m gonna stop crying now :slight_smile: I just really feel devs should totally revamp toolbars and make them lean and intuitive, I really feel this needs to be done. Maybe Rhino veterans don’t feel like that since they all have all the commands in their head, but trust me for new guys, this is a huge issue.

When you get a grasp of “all the commands” you will have reached the holy grail :slight_smile: . For my sector of design work (interiors, furniture, lighting etc) I reckon I utilise about 10% of the commands, hope that’s food for thought. You may find this recent thread an interesting read, much UI debate going on here

Thanks for the link man!
The 2nd post says: “Rhino looks good because it looks simple and it does not waste much screen space.”

Well NO!!! Rhino is not simple! I love simplicity and Rhino’s UI is all but simple! Its a mess! hahahah :smiley:
I love everything about Rhino except its Toolbars that are just a mess and needs organization!

I don’t care about “look from 98 era”, I like Rhino’s look, its just that its hard to find commands you are looking for as they are listed on multiple places, and some commands are missing from toolbars you would expect them to be in, and some commands are listed in toolbars but not on Menu’s… its just a mess!

you will also find that sometimes there are 4 or 5 different ways to achieve the same results, :crazy_face:
and get yourself a decent mouse, one with a few extra programmable buttons on it, for me my best friends in the world are ‘Scale1d, Copy & Move’ :+1:

Yeah that’s the problem for me. They say Rhino is powerful cause you can call same command on different ways, through console, toolbars, menus etc. But I can’t call “AddGuide” command through Menu. So if I decide to use only Menus to call commands, I can forget about " AddGuide" command.

I just wanted one way to call all the commands, that is organized and intuitive. And it does not exist. I just need a way to see all the commands, categorized intuitively so I can get a grasp of what you can do with curves, surfaces, solids etc. And its hard with Rhino now.

I don’t have problems with colors or toolbars look, just the fact they are not organized that’s all.
The look is good, it looks “old school” I like it :slight_smile: Better visual design would be nice, but its not a deal breaker for me, just that confusion I get when I try to find a command and I find it in a different toolbar every time, or I can’t find a command that should be in a toolbar and then I need to have two similar toolbars opened to access commands that are similar. I hope you guys know what I mean. But I don’t think devs will really care about new guys coming into Rhino, dunno, I just feel this needs to be done ASAP it truly is a deal breaker.

I’m sure the good folk at McNeel will read and take on comments from new users, after all new users are the future :slight_smile:

The Rhino interface allows experienced users to select their preferred method for starting commands. If you want lists of commands grouped by relevance look at the drop down lists which are available on the second line of the Rhino screen just below the line with the name of the program, etc.

Also try a different approach to learning Rhino. Go through several of the free, online tutorials available at https://www.rhino3d.com/tutorials
Start with the User’s Guide and the then the sections of the Level 1 Manual and Level 2 Manual which are of interest. These are tutorials despite what you might guess from the names.


The documentation doesn’t state this, but Rhino is actually a game, with an unknown number of “levels”.

It makes playing the game less boring.

Over time they will have to make the game even more challenging so a to not loose existing players, so no, don’t tell them. :wink:

Yes, there actually are some secret ways to cheat with this the game and get a faster route to the next level. :wink:

On Monday back to being serious again. But it must be said in context, I like Rhino.

// Rolf


You mean ‘Menu’ as I called it? File, Edit, Curves, Surfaces, Solids…?

Yeah that was my initial thought once I realized toolbars are too confusing. But not all commands are listed at ‘drop down list under program name’. Commands like ‘AddGuides’ and ‘ShowEnds’ that look important to me are not accessible if you rely on Menu’s to access commands.

That was my problem. I used CAD software before, and I wanted to get a good grasp of what Rhino tools / commands can do. Wanted to see and test all tools to sketch a model before creating surfaces / solids or closed polysurfaces. And I was going through the menu until I realized that some commands are only accessible through toolbars.

You can say / think whatever you want, but Rhino UI and toolbars are a jungle. And devs should make their priority to upgrade the UI and organize toolbars in a more intuitive way. By default there is no ‘Curve Drawing’ toolbar enabled.

I starded using Rhino, I always model a spoon, fork and a knife. Then I model a wheel rim and a tire. And I realized I started to fight the UI / toolbars, tools I needed were always hidden behind a different tab. And I would find the same commands on different places. Thats bad you cant memorize where the tool is that way.

My humble opinion without bashing Rhino is that devs should start working on new UI and better toolbars organization ASAP. Rhino is old and proven and amazing software. Why not make it more visualy appealing, more organized and intuitive for new guys wanting to jump into in.

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Since Rhino is a “CAD swiss knife” its UI will never be a best fit for any specific group of users. Even if you are right in the the UI can be improved (and yes, it can) the fact still remains - a swiss knife will never be a best fit to any specific usecase. But it is at least useful for almost any usecase, which isn’t a bad thing.

Fig. A McNeeloRhinox knife

Therefore, make your own toolbars & UI. This will solve your problem.

Different “domains” (surface, mechanical, architecture aso) and different users typically use different workflows. The benefit of Rhino’s UI is that it supports customization and so it can be adapted to almost any workflow.

// Rolf


My advice: Ditch the toolbars and get used to using the command line and alias. Work will be faster and you will have more viewport space.


Dear RMA team,

Please hire this person (or someone with an equally critical, fresh and constructive viewpoint) to help you take a fresh look. All of you inside McNeel and all of us aging hackers who have been abusing (and have been abused by) Rhino for 20 years have completely lost touch of how bad its current UI paradigms are. It’s like the messy house that has clutter everywhere, and broken door knobs, and a weird smell, and you don’t even realize it anymore because you live there and you adapted and it feels like home.


Thank you, for me this time I am reminded to appreciate adaptability and taking a adaptive approach now.

Rhino is very simple to learn if you just tie the learning experience to something you actually want to draw. If you’re trying to get into ‘the head’ of ‘the developer’ you’re wasting your time. No such high order entity exists and you’ll just be frustrated trying to match wits. Everything is there but you only really find it and make it familiar when you need it.

What I am doing first after installing Rhino - is rearranging ALL toolbars and buttons… This TAB organisation - looks strange to me and it is difficult to remember all those changing buttons depending on which tab is clicked… So - I live in V5 (Classic) style. I picked all the commands I use mostly, and forget this TAB nightmare… IMHO

Geez, it’s really messy and needs icon search in 4 different directions.
I used to have single viewport on one screen and almost all the toolbars on the second screen :-), but it was V4 era before I started using shortcuts.

Chris: Rhino is very simple to learn if you just tie the learning experience to something you actually want to draw. If you’re trying to get into ‘the head’ of ‘the developer’ you’re wasting your time. No such high order entity exists and you’ll just be frustrated trying to match wits. Everything is there but you only really find it and make it familiar when you need it.

Exactly this. If you go into it knowing / having an idea of what you want to create, then the commands you might need are intuitive. Say for example you are trying to create an extremely simplified version of something like this:

You know that the very first step should be creating a rectangle. “Aha!” - your brain says - “Why not try the rectangle command?” Type in rectangle and depending on the view you are in, you can draw it out. (Something that helps a lot is to try out the different options on the command bar once you have entered a command: for example something like a rectangle has a variety of ways to be created like through dimensions, click drag, etc.)

Moving on, once you have a rectangle you know that you need it to twist in the middle. Since in any 3D software there will typically be a combination of points, edges, surfaces etc., it can be assumed that you would need to somehow rebuild the surface and/or edit control points in order to be able to select and twist them. Carrying on with this approach you would find almost anything that you need to get done, as long as you approach it with a little bit of intuition. Any time I need to do something and am not sure if it is possible, I type a keyword into the command bar just to see if anything will pop up - 9 out of 10 times it does.

An aside: I understand that you are a beginner to learning Rhino and so I wanted to share the method that I learned the software: I started learning by iterating dimensions. What I mean by that is that I started with a point in space, then from there connected two points to become a line, either copied and connected or drew a surface to, well, make a surface, and so on. This method allowed me to understand the steps of what I was doing, and seeing an object being created or developed in space prompted me to try new things. For example what if I curved a line before extruding? What if, when creating a surface, I pulled a corner down? So on and so forth. The program is extremely intuitive once you get used to it, and with practice it gets easier and easier.

Best of luck!