Rhino has confusing UI! Toolbars need reorganization!

Thanks everyone!
I like what you did there Dimetro, and what you say about those “changing buttons depending on which tab is opened”, exactly whats bothering me. Each “tab” has different “sidebar”, and when I memorize tool location in the sidebar, and move to different “tab”, I get lost for a second as I can’t find the tool where it was a minute ago. That’s only one of the confusions I have with toolbars in Rhino!

Thariquedesilva I think the same way as you do, how you described you go about working on your model. The issue I have is I don’t know all the commands, and what Rhino is capable of. And when I’m drawing a sketch, I would like to have all the ways to drive lines / curves in a categorized toolbar or menu, so I can have an overview of all the ways for me to draw lines / curves while sketching. When I would like to create surface from that sketch, again I would like to move to a different tab or part of the screen, where I could see all the commands that can create surface. If I decide to edit something then I would love to have another tab that has all editing commands.

Neat thing about Rhino is that it already has that simplicity built in. For example, Rebuild command is the same for lines, curves, surfaces, closed surfaces. Same command applies to all those object types. But in toolbars we have “Curve tools” toolbar with “Rebuild curve” tool, and in “Surface tools” we have “Rebuild surface” tool. Both icons have different names and icons, but they call the same command, “_Rebuild”! FFS!!!

Or look at the “New in V6” toolbar, there is a new tool called “Select Pictures” listed there. By default, you have “Select” toolbar and “Select Pictures” tool is not listed there. In Menus too, Edit -> Select Objects does not have “Select Pictures” tool. It should be under both toolbar and menu.

And try to understand me now, I don’t know all the tools Rhino has as I just started learning Rhino. And since toolbars are confusing as I explained above, it can easily happen to me that I will never see and learn some tools exist. Sometimes tool is only accessible through toolbar, sometimes through a menu, sometimes through a toolbar that has nothing to do about the tool that is listed there. For example now I’m playing around with modeling a TV stand, and I don’t know if there are tools like Push and Pull like in Sketchup, can’t find them under Solids toolbar / menu, guess they don’t exist in Rhino, but I don’t trust toolbars and menu anymore, maybe they are hidden somewhere!

Imagine a text editor that has Bold, Italic and Underline tools. Now Bold is accessible only through menu, and Italic is accessible only through an icon in the toolbar. And Underline, its not listed nowhere, as everyone knows that they just need to type _underline in console. But what if you have a user that sees text editor for the first time in his life and does not know that you can underline a text? And then you have “Bold Capital” and “Bold Lowercase” tools that are just Bold tools but have different names and icons. That’s how Rhino toolbars look to me at the moment. Just look at how many reddit posts are there where people ask how to do something, then Rhino veteran helps the guy and names a tool he can use do do whatever he wanted, and then the guy replies something like “Oh wow, Rhino is so powerful, I’m using it for XX years / months, didn’t knew this tool / command existed”. Yeah, that’s not cause its powerful, its cause its toolbars are a jungle.

I’m not writing this to bash Rhino, as I love it, I really do!!! Its an amazing CAD software. Its lightweight, simple and powerful, just how I like it. Only those toolbars are too big of a mess at the moment. You can use my experiences to improve Rhino, as everyone new to Rhino will feel the same as I feel, you can use my input to make Rhino better. This is my 2nd encounter with Rhino, I uninstalled it first time as it looked too messy, confusing and complicated. I opened all the available toolbars to see the tools and ended up with this:

Except for messy toolbars, UI / UX are amazing in Rhino. Options are well organized, Menus are also well organized and categorized, except some tools are not listed there. And even the toolbar system is amazing, it enables us to customize toolbars and even Menu’s and create our own workspace. But for someone new coming into Rhino its not a big help since we don’t know what tools exist in Rhino. For someone with 10 years of experience with Rhino its amazing, but for me, not so much. I mean If I can’t find tool in toolbar, what should I do? Go through source code to discover what commands exist?

Anyways that is just my opinion, not trying to bash Rhino or offend anyone. But I think Rhino toolbars should be reorganized. The underlying system is in fact powerful. I don’t even have anything against the way it looks. New theme or new visual design would be great, but its not a deal breaker for me really. Just that I can’t get a grasp of what Rhino can do, and see all tools categorized neatly.

Thanks everyone! Hope Rhino gets redesigned UI, as Rhino deserves it!

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Have a look at the Rhino Command Quick Reference which lists all Rhino commands, shows their symbol, and which menus and toolbars they appear on.

I found link you posted before, but I find this more useful:

I’m accessing tools through a Menu, and using link I posted above to check if there are some other tools that might be useful for what I’m doing at that moment. Its neatly organized by function there! :smiley:

Thanks man!

A Rhino basic which may be confusing to some new users: Some Rhino commands have options which cause the command to behave in different ways. The Line command is an example. Line without any options suggested just draws a line between two points. However there are numerous other ways the Line command can be used such as to draw a line normal to a surface, or tangent to a curve, or perpendicular to two curves, or a bisector line for an angle, or …….

Some but not all of these different ways to use a single command have their own symbols on various tool bars.

I frequently use the menus rather than the toolbars when I don’t know the name of a command which does the task I want.

I do exactly what you do. Mine looks nothing like yours. Therein lies the point.

Reorganized - Familar - Effective

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what works fast for me is remembering regular commands I use and just typing a couple key first letters in the command line, which seems to be active all the time, like LI gives me line command to select, PL shows up planarSRF I can select, POL I can see and select the POLYLINE command I want at the time. I also get to see hints of other command I might get interested in, whats that too. I think I got that habit from my autobad days.

It is the same for me.Using that ones https://wiki.mcneel.com/rhino/acadaliases speeded up my work a lot. Also some shortcuts like !_Invert Hide

I have another confusion so will just ask here!

What is a difference between _FilletEdge and _BlendEdge, both tools are located in Menus under “Solids -> Fillet Edge”. By the looks of those tools / commands, they look exactly the same.

Here are the screenshots where you can see console with its commands:



I’m looking here now for a difference:

The only difference in this documentation is the first video, everything else is the same.

They did the same thing, both tools offer same console options, they look exactly the same to me!
Are there any internal differences in the way these two work, or they are just the same tool / command?

Hello - FilletEdge and the Fillet* commands in general, make true arc section surfaces that are tangent to the inputs. BlendEdge makes a non-arc sections on the new surface and it is curvature continuous with the inputs…

But, @skydaddy - start a new thread for this please… we’re way off topic…


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Hello! :smile:
Oh so there is a difference in the way they work internally, that’s good to know!
Will read more about that now and try to figure out when to use Fillet and when Blend!
Thanks for a quick reply!

Edit: :blush:
Exactly what I needed, thanks a ton for that sketch!
Edit II: Feel free to delete those last posts if you have that power, sorry for going off topic.

Oh so there is a difference in the way they work internally

Not only that, they make a completely different geometry, Blend isn’t an arc. Might look similar to the eye in some cases in Rhino but you will notice the difference in reflections, you can clearly see the geometry difference in Pascal’s screenshot.

So I started making my own Workspace were I deleted all the toolbars and started playing around with “Workspace editor” and default.rui.

I’m using this reference to see what tools are available: http://docs.mcneel.com/rhino/6/help/en-us/index.htm#seealso/sak_3ddigitizing.htm%3FTocPath%3DCommands|By%20function|_____1
and grouping them in organized categories so I can build lean toolbars with no repetition.

My goal is to build workspace with intuitive and categorized toolbars where you could have all the tools categorized intuitively. So if I’m for example drawing a line I can open “Curves” toolbar and have all curve drawing tools listed there.

I noticed few tools that are not listed at all, not in toolbar not in menus, this for example:

Also built in marcos could be named better, for example macros for Blocks have these names:
Block definition, BlockEdit, Block manager, Explode Block, Export, Export with origin…, Insert, Set model base point, and Replace block. And the one is missing that I wrote above.

Why not start every macro name with Block, for example rename “Explode Block” macro with “BlockExplode”. So its already categorized with just naming. This way when looking for Block macros you need to scroll all over the list of predefined macros. Also sometimes its “cammelcase” sometimes its not. I might rename those built in macros too later.

I’m doing this in free time cause I like Rhino, If I make something useful, I will upload it to Github, so anyone can fork and make changes and maybe Rhino community can help out devs to sort this mess. If you agree this is a mess hahaha!

Rhino is amazing software. Modeling in Rhino feels natural and rewarding. I feel it enables me to make complex shapes simply and easily. Its fast, light on resources, its just an amazing peace of software. Just that those toolbars are confusing, at least for me, I don’t know if others feel the same way. And UI is something really important. You can have the best modeling software under the hood, If people get confused with menus and toolbars and can’t easily discover what Rhino can do and have a clear overview of all the tools thats really bad. Those toolbars and menus are like a gate for people to discover how powerful and beautiful Rhino is, you need to open that gate and let people in! :smiley:

Such is an effective way to start, because what you really want, is to understand what each tool does, its utility, etc., and then organize core tools for your workflow. One needs to invest time into a foundation.

Later, as other have mentioned, you’ll likely settle into just typing in many commands after such has solidified into your consciousness. That approach is very effective once second nature.

Still, you’ll have you’re personalized interface for when you need it, as well.

I hope that you are saving your toolbars under a custom name and not just modifying ‘default.rui’!

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Yeah I copied default.rui, renamed it and Im editing that new default.rui with text editor. Using ‘workspace editor’ is slow, editing .rui file with text editor is much faster.

I managed to strip all the tags from default.rui using regural expressions and make a nice html table that gives me macros name, and macro id that is referenced in toolbar / menu item.

As I get this, macros are used to create action for toolbar button / menu. Then you just create a tag for toolbar button and link it to macro, and macro has defined script it runs, bitmap it shows, description text etc. Its a good system, its just not organized. I found a macro that runs no script so its useless, Animation Tools I think.

Will make python script that takes default.rui, extracts macros and lists them in a table with all the fields like macro name, macro id, bitmap used, description texts etc. And also will make the same thing for bitmaps so that it lists all images used with id next to it.

Then I will go from there and just sort those macros and link them with toolbars, using reference linked in previous posts.

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Hope is not the answer. And exclamations don’t change that.

I have not used default.rui files in a long time, but I do remember past experiences helping many many users, and overwriting default.rui is exactly what people do.

In fact I don’t think you even had to do anything planned to overwrite the default.rui. If you made a change and close Rhino it will save your changes. And now you have a workspace file called default.rui that it isn’t default. Is this still the case? Because if it is, you have designed a system to create cognitive dissonance and lead the user to do exactly what they should not do.

Making default.rui a read-only might be a start. And if you make a single change then making the user save those changes with something other that default.rui makes some sense. Only some sense, because what really makes sense is making users save this in their Rhino account. So it’s not stuck in the local program files folder of a PC that’s only hours, days, or months away form blowing up. Expecting that most users will understand this and implement the right way to save their workspace files is completely unreasonable IMO. Maybe this is what we all Rhino nerds in this topic do, but that’s the opposite of what the typical user will do.


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Yeah, default.rui should be read-only, any change to it should create a new .rui file with your changed settings.

But, I noticed that command ToolbarReset will reset default.rui to its original state so devs had this all figured out I think. But yeah it would not be bad to have default.rui read-only I guess.

This is so buried that it’s not very useful IMO. Maybe a ‘Reset workspace’ someone in the tools>options/workspace makes sense?

I find Rhino3D user interface and general Toolbar layout, at the top of all 3D programs.
With that stated, Rhino3D has a deceivingly extensive tool-set.

To nitpick, some of the icons have a different style than some of the others, and the Grasshopper icons need to be brought to the same styling page as the others.