Vector PDF print in three steps

As many of you know, vector PDF print output from Rhino V5 is not currently possible.
It is on the feature Wish List.

In the mean time, with the help of Rhino user Kevin Knox, there is a printing and conversion process you can use to get vector output and get it into a vector PDF format. It requires Windows 7 or 8/8.1

1 - Print from Rhino and use the 'Microsoft XPS Document Writer’ printer option.
2 - Choose the XPS file format.
3 - Use a conversion tool like PDFaid [] to make a Vector PDF.

There are quite a number of XPS to PDF conversion tools. Some are free, many don’t convert to Vector format, so do a little hunting around until you find one that meets with your sensibilities.

The PDFaid tool I used even supported the line widths and line types I specified in Rhino. The free version watermarks the PDF.

XPS print test.pdf (22.3 KB)

Get Bullzip, outputs vectors. It kicks ass, is free. Installs as a printer. No reg info req’d to DL if I recall.

Did I mention that it kicks ass? is free?


I just want to add for clarity that it is possible if a PDF printer is installed.

I print on a regular basis to the Acrobat PDF printer, but that requires Acrobat Pro of course.
And there are free PDF printer alternatives like CutePDF too.
(I know you know since it was included with Rhino 5 in the early betas.)

And as an alternative to XPS: Rhino can also export to AI and a quick google for “online illustrator convert to pdf” came up with this altenative:

I just downloaded, installed, and tried Bullzip.
It does indeed create a vector PDF directly from Rhino.

Thanks for the tip.

1 Like

I gave the Bullzip a try and it’s great. Just what I needed! Thanks to all who helped to get me through this little pickle

You can try Foxit Reader - it includes pdf printer than outputs vector pdf’s from Rhino.

Glad to help. save the installer :wink:

Foxit was great a few years ago but then became super bloaty. :[ I used to love it, was good for markup too but I had to abandon it as it just be came a giant PITA. They started changing the UI all the time and there were like 3 updates waiting whenever I logged on, started looking like an insecure platform. If they weren’t always messing with it I might have paid for it.

As it is I think I owe bullzip a donation, I’ve been using it for at least a couple of years to send dim’d drawings to vendors to accompany cut files.

Simplicity and Stability = :smiley:

Tried, and at first, I thought: Great!

In comparison to Foxit, the output indeed looked like vectors. However, when zooming in, I realized that it’s just high res bitmap data. I’m printing a layout with a detail in Pen view.

I seriously doubt any pdf writer will output vectors from pen view.

While there is a way to stylize lines the way a font file stylizes ASCII data, it doesn’t seem as though Rhino implements it. This would mean the only type of output possible in pen view would be be a raster format, which any pdf writer will then happily repackage just like any other bitmapped image you have seen in a pdf file.

That is all said assuming you have vector rather than raster output selected in the print dialogues.

What stylized lines? Lines in Pen display mode are just straight lines, at least on my system. There is a gimmicky background, but that’s not printed either way.

I guess the problem is more how hidden lines are created: I can imagine that it’s done by rendering white surfaces which obscure background lines. If that’s the case, then the system doesn’t know where a line actually begins and where it ends. So it couldn’t create proper vector output.


Pen display mode is just that - a screen display mode made with various OpenGL methods. Same thing with Technical, Artistic, etc. You will not get vector from it no matter what you do, because it is just pixels - in the same way that you can not get vector from a screen capture…


yes, why don’t you let us know if you can get vector output from a rendered mode via any converter at all, we’ll be curious to hear about that :slight_smile: