What export option to use to get Rhino into Affinity Designer?

Anyone knows a good way to import hatches in Affinity Designer? When I do it over pdf it makes all single triangles…

Try file export to PDF instead of the print command. On Mac, file export uses a custom PDF writer instead of Apple’s PDF printer driver built into the print dialog.

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Pdf works well, except for hatches.
Hatches can be exported well as svg, only in the layout dialog it is apparently not possible to export svg and maintain the size of the layout format (p.e. A1, A2, A3…)

What I was not yet able to achieve is maintaining the Rhino the layers in Affinity.
Is that more a problem of Rhino or Affinity Designer?

the voices on the affinity forums regarding dxf/dwg are loud and constant. the resilience from their side though they talked about consideration, is astonishing. sooner or later they will have to yield to this wish. a work around including layers and hatches is always to use illustrator. but that is just plain stupidity when one actually wants to avoid it while using affinity products…


Hi - you didn’t answer to Steve’s request. Are you on Mac? How are you creating the PDF?

Yes, Rhino mac 6.24
I print from the layouts. File > Print > save as pdf (vector)


No, currently there is not straight way to get Rhino layers into Affinity Designer. The problem, I would say, is from both parts. On Rhino’s side, we can export svg, but not layer information is maintained during the process, this is a limitation of Rhino’s svg exporter.

On Affinity’s side, I would say that they should incorporate a dwg importer as this is the standard format to move from CAD to illustration software. I have to say that I’m not aware of any CAD software, besides Rhino, being able to export to .svg, so if Affinity wants designers to use its software they should incorporate this feature ASAP.

I have to say that I have both, Illustrator and Affinity, and I still rely heavily on Illustrator, as Affinity is still far behind Illustrator’s capabilities regarding CAD to illustration workflow. The lack of importing a file with layers, the lack of proper selection tools by color, stroke,… and the lack of proper boolean tool are the main limitations that come to my mind just now. Let’s hope that they implement these features in the foreseeable future though these features have been requested many times and still no luck…

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Unfotunately exporting an .ai file from Rhino and import it into Affinity does not work. I read somewhere because the .ai file version exported from Rhino is too old. Is that true?

Yes, it doesn’t work. Rhino exports an old format pre pdf that only illustrator is able to open.

that is correct, that is why you have to open it in illustrator and save it as a rather newer version. the exporter from rhino is seriously outdated.

Thank you for that.
As Steve tried to tell you, when you do it like that, you are using the Mac OS PDF printer and you should be using the Rhino PDF writer. To do so, on the layout, select all and use Export and then pick the PDF file format.

As for layers, the Rhino PDF writer in the Rhino 7 WIP now exports layers to PDF.


Really?! This is fantastic news! Does this work on Mac too?

Hi José -

Yes, it does (though I’m looking into an issue there at the moment).

Kelvin added the following documentation notes in RH-37721:

  • Raster output does not support layers in PDF.
  • The PDF reader has to support layers to view the layer tree.
  • Models need to print with “Rhino PDF” or export a PDF file to include the layer tree.
  • Layer tree is exported by default, change the advanced setting Rhino.Options.Advanced.PDF.OptionalContentGroups to 0 to disable exporting layers.



I wasn’t clear. Use File->Export and export to PDF. I just tested this with Affinity and the hatches get read in as editable hatches


Which begs the question: Why has McNeel created a fundamental split in the workflow for creating PDFs? The comments in this thread alone are proof that it’s catching people out. Should not both flows offer the same functions, even if the ‘Print’ method is merely a wrapper for the ‘Export’ version?

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Believe me, we tried and eventually we will have a unified system for making PDFs. The only way we can use the Rhino PDF writer from the print dialog on Mac is to write our own custom print dialog instead of using the system provided UI.

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Thank you McNeel for taking this seriously!

For now I just print every single layer from Rhino layouts (so i have the right papaer format) as pdf and import it into Affinity Designer. Then the hatches as svg. It is a bit of work, but for now the best option, because otherwise you cannot preserve the layers in Affinity.

Hope there will be better options in the future.

Did you try file->export to PDF instead of printing?

Is this supposed to behave like that? (not to change between landscape and portrait). The output print then is anoter different thing.supertest.pdf (490.2 KB)

We just discovered that bug and are working on it