Wish: Treat Groups as objects

Hi everyone,

Am I the only one who finds working with groups quite confusing? I have to admit that I try to avoid them for a few reasons.

Let’s say I’ve got a couple of cubes and I want to group them, so I run _Group and voila, done. First thing is that Rhino does not ask for a name when you create a group, instead it’ll add a random name as Group01… Ok then, let’s give it a proper name, intuitively I go to the properties panel and in the name field I type a new name, Boxes, and that’s it, now I’ve got my two cubes grouped as Boxes, right? NO! What I did is to give that name, Boxes, to all entities that belong to that group, in my example to the two cubes. This is because Groups act as selection sets instead of objects which IMO is not very intuitive.

So if I properly want to change the name of a group I have to run _SetGroupName, the problem is that even if I’ve named my block properly when I select the group by clicking on it there is no info in the properties panel that indicates the name of the currently selected group. The only way to now that I’m aware of is by using _SelGroup that will open a list showing all the groups contained in your model. If you have a couple of groups it is ok, but if you have something like this is a nightmare

There isn’t even a search field to find the group you are looking for, you have to scroll and scroll and scroll until you find the one you are looking for.

And that is if you are lucky. If you didn’t pay attention to naming your groups as you were creating them and you want to name them afterwards, or if you imported some kind of file that import groups, you will have to click, click, click, click… until you find the one you are looking for.

All this pain could be solved by just treating groups as real entities. If I select a group I want to see the properties for that group in the properties panel. If I want to see the properties of the internal components I can use subject selection mode and pick all entities that belong to that group. Or even better, as we do with blocks, double clicking a group would open it and let us select subobjects with no tricks.

If treating groups as objects is something that will require a lot of work and it’s not going to happen soon, could we have at least _SelGroup as a panel for groups with a search field and the possibility to change the name of a group by right clicking on top of the name.



The entire Ux for both Groups and Blocks should be re-made from the ground up.

Blender is a good recent example, of how they re-made their outdated and rigid old layers model, into something entirely new and very flexible with “collections”.


Agreed! Groups and blocks are basically the same thing, IMO the should use the same logic and tools.

Don’t agree here, the purpose and functioning of groups and blocks are completely different.

A group is a collection of different (not necessarily related) discrete elements in the file that can be selected as one object

A block is a definition of a set of objects/geometries (the parent definition), the instances that you see on-screen do not actually exist as geometry in the file, but are merely a set of transforms of the parent definition. Modifying the parent definition updates the instances.


I meant both are management tools to keep your file tidy and functional. The only different from the user’s perspective is that modifying a block will modify all the instances whereas groups have no dependencies. Thats why I said that it makes sense to treat them with the same logic and tools.

I just can not understand why groups are not real objects, it makes no sense at all. Why do we have NamedSelection then? It is basically the same thing as groups in Rhino. In fact it’s better, because with NamedSelection we’ve got a panel and it works kind of an outliner, giving us the ability to see what’s inside and also give as the possibility to rename those selection.

In fact I’m gonna start using NamedSelections instead of Groups. The only problem is if you get or import a file that has groups in it. Maybe a script that convert groups to NamedSelection could be handy :wink:

This is why I took Blender as an example. @Pascal has said that Blocks are here for 20 years and won’t change, but @brian has already began looking at side stepping this. Groups are probably no different, so I thought Blender’s addition of Collections could serve as an example for how Rhino could perhaps also develop a modern system to complement them both which fulfills the needs of today’s users.

Hi José -

Before I came to this post in this thread, I was about to recommend to use NamedSelections.
And then I started writing a feature request for a search field in that panel.

That sounds like a good idea but then I saw your _SelGroup picture again… How realistic is it that you will find meaningful names for 258+ selection sets with words that you will remember to search for?

Oh well. The Layouts panel has a search field, so it shouldn’t be completely impossible to add that to the Named Selections panel as well - RH-59030.

1 Like

Hi Wim, I completely agree with you, it is not realistic at all. The problem with NamedSelection is that it only works unilaterally, and by that I mean you can only select those selection from the panel list. We need bilateral selection, this is being able to select from a list and from the viewport, so we don’t have to remember those +200 names.

So, going back to my wish, I reaffirm myself that we need a group panel that give us at least:

  1. a list of all groups in the file with a search field
  2. the ability to see and change the name of current selected group.

My real wish though, as I think this would be the best solution, is that Rhino incorporates an Outliner and that groups behave as real objects, so we can change and edit them via Properties panel and using the outliner.


If McNeel implements this for groups before they do it for blocks, I think a whole lot of people are going to be very upset. :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

Haha, I’m one those users desperately asking for a new block system made from scratch. And that is why I said in one of my previous post that block and groups are basically the same, they are containers and they need very similar management tools.

If you take SketchUp as an example, its block/group system works at perfection, blocks and groups are basically the same. The main different is that changes made to components ( blocks) are carry over all the copies while groups remain independent.

So what McNeel needs to do is implement a system that works for both, groups and blocks, so everyone will be happy. But I came here with this little wish because I didn’t want to ask again for a new block manager/outliner, as you can see from your link absolutely nothing has changed from the past 5 years related to blocks, and this really worries me…