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What is a Rhino Plug-in?

Developer: C++, .NET

What is a Rhino plug-in?

  • A Rhino plug-in is a software module that extends the functionality of Rhino by adding commands, features, or capabilities.
  • A Rhino plug-in is a Windows Dynamic Link Library, or DLL.
  • Examples of Rhino plug-ins include Bongo, Brazil, Flamingo nXt, and Penguin.

What types of plug-ins are supported?

Rhino supports five different types of plug-ins.

  1. General Utility. A general purpose plug-in that can contain one or more commands.
  2. File Import. A plug-in that imports data from other file formats into Rhino. A single File Import plug-in can support more that one file type.
  3. File Export. A plug-in that exports data from Rhino to other file formats. A single File Export plug-in can support more than one file type.
  4. Custom Rendering. A plug-in that applies materials, textures, and lights to a scene to produce rendered images.
  5. 3-D Digitizing. A plug-in that interfaces with 3-D digitizing devices, such as those manufactured by MicroScribe, Faro, and Romer.

Note: File Import, File Export, Custom Rendering and 3-D Digitizing plug-ins are all specialized enhancements to the General Utility plug-in. Thus, all plug-in types can contain one or more commands.

What is required to build a plug-in?


  • Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 for Rhino 5 64-bit.
  • Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 for Rhino 5 32-bit and Rhino 4.0.


  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 for Rhino 5, either C# or Visual Basic (VB.NET). Note: Rhino 5 requires that .NET plug-ins target the .NET 4.0 Framework.
  • Either Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 or Visual Studio 2005 for Rhino 4.0, either C# or Visual Basic (VB.NET). Note: Rhino 4.0 requires that .NET plug-ins target the .NET 2.0 Framework.

How to get development support?

  • The getting started samples, included with the SDK, demonstrate plug-in basics.
  • The HTML help documentation, included with the SDK, provides information on SDK classes and their hierarchy.
  • The Rhino plug-ins newsgroup, either the news reader or the web browser version, allows you to post questions to and read responses from other plug-in developers.
  • Use the web browser version to search the Rhino plug-ins newsgroup archive for previously posted questions or samples.
  • Email developer support directly.
  • Frequent this location, the Rhino Developer Resources wiki site.
developer/whatisarhinoplugin.txt ยท Last modified: 2015/09/14 (external edit)