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Coming from Rhino for Windows?

Are you coming from Rhino for Windows? Thinking of making the leap to OS X? Or just curious? This is a brief guide to get your bearings…

Where are the toolbars?
By default, Rhino for Mac presumes you are not coming from Rhino for Windows. If you would like to see Windows-esque toolbars, navigate to Rhinoceros > Preferences > Themes and select Rhino for Windows. You will need to start a new modeling window for these changes to take effect. For more details on the Rhino for Mac theme, see the next item…
Toolbars and tool palettes
  • Rhino for Mac has tool buttons that invoke Rhino commands in the standard Macintosh toolbar.
  • Rhino for Mac also has tool palettes that are windows containing a collection of tool buttons.
    A tool palette of frequently-used tool buttons opens at the left of the document window when Rhino for Mac starts.
  • Tool palette buttons can contain one or two commands and a menu.
  • Hover the mouse over a tool palette button to display the button's tooltip.
    If the tooltip has two lines of text, the button contains a primary and an alternate command.
    • Click the tool palette button to invoke the primary command, .
    • To invoke the alternate command, hold down the Option key and click the tool button.
  • Tool palette buttons containing a menu have a small triangle in the lower left corner.
    • To open the menu, click and briefly hold the tool palette button.
  • Tool palette menus can also be displayed as floating tool palettes.
    • To display a floating tool palette, hold down the Option key and click and hold down the mouse button.
  • For easy right-mouse navigation, a two‑button mouse with a scroll wheel is recommended, but all operations are possible using a one-button mouse.
  • To duplicate right-mouse actions with a one-button mouse, hold down the Control key and click the mouse button.


  • Right-mouse button drag and Shift+right-mouse button drag operations are the same as in Rhino for Windows. See Rhino Help - Shortcuts.
    Regardless of the view projection style, hold down the Shift key to always pan, hold down the Command key to always zoom, and hold down the Command+Shift keys to always rotate the view.
  • Use the scroll wheel to zoom in and out in a view.
  • If you have a one-button mouse, you hold down the Control, Command, and Shift keys together to always rotate a view.
Right-click context menu
  • Right-click in a viewport displays a context menu.
  • By default right-click does not act as Enter to repeat the last command.
    To change this, in Rhinoceros > Preferences > Mouse > Mouse, turn off Enable context menus.
Command line
If you are used to the command line in Rhino for Windows, all the functionality of the Rhino for Windows command line is in Rhino for Mac. To activate the command line, just start typing. A Command Search window appears. You can press Return or press the space bar to start the command.

A command options dialog then appears that has all the command options that appear in the Rhino for Windows prompt line. You can drag this dialog anywhere on the screen and Rhino will remember where you put it.

If you also like to type the command option values, check the Always provide an input field in command options dialog for typed values in the Legacy preferences panel. Now each option prompt will have one of its letters underlined. You can type that letter and press Return to invoke that option.

You never need to move the cursor at all when typing values in the command options dialog. Just type and Rhino will enter your values into the dialog automatically. All your habits for using the command line in Rhino for Windows work exactly the same in Rhino for Mac.

  • Rhino for Windows uses the Control key for many operations. On the Mac version, use the Command key instead.
    • For example, Command click replaces Ctrl click to deselect objects.
    • Also, the Command key replaces the Ctrl key for navigation shortcuts:
Key Action + Command key
Left Arrow Rotate left Pan left
Right Arrow Rotate right Pan right
Up Arrow Rotate up Pan up
Down Arrow Rotate down Pan down
Laptop issues
Bluetooth mouse
Since laptops ship with a trackpad, a Bluetooth mouse such as the Logitech V270 is a useful addition.

Pinching two fingers on the trackpad zooms the current view in or out.
To change this behavior, in Rhinoceros > Preferences > Trackpad, you can check Use two fingers to pan and rotate views.

Missing keyboard keys
A laptop keyboard does not have a separate Home, End, PageDn, or PageUp key, but the fn key in combination with other keys duplicates the key function.

Key + fn key
Up Arrow Page Up
Down Arrow Page Down
Left Arrow Home
Right Arrow End
Delete Delete

User interface features only in Rhino for Mac

A number of commands and features that are available only in Rhino for Mac version. There a number of additional ways you can invoke commands besides clicking tool palette buttons or typing a command.

Mouse features
Apple Magic Mouse
To use the right-mouse click function in Rhino
  • If the Magic Mouse is configured as a one-button mouse, hold down the Control key when clicking the mouse button to perform a mouse right-click.
  • To to make a right-click possible without using the keyboard, in the System Preferences panel, turn on Secondary Click.

Navigating with a Magic Mouse

  • An Apple Magic Mouse has a touch-sensitive top surface.
  • To turn on Magic Mouse features, in Rhinoceros > Preferences > Mouse > Magic Mouse, check Enable Magic Mouse gestures.
  • By default, one-finger gestures will zoom the viewport in or out. To zoom, drag your finger on the top of the mouse.
  • To change the behavior to pan and rotate instead of zoom, check Scroll with one finger to pan and rotate views.
Multiple-button mice
To set up the extra buttons to run commands, go to Rhinoceros > Preferences > Mouse > Buttons and enter the commands for the mouse buttons.
Trackpad features
On a trackpad, two fingers can pan and rotate viewport views.

To enable this behavior, in Rhinoceros > Preferences > Trackpad, check Use two fingers to pan and rotate viewport views.

You can also assign commands to three-finger or four-finger swipes on the trackpad. In our tests, the four-finger left and right swipes can be unreliable, and the four-finger up and down swipes never work. If you want to try these, remember that the Mac OS X also assigns actions to these gestures, so you will need to disable the OS X settings in System Preferences.

Screen edge
You can run a command by touching an of the edges of the computer screen with the mouse cursor.

Set the commands to run in Rhinoceros > Preferences > Mouse > Screen Edges. Type the command you want executed when you touch a screen edge.

Additional commands
The following commands have been added to Rhino for Mac for use in mouse gestures, trackpad gestures, and mouse buttons.

_-Layer _Visible=_Toggle _Enter: Toggles the Layers panel on and off

ToggleObjectPropertiesPanel: Turns the Properties panel on and off. This is especially useful as a Screen Edge command. For example: In Rhinoceros > Preferences > Mouse on the Screen Edges tab, in the Right edge edit box, type ToggleObjectPropertiesPanel. Touching the right screen edge will then turn the Object Properties panel on and off.

ToggleOsnapPanel: Turns the OSnap panel on and off.

ToggleOsnapPanelUnderCursor: Pops up the OSnaps panel under the cursor, making it easy to change OSnap settings. The panel disappears when you move the cursor off the panel. Assign this command to a mouse button if you have a mouse with more than three buttons, or to a trackpad swipe gesture.

ToggleActiveToolPalettes: The active tool palettes are all the tool palettes (except the Main tool palette) that are currently visible. This command lets you turn those tool palettes on and off.

In Rhinoceros > Preferences > Tool Palettes, the Hide tool palettes when starting commands and the Hide main tool palette when hiding other tool palettes options let you keep tool palettes hidden. The ToggleMainToolPalette and ToggleActiveToolPalettes commands, along with these settings, let you show the tool button palettes only when you need them.

Tips for modeling on smaller laptops
You can comfortably model on a 13“ laptop using only the built-in trackpad and a combination of the above settings. Try the following as a guide:
  • Change Mission Control, App Exposé, and other settings that might use three-finger gestures to four-finger gestures or disable them.
  • In Mission Control, put Rhino in its own desktop so it is not covering other applications. Use a four-finger left or right swipe to switch to Rhino or to switch to other applications.
  • Click the green button in the upper right corner to Maximize your modeling window.
  • Open any tool button palettes that you commonly use. Use Window > Active Tool Palettes for easy access to any of Rhino's tool palettes.

System Preferences > Trackpad > More Gestures

  • Set Swipe between full screen apps to Swipe left or right with four fingers. We want to reserve three-finger gestures for Rhino.

Rhinoceros > Preferences > Trackpad

  • Turn on Use two fingers to pan and rotate views.
    Two fingers will now rotate a perspective view.
    Shift + two fingers will pan a perspective view.
    Two finger pinch zooms a view.
  • For Swipe left with three fingers, enter _-Layer _Visible=_Toggle _Enter.
  • For Swipe right with three fingers, enter ToggleObjectPropertiesPanel.
  • For Swipe up with three fingers, enter ToggleOsnapPanelUnderCursor.
    Now three different three finger swipe gestures will bring up panels. Performing the same swipe gesture again dismisses the panel.

Rhinoceros > Preferences > Tool Palettes

  • Check the Hide tool palettes when starting commands option
  • Check the Hide main tool palette when hiding other tool palettes.

Rhinoceros > Preferences > Mouse > Screen Edges

  • For the Left Screen Edge, enter ToggleActiveToolPalettes.
    Touch the left screen edge with the cursor to turn all the tool palettes on and off.
    When you click one of the tool palette buttons, the command starts and all the tool palettes automatically disappear.
rhino/mac/diff.txt · Last modified: 2015/05/22 by dan