Installing and using Grasshopper Plugins

From TOI-Pedia


Expected Time: 30 min

Sometimes the standard Grasshopper library does not support specific functions that you need. This tutorial gives you some advice about installing Grasshopper plugins. First, we will discuss how to download and install a plugin. After that, this tutorial gives an overview of some interesting Grasshopper Plugins for Architecture

Package Manager

Open the Package Manager

Since the release of Rhino 7, it is possible to download some Grasshopper plugins directly from the Rhino software.

  • Open the Package Manager.

Find the plugin you need
  • Type the plugin you need for Grasshopper or Rhino.

If available in the Package Manager, the plugin will now be visible.

  • Click on Install and click on Okay.

If the plugin is not available in the Package Manager, continue with the following chapter.

Download plugins

Food4Rhino (retrieved from

Most plugins for Grasshopper can be downloaded from Food4Rhino, a website with open-source plugins for Rhino and Grasshopper. Therefore, most plugins can be installed using the following steps. However, it is always recommended to take a look at the instructions in the description of the plugin.

  • Browse for

This step-by-step instruction is only applicable on Windows PC.

Download Ladybug (retrieved from

Find the Download button of the version you want to install. A zip-file with all the components will be downloaded.

  • Click on the Download button

Open the properties menu of the zip-file

Now we have to unblock the files.

  • Find the downloaded file in your explorer;
  • Right click on the zip-file and click on properties Windows Explorer » RMB on zip-file » Properties

Click on the Unblock box
  • If available, click on the "Unblock" box.

Extract the zip-file
  • Extract the zip-file Windows Explorer » RMB on zip-file » Extract all...
  • Copy the extracted folder

Open the components folder
  • Start Grasshopper
  • Open the components folder File » Special Folders » Components Folder

The Grasshopper components folder
  • Paste the folder in the opened directory

  • Restart Rhino and Grasshopper

Afterwards, your plugin should be added to the toolbar.

Overview of useful Grasshopper Plugins for Architecture


Ladybug (image retrieved from

Ladybug allows you to import and analyze standard weather data in Grasshopper; draw diagrams like Sun-path, wind-rose, radiation-rose, etc; customize the diagrams in several ways; run radiation analysis, shadow studies, and view analysis. – description on Food4Rhino


Lunchbox (image retrieved from

LunchBox is a plug-in for Grasshopper for exploring mathematical shapes, paneling, structures, and workflow. We have also introduced new components for general machine learning implementations such as regression analysis, clustering, and networks. – description on Food4Rhino


A complete description of the Hops component can be found in the tutorial Clusters and Hops. Hops can be used for parallel computation, using external script IDE's, debugging and CPython modules.


Weaverbird (image retrieved from

Weaverbird is a topological modeler that contains many of the known subdivision and transformation operators, readily usable by designers. Instead of doing the work repeatedly, or sometimes using complicated scripts, this plug-in reconstructs the shape, subdivides any mesh, even made by polylines, and helps preparing for fabrication. – description on the website of Giulio Piacentino


Weaverbird (image retrieved from

Karamba3D is a parametric structural engineering tool which provides accurate analysis of spatial trusses, frames and shells. - description on Karamba3D

Kangaroo Physics

Kangaroo is a Live Physics engine for interactive simulation, form-finding, optimization and constraint solving. Kangaroo is now included with Rhino 6 and 7 and if you are using a current version you do not need to download or install it from here. – description on Food4Rhino


Anemone is a plugin that enables looping functions in Grasshopper. Using this method, you can create fractal-like functions. – description on Food4Rhino


This library contains a number of components and commands for querying and manipulating Grasshopper components dynamically. – description on Food4Rhino


Wallacei (image retrieved from

Wallacei (which includes Wallacei Analytics and Wallacei X) is an evolutionary multi-objective optimization engine that allows users to run evolutionary simulations in Grasshopper 3D through utilising highly detailed analytic tools coupled with various comprehensive selection methods, including algorithmic clustering, to assist users to better understand their evolutionary runs, and make more informed decisions at all stages of their evolutionary simulations. – description on Food4Rhino


Octopus (image retrieved from

Octopus was originally made for Multi-Objective Evolutionary Optimization. It allows the search for many goals at once, producing a range of optimized trade-off solutions between the extremes of each goal. It is used and works similar to David Rutten's Galapagos, but introduces the Pareto-Principle for Multiple Goals. – description on Food4Rhino


Meshedit is a set of components which extend Grasshopper's ability to work with meshes. – description on Food4Rhino


Pufferfish (image retrieved from

This plugin is a set of 330 components which focuses on Tweens, Blends, Morphs, Averages, Transformations, & Interpolations - essentially Shape Changing. – description on Food4Rhino


Elk is a set of tools to generate map and topographical surfaces using open source data from and USGS. – description on Food4Rhino

  • Download at Food4Rhino: Elk


Firefly (image retrieved from

Firefly offers a set of software tools dedicated to bridging the gap between Grasshopper (a free plug-in for Rhino) and micro-controllers like the Arduino. It allows near real-time data flow between the digital and physical worlds – enabling the possibility to explore virtual and physical prototypes with unprecedented fluidity. – description on Food4Rhino


Opennest (image retrieved from

OpenNest is used for packing 2D closed polygons and often used for fabrication i.e. laser or CNC cutting. – description on Food4Rhino


Opennest (image retrieved from

Engineers, designers, hackers and entire organizations rely on us for interoperability, automation and collaboration to deliver better buildings, faster. – description on

  • Download at Speckle

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