Template:Grasshopper interface

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The interface.

To access Grasshopper within Rhino just type Grasshopper in the command line. Grasshopper will start up and open an interface for using Grasshopper. The interface can be minimized by double clicking on the blue windows frame of the Grasshopper interface.

Open Grasshopper

The interface contains a pull down menu , the tabs with Parameters , Components and Specials , a set of icons and a large workspace or canvas where the network will be created. The geometry will be created in the Rhino viewports. The canvas is only used for defining and editing the parameters, specials and components.

Interface Grasshopper

The pull down menu:


The file menu contains the traditional options for saving and opening files. Keep in mind that Grasshopper documents have to be saved in Grasshopper as a separate file from Rhino. If you have used Rhino geometry as a basis for the parameters you have to save the Rhino file also. This is important. If you forget the parameters have to be redefined which can be problematic.


In the Edit option we have the standard copy, paste and selection options as well as the options of grouping. The group option becomes more essential as the complexity of the network increases.

  • The group is often a set of parameters / components / specials which generate a well defined function within the network. The group can also be defined by selecting the parameters , components and/or specials and press CRTL g on your keyboard. Right clicking with your mouse in the box of the group gives you access to the appearance settings of the box.

Groups Grasshopper


View contains the view options within Grasshopper like zoom.

  • At the top we have the Remote Panel This option will hide the grasshopper canvas and provide you with a smaller menu where all the variables can be accessed. This option is used when you want to avoid that the menu of Grasshopper will block your view of the geometry.
  • The Arrange menu is used when the parameters , components and specials are visually laid on top of each other


The Solution menu contains the settings for the geometry generated by Grasshopper and made visible in Rhino.

  • There is a direct link between Grasshopper and Rhino which results in a real-time update of the geometry in Rhino, this is called the preview. This however can be problematic if the complexity of the geometry results in to extensive calculations for the update of the geometry. In this case the update can be disabled.
  • To finalize the work in Grasshopper geometry has to be converted into Rhino geometry. This is called baking. The geometry will be completely editable in Rhino after baking. Although the link with Grasshopper still exists the baked geometry is a copy of the Grasshopper geometry at the moment of baking. Any alterations in Grasshopper will result in alterations of the Grasshopper geometry not of the baked geometry.

The Tabs.

We will use the content of the Tabs for the generation of geometry within Grasshopper. To understand the function within the Tabs you need to know how they work. This sounds obvious, but this will mean that you have to know the various definitions of the parameters and their role in generating the geometry. A sound understanding of the properties of the type of geometry you are working with will be essential. In this case we will work with NURBS.

Grasshopper uses the geometry not only on an object level, like curves , surfaces or Brep’s but also on an component level. Understanding what components there are and their functionality will be essential for a effective implementation of Grasshopper in the design process.

The Tabs have a logical order, starting with the definition of the Parameters , the Math tab for creating mathematical relations ,the List tab where the list can edited to the generation of Vectors, Points, Curves, Surfaces and meshes. Finally we have the modification and transformation tools.

Tabs in Grasshopper

The functionality of the Tabs and the properties of the NURBS geometry will be explained in another section of the manual.

The icon bar

The icons bar beneath the Tabs contain the functions for representation of the network and its related Brep geometry in Rhino.

The Pencil

  • The Pencil icon enables the user to draw in the Canvas. This tool can be used for annotation or, for example , to encircle certain related parameters and components to emphasize their relation.

If the curve is right clicked an option menu will appear with edit functions for the curve. The hand drawn curve can be replaced by a curve made in Rhino by using the Load from Rhino option.

The pencil tool in Grasshopper



  • The navigation within Grasshopper is supported by the various zoom and pan tools in the icon bar. Traditional navigation is supported by Right Mouse Button (Pan) and CRTL + Right Mouse Button (zoom). Additional functionality is supported by the icons.

Navigating in Grasshopper



  • When something is made in Grasshopper a preview of the geometry is created as a Brep in Rhino. The preview can be disabled or a selection of components can be disabled to save for example calculation time or cleanup the Brep in Rhino.

The geometry preview settings in Grasshopper


The icon bar in Grasshopper

The Brep in Rhino is a preview of the geometry made within Grasshopper. To icons on the right give access to the relational settings of the Brep with Grasshopper. To convert the Brep into Rhino geometry the geometry has to be baked with the help of the bake icon.


The canvas:

The large window contains the canvas on which the network will be build. Geometry is not visible in this window. The geometry will be represented as a Brep in Rhino. Navigation in Grasshopper is similar to Rhino.

The canvas of Grasshopper

The canvas of Grasshopper

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