Representational Research at the University of Virginia School of Architecture

The Grasshopper Interface

Open Grasshopper by typing “Grasshopper” into the command line in Rhino. As the plug-in loads, a new window will appear on your screen. In this screenshot, the Rhino window is on the left, and the Grasshopper window is on the right. Drag and stretch the windows to create a workspace that feels comfortable for you.

Rhino Grasshopper

Within the Grasshopper window, you should see a standard menu bar (A), a row of tabs which contains boxes of components (B), a row of tools (C), and a workspace (D).

Grasshopper Interface

A) The Menu Bar: The menu bar contains standard drop-down lists that let you save and open files, etc. Now’s probably the time to mention that Grasshopper doesn’t yet have an “undo” function, so buyer beware!

B) Component Tabs: Components are stored in tabs, which are sorted by typology. Functions relating to curves, surfaces, logic operations, and so forth are each stored in their own groups. Each group contains more components than can fit in the box; click on the black bar at the bottom of the box to see the full list of components for each category.

C) Canvas Toolbar: The canvas toolbar displays tools that allow you to navigate the workspace and set various views of your operations.

D) The Canvas: This is your workspace!

For a more thorough discussion of all of this, take a look at Andrew Payne’s Grasshopper Primer (Second Edition). In fact, Payne’s Primer is pretty excellent, so go ahead and download it, even if you don’t particularly feel inclined to learn more about drop-down menus right now…


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