How to get user input in a script

How to prompt the user for input into a script.


Prompting the user of a script for the input of a value, selecting a layer, picking a point or selecting a Rhino object is important to many interactive scripts.

The RhinoscriptSyntax module contains many ways to interactively prompt for several different types of input. There are three main styles of input that are contained in Rhinosciptsyntax:

  • Get methods. These are methods that work with the command line, wait for mouse input or prompt for specific input.
  • Dialog methods. There are some simple specific dialogs to prompt for input
  • File system dialogs. Browsing, saving and opening files on the system with Python.

Many input methods will also validate the user input to make sure only the proper input is accepted.

The GET methods


Use rs.GetPoint() to ask the user for a single point location, say for the center of a circle. Like most if not all of the Get methods, rs.GetPoint() allows you to specify some parameters- in this case they are all optional, the function will run without any of them specified in the code you type. For example, the default prompt is “Pick point”, but you can specify a different prompt, for example, “Set center point” depending on what you wish to convey to the user.

pt = rs.GetPoint("Set center point")

If the function succeeds, a Rhino point is returned, which can be treated as a list of three numbers representing the world x, y and z coordinates of the point.

import rhinoscriptsyntax as rs
pt = rs.GetPoint("Click to get information about a point location")
if pt is not None:# note it is a good idea to check if there is a result you can use
    print "That point has an x coordinate of " + str(pt[0]) # when you build a string that includes elements that are not text, convert to a string with str()


Use rs.GetPoints() to ask the user for multiple point locations. As in rs.GetPoint(), all parameters are optional. Note that there is a separate prompt for the first point, and a second one for subsequent points.

You need to set the parameters in order, separated by commas. If you do not want to specify a parameter at all, and accept the default, you can leave it out but you must then specify any following parameters explicitly using the parameter name. For example, this will not work to set a custom first prompt:

import rhinoscriptsyntax as rs

pts = rs.GetPoints(  "Set the first point", "Set the next point")

Why? because the function has two parameters that come before the first prompt, ‘draw_lines’ and ‘in_plane’. If you leave these out, you must specify what parameters you are setting explicitly in order for it to be recognized:

import rhinoscriptsyntax as rs
pts = rs.GetPoints(  message1= "Set the first point", message2= "Set the next point")

You could also make sure to set the other parameters even if you don’t care what they are i.e. defaults are OK:

import rhinoscriptsyntax as rs
pts = rs.GetPoints( None, None, "Set the first point", "Set the next point")


Another common Get method is prompting for a number on the commandline with rs.GetReal().

import rhinoscriptsyntax as rs

# GetReal prompts on the command line with optional defaults and a minimum allowable value
radius = rs.GetReal("Radius of new circle", 3.14, 1.0)
if radius: rs.AddCircle( (0,0,0), radius )

rs.GetReal() accepts any number, including decimals. In some cases your code may need only whole numbers- in this case use rs.GetInteger()

There are 22 different Get methods. For details on all the Get functions in RhinoScriptSyntax for Python go to the RhinoScriptSyntax User interface methods

Dialog Methods

The Dialog methods in RhinoScript syntax are used to prompt of with generic custom information. Dialogs can be used to draw more attention to a required interaction with the user. Dialogs generally interrupt the workflow - the script cannot continue until the dialog is dealt with by the user.


The simplest dialog box is the rs.MessageBox() function. The rs.MessageBox() comes with many options to customize the buttons based on your needs:

import rhinoscriptsyntax as rs

rs.MessageBox("Hello Rhino!") # Simple message dialog
rs.MessageBox("Hello Rhino!", 4 | 32) # A Yes, No dialog
rs.MessageBox("Hello Rhino!", 2 | 48) # An Abort, Retry dialog


Note that rs.MessageBox() returns a value - you can set a variable to record the result from a message box so that you can tell which button the user has clicked.

import rhinoscriptsyntax as rs

button = rs.MessageBox("Hello Rhino!", 2 | 48) # An Abort, Retry dialog

The value of ‘button’ in the code above will tell the script which button was clicked and it can proceed appropriately. See the Rhino IronPython Help for details on the available buttons and the return codes from rs.MessageBox()


Some of the more advanced dialogs can be populated with custom selections:

import rhinoscriptsyntax as rs

options = ('First Pick', 'Second Pick', 'Third Pick')
if options:
    result = rs.ListBox(options, "Pick an option")
    if result: rs.MessageBox( result + " was selected" )

Here is a list of dialog box methods:

Method     Description
CheckListBox     Displays a list of strings in a checkable list. The user can pick multiple items.
ComboListBox     Displays a list of strings in a combo list.
EditBox     Displays a dialog box with a multi-line edit control.
ListBox     Displays a list of strings in a simple list box. The user can pick one item.
MessageBox     Displays a Windows message box.
PopupMenu     Displays a context-like popup menu.
PropertyListBox     Displays a list of items and values in a property list.
RealBox     Displays a dialog box prompting the user to enter a number.
StringBox     Displays a dialog box prompting the user to enter a string.

For details on all the dialog box functions in RhinoScriptSyntax for Python go to the RhinoScriptSyntax User interface methods

File System dialogs

Working with files and folders on the computer take a special class of dialogs.

import rhinoscriptsyntax as rs

filename = rs.OpenFileName()
if filename: rs.MessageBox(filename)


Method     Description
BrowseForFolder     Displays a Windows browse-for-folder dialog box.
OpenFileName     Displays a Windows file open dialog box.
OpenFileNames     Displays a Windows file open dialog box.
SaveFileName     Displays a Windows file save dialog box.