Installing Tools (Windows)

This guide covers all the necessary tools required to author Rhino plugins in C/C++ on Windows.

By the end of this guide, you should have all the tools installed necessary for authoring, building, and debugging C/C++ plugins using the Rhino C/C++ SDK on Windows.


This guide presumes you have:

Install Visual Studio

In order to author, build, and debug C/C++ plugins for Rhino, you will need Microsoft Visual Studio 2017.

Visual Studio 2017 comes in three editions: Community, Professional, and Enterprise. All of these editions will work with the Rhino C/C++ SDK.

Note: Rhino C/C++ SDK plugins cannot be authored in versions of Visual Studio other than 2017. The native classes and libraries that are made available via the Rhino C/C++ SDK are also used internally by Rhino. As a result of this tight linkage with Rhino itself, the libraries are very compiler specific, and work only with the same compiler that was used to build Rhino.


  1. Visual Studio 2017 Community Edition is free from Microsoft for students, open-source contributors, and small teams. Details here. Click the Community button to download the installer.
  2. Run the Visual Studio installer you downloaded from Microsoft, in this case vs_community_[build_number].exe. Visual Studio Install
  3. Follow the onscreen prompts to install Visual Studio. Make sure to select all of the Desktop development with C++ features. Visual Studio Install
  4. Depending on your internet connection, this can take minutes or hours.

Install the Rhino C/C++ SDK

The Rhino C/C++ SDK is a set of tools for creating plug-in using the C++ language. The SDK includes headers, libraries and Visual Studio project wizards to get you started creating plugins quickly.

  1. Exit Visual Studio.
  2. Download the Rhino C/C++ SDK.
  3. Run the SDK installer you downloaded, in this case rh60sdk_[build_number].msi.
  4. If the installation is successful, run Visual Studio.

Next Steps

Congratulations! You have the tools to build a C/C++ plugin for Rhino for Windows. Now what?

Check out the Creating your first C/C++ plugin for Rhino guide for instructions building - you guessed it - your first plugin.