14th March 2024

Grasshopper Keyboard Shortcuts

Hi there,

When I got the hang of using Grasshopper, I was annoyed at how slowly I moved. I had the right thoughts and understanding but putting it into practice just took too much time.

I never understood why I was so slow until one day it hit me. Grasshopper's interface has too much clicking. Using my mouse for everything slowed me down a lot.

This led me to discover that Grasshopper has "secret" "keyboard" shortcuts.

Most of these shortcuts are actually common knowledge amongst experienced users but I don't see them mentioned anywhere. So, I am going to lay them all out here, in hopes that it will help you get faster at Grasshopper.

Search bar Shortcuts

The search bar is the fastest way to get components from Grasshopper. There are even a few "hidden" shortcuts that let you create certain components faster.

Panels

Panels can be created from the search bar by typing "//" followed by any text.

Scribbles

Scribbles can be quickly added with a "~" followed by your text.

Sliders

You can make sliders using the "<" symbols. To make a slider from 1 to 10, type in "1 < 10". You can even set a current value of 3 within that slider with "1 < 3 < 10".

Tip: Add decimal points to control the number of places for the slider. i.e. "0<1.0<10" will give you finer control.

Shift Paths

Because I commonly deal with trees in Grasshopper, which means I use the shift paths component a lot. Even if I used the search bar, typing "shift paths" often feels slow. It's a good thing that Grasshopper offers ".." as a shortcut to get this component.

Note: you should only have the shift paths component if you don't have as many plugins as I do

Finding "Old" components

You can search for "old" components within Grasshopper in the search bar. This is useful if a plugin or a version update broke your script. You can search for "old" components with a "#" at the front.

It doesn't happen often but it's a lifesaver when you need it.

Component Shortcuts

Another way to speed up your Grasshopper process is to access the right-click menu of components with your keyboard.

Changing wire styles

if you have been following my work, you know I am a big fan of using all the wire styles. But with so many components, using your keyboard instead of your mouse will save you a lot of time.

To do this, right-click on any input, then hit "w" on your keyboard to first access the wire styles menu.

Then, hit one of the following keys depending on which style you want.

  • F - Faint
  • D - Default
  • H - Hidden

For example, to get a hidden wire style, I would right-click, hit "w" then hit "f". It's a lot quicker than using the mouse.

Changing data structures

You can even access data operations (flatten, graft, simplify, etc) on the right-click menu with your keyboard.

Just like changing wire styles, you can access them by hitting the first letter of an operation. Take a look at these operations and their respective starting letters.

  • R - Reverse
  • F - Flatten
  • G - Graft
  • S - Simplify

Sometimes you will come across components that have multiple operations starting with the same letter. Like on curves, you have the option to Reverse and Reparameterize.

In that case, hitting "R" will let you jump between the two and hitting "Enter" will let you choose. It's a bit slower but it's still quicker than a mouse I think.

Final Thoughts

There are certainly more shortcuts in Grasshopper but these are the ones that I use the most when scripting. I hope that was helpful and maybe I'll write up something in the future about shortcuts that help with navigating and displaying data from scripts.

until the next one,

Braden Koh

P.S. If you're new to Grasshopper, check out my ​free 12-day Grasshopper course​.