Houdini 19.5 Basics

Dashbox: an interface for finding things

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Find things using the dashbox

  1. Press ⌃ Ctrl + D to open the Dashbox.

  2. Start typing what you want to search for (see the /basics/search categories.html#categories below).

  3. You can use the and arrow keys to select one a result and press Enter or ⏎ Return to choose it.

    Or, press ⎋ Esc to close the window.

Limit the search to one category

  • Use one of the #tags marked as “Only search in this category” in the list of categories below.


  • Click the icon to the left of the text box and choose one of the categories. While a category is selected in this menu, what you type in the text box only finds content in the selected category.

    This choice only affects the current Dashbox window. The next time you open the Dashbox, the category filter will be reset to “All”.

Choose between “Fuzzy” and “Substring” search

The Dashbox provides two different ways to match what you type: fuzzy and substring search. Fuzzy is the default.

  • Click the icon to the left of the text box. At the bottom, click Fuzzy or Substring.


  • Ranks matches by similarity of the letters in each word.

  • Tolerant of typing/spelling errors.

  • Slower than substring.

  • Can give results that seem strange because they contain the right letters but far apart.


  • Ranks matches by overlap of substrings.

  • Much faster than fuzzy search.

  • The more you type, the more you narrow down the results.

  • Doesn’t cope well with typing/spelling errors.


Currently your choice is only saved across the current session, and resets when you restart Houdini.

Tips and notes

  • When you specify multiple “filter” tags, they are combined inclusively. For example, if you specify both #hom and #vex, the Dashbox will show results from both HOM and Vex. If you do a node search and specify both the #sop and #lop tags, the results will include both SOP and LOP nodes.

  • If results seem to update slowly as you type, try switching to “Substring” searching.


The Dashbox ships with a useful set of search categories. In future versions, we plan to expand the functionality of the Dashbox and its categories, and integrate it with legacy search functions like help and node search.


Description and Tags


Searches expression functions.


Only search in this category.


Search argument names in addition to function names.


Searches the help.


Search this category (help is normally not included unless you use this tag).


Searches Houdini’s Python scripting API.

#hom or #hou

Only search in this category.


Limit search to class names.


Limit search to function names.


Limit search to enum value names.


Evaluates what you type as a mathematical Python expression. Python built-ins, and global variables.

The context in which the expression is evaluated has useful functions available, but does not contain functions that might have side-effects. The context includes:

  • Most built-in Python functions.

  • Useful HOM functions almostEqual, applicationVersion, applicationVersionString, machineName, maxThreads, patternMatch, userName, fps, frame, frameToTime, intFrame, timeToFrame, ch.

  • Function from hou.hmath.

  • Functions from Python’s math module.


Only search in this category.

Node Path

Finds node instances by their name/path.


Only search in this category and Node Type.


Only search in this category only.


Search node names only, ignoring the rest of the path.

#sop, #lop, #dop, #vop, #rop, #obj, #top, #cop, #chop

Limit searches to nodes of this network type.

Node Type

Finds node thpes by their internal name and/or label.


Only search in this category and Node Path.


Only search in this category only.


Only search internal names of node types.


Only search human-readable labels of node types.

#sop, #lop, #dop, #vop, #rop, #obj, #top, #cop, #chop

Limit searches to node types of this network type.


Finds global Houdini preferences by name.


Only search in this category.

Display Options

Finds 3D scene viewer display options by name.


Only search in this category.

Pane Tabs

Finds and selects existing pane tabs, or opens a new floating tab the a tab of the matched type does not exist yet.

#pane or #tab

Only search in this category.

USD Stage Prims

Finds USD prims in a USD stage created by a LOP network.

Unlike other categories, this category does not use the standard Dashbox matching. Instead, it interprets what you type using the LOP selection rule syntax. If a word contains only letters and numbers, the Dashbox adds wildcards at the start and end (so foo1 becomes *foo1* in the seearch) to allow substring matching.

The category tries to choose a reasonable LOP node to search given the current state of Houdini:

  • If a LOP node is current, search the stage in that node.

  • If a LOP network is shown in a network editor, find the node with the display flag and search the stage in that node.

  • Otherwise, find the node with the display flag in /stage and search the stage in that node.


Only search in this category.


Finds VEX functions by name.


Only search in this category.


Getting started

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