In optical 3-D measurements, two steps are generally required to obtain the whole-body 3-D shapes of objects: measuring the 3-D shape from different views, and afterwards connecting them together. The multiview overlapping scanning connection technique in a cylindrical coordinate system is an effective method for measuring a surface with a rotation axis, e.g., a 360-deg shape. However, there are great difficulties in measuring a more complex surface, such as those with concavities or composed of several discontinuous patches, because a complex surface generally cannot be explicitly represented in cylindrical coordinates. To solve these problems, a novel multiview connection method based on virtual cylinders for measurement of 3-D surfaces is proposed. In a Cartesian coordinate system, the virtual cylinders are determined by least-squares fitting to the local overlapping surface patches. The error movements are obtained from a linear equation system based on the virtual cylinders. The connection of adjacent views is then performed by coordinate transformation in 3-D space. Both computer simulation and experimental results are presented to verify the effectiveness of the suggested method.