Importing files to Silhouette Studio Basic Edition (the free one!)

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  • Reading time:4 mins read
Importing files to Silhouette Studio Basic Edition (the free one!)

Silhouette Studio Basic Edition is the free version of the software you need to run your Silhouette plotter cutting machine (Cameo, Curio, etc). Within the Silhouette Studio software you can import files, design and print.

Most importantly, you send designs from within the software to your Silhouette machine for cutting.

If you’re just starting your Silhouette journey then chances are you’re using the free software for now, but you may have already found out that the Basic Version will only allow you to import certain file types.

When you purchase design files they’ll be sent to you in a few different file types. For example, the files that I sell here or on Etsy are available in DXF, SVG, PNG, JPG, and EPS.

If you’re importing files to Basic Edition then you’ll need either a DXF, PNG, or JPG file. The free version of Silhouette Studio will not open SVG or EPS files.

However, SVG and EPS might still be used if you wanted to make any changes to the design. You can open the SVG or EPS file in design software such as Adobe Illustrator, to change colours or remove sections of the design for example. Save this edited file as DXF or PNG to open in your Silhouette Studio.

I work with two file types – DXF and PNG – so that’s what I’ll be talking about today.

What is a DXF file?

DXF is a drawing file used for creating 2D and 3D designs. For our purposes, these files are a quick way to create the cut lines we need.

When you import a DXF file you’ll see the design on your screen in line form only. There’ll be no fill colours or design features other than the lines. These lines essentially become your cut lines.

DXF File when opened in Silhouette Studio

You can send a DXF to your machine for cutting without doing anything else. However, sometimes detailed designs may have overlapping lines or extra small cuts that aren’t necessary. If cutting different colours of vinyl/cardstock then you’ll need to make the usual changes needed to cut lines separately.

For HTV you’ll need to mirror the design, and of course you may also want to resize the design before cutting.

DXF file can be sent to your Silhouette machine with cut lines already in place

DXF files don’t always open in my Silhouette Studio Basic Edition. Sometimes it’s because the file is too detailed and causes my software to freeze, other times it simply opens as a blank file. I’ve learned to use PNG files as the backup option when this happens…

What is a PNG file

PNG stands for Portable Graphics Format and is ideal for digital art where high resolution, transparent background, and full colour is needed.

When you import a PNG file to Silhouette Studio, it will open without any cut lines in place.

PNG File when opened in Silhouette Studio Basic Edition

Once the PNG has opened, you can start to make changes as needed, albeit limited. You can’t change the colours, lines, or any other design features of a PNG file. But you can resize, mirror, and trace.

For print and cut applications, you’ll need to turn on the registration marks and adjust sizing to suit. Then trace for cut lines as needed.

For cutting, you’ll need to trace the PNG file. I use PNG files as my back-up option for times when the DXF version may not open. I use the trace tool to create cut lines, which I can then adjust as required.

Tracing a PNG file will give Cut Lines

If you’re not ready to invest in Silhouette’s paid software versions, then hopefully I’ve given you some information that helps you make the most of the Basic Edition.

Happy crafting!

Are you looking for new designs to download for crafting and creating? Take a look at the Sunflowers & Blue Jeans design store HERE.

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