I don’t know about you, but I always work with filled shapes. Unfilled shapes are harder to move around, you can’t easily see front to back order, and you don’t know if you have groupings or compound paths (which makes a HUGE difference when you use Modify tools). So the first thing I do when I put a design from my library onto my drawing area is fill it with color. And I often change the line color to black because the default red can alter my perception of the fill color. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to skip that step by choosing attributes like fill color and line color ahead of time?
You can! You can even choose a font and the font size when you create text. There are 2 different ways to do that. AND there’s a way to tell the software to always fill shapes as you draw them or use a black line color instead of red.
Note: This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click the link and purchase something, I may receive a small commission. This helps me to be able to keep my business going and provide more tutorials. All opinions expressed are my own and are not tied to any compensation.
Method #1: Select attributes before you draw or type
The first way is very easy. You may have even done it accidentally before without realizing it and then not been able to figure out what you did. This actually happened to a fellow instructor of mine at the All Things Silhouette Conference during a class. You make the choices before you begin drawing your shape or typing your text.
On a shape you draw
If you look in the Quick Access Toolbar, when nothing on your design area is selected, you’ll see this in the upper left:
That’s telling you the current attributes of any shape you create:
- Fill color is clear (none). That’s what that chain link fence looking rectangle is telling you.
- Line color is red, the default color.
- Line style is a solid line. Again, that’s the default.
- Line thickness is 0.0. Yep, you guessed it, that’s the default. Lines have no thickness, which is why they don’t print (when you send the design to your home printer) unless you do something. The Silhouette Studio software gives them a some visual weight so you can see them on your Design area, but that’s it. You have to raise the line thickness or fill the shape to print them. That adds raster (printable) information.
You can select all those things in that Quick Access Toolbar before you begin creating your shape. Here I’ve changed all of those and drawn a rounded rectangle:
It works in a similar way on text, but with more options. Once I click the Text Create icon in the left-side icon bar, my Quick Access Toolbar shows some extra attributes you can assign to words — font name and size, bold/italic/underline (if available) and justification.
I choose those before I start — so between the time I click on the Text Create icon and when I start typing. Notice that the same QAT options as for shapes are still available as well.
To know for this method
–When you use this method, the attributes stay in place until you do one of the following:
- Close the file. When you open it again, you’re back to the defaults.
- Go to a different file or start a new one. The defaults pop back in.
- Restart the software.
So if you don’t want those attributes any longer as you’re working in your file and adding new shapes or words, change the settings back to the defaults or do one of those things listed above.
–You can also select attributes in the Fill, Line Style and Text Style panels. Those panels give you extra options you won’t see in the QAT, such as filling with pattern, adjusting transparency, changing character spacing, etc.
A real life application
Let’s talk about one time this really helped me on a project. I used my Silhouette machines to address all the invitations for my daughter’s wedding with pens in the pen holder. You can see the full tutorial on that here.
We had all the names typed already in a spreadsheet. I was able to save time by using my keyboard shortcuts CTRL+c to copy and CTRL+v to paste. Since we used a mix of several fonts, I was also able to save time by selecting the font before I pasted. When you’re addressing 150 invitations, that’s a HUGE help!
Method #2: Change default attributes in your Preferences
Let’s say that, like me, you want to always work with filled objects so you don’t want to have to choose a fill when you create new shapes or text. Or you would prefer for the line color to default black instead of the red you usually see. You can do that with a setting in your Preferences.
To get to your Preferences, click the gear in the lower right corner of the software. On a Windows computer, you can also use the drop down menu Edit>Preferences. On a Mac, it’s in the drop down menu Silhouette Studio>Preferences.
The second tab is called Defaults and the 3rd option down in the list is Default Fill Style. That’s where you make these choices.
- The standard default is Outline Only with a red line color. You can change it there to black.
- You can change the style to Solid Fill instead if you like. That means when you draw a new shape, it’s filled with color instead of being empty.
Make your choices, then select OK at the bottom right of the panel to close it and apply the preference setting.
To know for this method
–For solid fill, it’s going to be blue. There’s no other choice. So your options are unfilled or filled with blue.
–Your choices for a default line color are just black and red. There’s no place to select a color other than those.
–Interestingly enough, when you choose the Solid fill preference, the line color defaults to black. And you can’t change that in the Preferences. You’ll notice that the option to choose a red or black line color is no longer available.
–This means that your options are:
- unfilled with a red outline
- unfilled with a black outline
- filled with blue with a black outline
–If you have the Solid fill set as your preference, then use Method #1 above to change to a different color or no color, when you draw a new shape it will have that new color. It’s the same with the line color. And, as in Method #1, it stays that way until you do one of the things I discussed above.