We’ve learned LOTS already about using the Send area of Silhouette Studio version 4. (To start with lesson #1 in this series, go here.) Today will blow you mind if you’ve never known that you can create a custom material setting. A custom setting is one you create and name. You can use any combination of cut settings you want and give the custom setting a unique name. The software saves those settings in the material types at the bottom under “User Defined.” This is A-MAZING because if you are cutting a material and have found the perfect settings, then you can save those settings for future use.
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Where to start
There are 3 ways to open the Advanced Material Panel, which is where you create a custom setting–
–Adjust a default cut setting, then click “Save As” at right edge of the cut settings area.
–Click on “Add New Material Type” at the bottom of the materials list.
–Click the 3 dots at the end of the suggested cut settings line…
…and click on “Save As” or on the + sign.
I recommend starting by choosing a material type with settings close to what you want to use in your custom setting. That means you have less adjusting to do. As we discussed in our last lesson, you can’t permanently change a default setting. If you alter a default setting, then you save those changes by making a custom setting.
How select and save the settings
The next step will be choosing a name and the cut settings for your custom material. Then you’ll save it.
Name the material
Look at the bottom of the list. You’ll see “New Material” there. That’s the one you’re creating. Right click on it, select “Rename New Material” and then type the name you want to give this custom setting.
The material will initially be at the bottom of the list, but later will be in the alpha order. In version 3 you had the ability to change the order of the materials by clicking and dragging. That option is not currently available. Since they are in alpha order, you can get them into the order you want by naming them strategically.
In this right click menu you can also click…
…”Add Material” to start another one.
…”Delete <material name>” to remove a custom setting.
…”Duplicate <material name>” to create a new material with the settings of this material. This keeps you from having to start from scratch each time.
…Export or Import materials. This is a way to save your custom cut settings for 2 reasons: to back them up and to transfer them to a different computer. The settings are saved as a .csv file.
Make selections for all your settings
These are all fairly self-explanatory — just change the numbers to what you want — except for the very top. You can see in my pic a ratchet blade icon and the word “Cut” at the upper left. Next to that is a + sign. This is where you can add other actions. Click the + sign to see the list and choose an action. The choices are Cut, Score, Sketch, Emboss, Stipple or Etch. We discussed all these actions in our last lesson.
You can add more than one action for the material. For example, if you are creating a custom cardstock setting and you know that sometimes you want to cut, sometimes score, select both actions. You can delete an action by highlighting it and choosing “Remove Action.”
The rest of the settings choices will depend on what action you choose. For example, if you choose the action Sketch, your tool choices are going to be pens and not blades.
Make your selections for blade number (if applicable), speed, forces, number of passes, line segment overcut (with starting and ending extensions), track enhancing, and platforms (Curio only). If you need more info on what these are, see this post and this one. Or check out my Cut Doctor series.
Save the custom setting
Click the X at the top right of the panel to save the setting and go back to your normal Send area.
How to edit a custom setting
You can edit a custom setting after you’ve created it either in the same software session or a later one. You can just change any of the numbers, and then look for the option to save it right then. You’ll see it by the settings…
…in the Advanced Material Panel (the same one as where you set up the settings)…
…or wait until you close the software. Just as with the normal default material settings, if you edit a custom setting the software will prompt you to decide if you want to save the changes. In other words, if any time you change a material setting — default or custom — then the software will help you decide if you want to save the changes or not. The difference is that if you change a default setting, you can only save it with a new name as a custom setting; if you change a custom setting, then it just saves as is.
How to delete a custom setting
You can remove a custom setting from your materials list in 1 of 3 ways–
–Click the down arrow to open the list of materials. Hover over the custom setting and the option to delete will show at the right.
–Select it in the list of materials and click the 3 dots at the end of the lines of settings to open the Advanced Material Panel. Make sure it’s the one highlighted, then click the – sign at the bottom right.
–As described above, right click on the name of the material and choose “Delete <material name>” in the menu.
I hope I’ve made your Silhouette life easier by showing you how to create a custom setting for your materials. Next time, I’ll show you more ways to make it easier by teaching you how to cut by line color, fill color or layer. This includes ways to use many different settings in a single project, so stay tuned!
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