Here we are in our last post about misunderstanding folks have when working with wording in Silhouette Studio. If you need to start back at the beginning, you can find Part 1 here. Today’s 5 myths cover some miscellaneous topics about working with a font and editing text.
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Text Myth #26
“You have to type all your text in Silhouette Studio”
Sometimes you have text you have already typed in another program. You can copy it from there and paste it right into Silhouette Studio. This was a HUGE help when I addressed my daughter’s wedding invitations, as I already had the addressed typed in a spreadsheet. (You can find a tutorial on how I did it here). Choosing the font and sizes before I pasted was also a time-saver. Refer back to Text Myth #21 for info on how to do that.
This is actually very easy.
- In your original program where you’ve got your text, select it and use the keyboard shortcut CTRL/CMD + c to copy it.
- Hop over to Silhouette Studio and click the Text Create icon.
- If you like, you can choose your font properties at this point. This is an optional step.
- Click on your drawing area to create a new text box, or click within an existing text box to add the words into it.
- Use the keyboard shortcut CTRL/CMD + v to paste the text.
That’s all there is to that one!
Text Myth #27
“You must weld a cursive font so the overlapping letters don’t cut into one another”
This is a BIG one many folks don’t know. We all know that we don’t want the overlapping areas of cursive letters to cut into one another. A vast majority of the time, you’ll hear folks tell you to weld the text. That does work, but there’s a HUGE drawback: your words are now image instead of text. That means you can no longer edit them at all.
There’s a MUCH better way. When you type text, you’re typing a grouping of letters. Each letter is a separate piece, even though certain letters themselves are in a compound path. (For an explanation of the difference between groupings and compound paths, see this post.) Even a single letter is “grouped” within the text box because it leaves room for something like “x2″ or changing a small “x” to a capital one.
Instead of welding, you can use Cut Edge in Simple Cut Mode or Auto-weld in Action by: Line, Fill or Layer . This tells the software you don’t want to cut areas where different pieces overlap one another. Because those letters are different pieces, the overlapping areas between the letters don’t cut.
And, before you ask, yes, the middles of letters such as “o” WILL cut, because they are compound paths. That inner circle isn’t a separate piece, it’s an edge. It’s like a donut – the middle is empty and the inner circle is an edge of the donut. I’ve got an extensive explanation in the post linked above, and I use some very concrete word pictures to help you understand it.
I’ve got an entire post called “Why I Never Weld Cursive Text (And Why You Shouldn’t Either)”. There are just a couple of times you do need to weld cursive letters, and I explain that in the post.
Text Myth #28
“You can fix holes in a broken font by welding”
Okay, so what’s a broken font. First off, you need to understand that most fonts are not made specifically for cutting. I know – shocker. The font designer often is not concerned with the paths of a font (vectors/cut commands) but with the look of it (rasters/printable info). You don’t notice it when the font is filled with a color, which is the way we use it in most programs, including word processors. But when you are looking at just the letter outlines as we do in Silhouette Studio, those areas show up. Personally, I don’t like to use these fonts even in other programs because if the size is large enough, you’ll often see the problems.
What happens is that they have paths that cross one another. In other words, lines that go across one another like an “X.” (Remember the original Ghostbusters movie? “Don’t cross the streams!” Anyone?) Those don’t work in Silhouette. It’s typically, but not always, a cursive fonts, particularly the currently popular handwritten-look fonts.
Here are some examples
(the one is blue is, unfortunately, from the Silhouette Design Store)
Here’s a close up of the “o.” Notice the crossing path lines.
I don’t know what the designer was thinking here. It’s likely one of those fonts where someone just did what’s essentially a bad trace of another font.
This one’s a disaster — holes everywhere!
How can you figure out if your font’s like this? Just fill it with color (preferably one with good contrast to the white of the Design area) and zoom in closely. ALWAYS work with filled shapes and words because that gives you a great deal of information quickly and easily. What you’re looking for is a hole in a letter where there shouldn’t be one. Designers often rely on the line thickness or crossing sections to cover the holes. But if the line thickness is 0.0, which is what we use in Silhouette, you’ll see them. An “o” is a good one to check, but check any letter that crosses or has loops.
Sometimes it’s tricky because the letters that have lines that meet perpendicularly like a “t.” That’s what we’ve got on the capital “J” on my example.
Letters that don’t fill or have a funny fill also indicate a font issue. (The one on the right is a sketch font from the Silhouette Design Store, but as I told you in Text Myth #15, that just means it’s a regular font with thin letter width. You might or might not notice the issue in sketching).
Many times you aren’t going to notice it until you cut and get something funny. You can use the info here for the troubleshooting.
HINT: If you see holes where letters overlap, you have made it a compound path instead of welding it.
Now that you know what the problem is, let’s talk about how to fix it so that you can use that font you love in Silhouette Studio. If you ask other Silhouette users about how to fix this, 90% of them don’t understand it and so will tell you to just weld. That doesn’t work. Here are our examples where I’ve welded and you can see the problem isn’t solved on that “o”.
A few may tell you to use Cut Edge or Auto-weld. That still isn’t going to help because you have the same issue: paths that cross one another. Here that word with Cut Edge set on it. It’s still going to cut a hole in the “o” where it shouldn’t.
Perhaps 1% understand that those “fixes” won’t work. Nothing you can do to those letters themselves will help. But don’t despair! You can still use those fonts if you have one you just love the look of.
The easiest solution is to just create a tiny offset and remove the offending portion. Before you do, you’ll need to make a copy of your text box, or make a sticky note with the font properties and info about which letter(s) is(are) problematic. You need to do that because what you create will be an image and not text, so if you need to make changes later you’ll need this.
Here are the steps:
- Select your text box.
- Open your offset panel.
- Create an offset with the distance of .001. That seems really small — you may not even see the line against your original — but it’s enough to create space around the hole. That’s because the offset creates the new shape by making lines on each side of your original lines. Here’s my offset piece. Notice also that this automatically welds the other letters, which is a bonus.
- Release the compound path.
- The hole is now a separate piece. I’ve colored it blue here. Delete that piece.
- Select all the remaining pieces and remake the compound path. Voila!
HINT: You also need to keep this concept in mind with SVG files you get from online sources. Graphic designers use line thickness, whereas most Silhouette Studio designs use a 0.0 line thickness. Same story – they are focused on the look, not the ability to cut the design. So although we could open them in Silhouette and cut them, they may not cut correctly or you may not be able to separate them into pieces as you expect.
Another option is to use point editing, but that’s slower and harder.
Your own designs
This is just an FYI. You’ll want to keep this idea of not crossing lines when you create your own shapes. The good news is that this is a workaround for any time you accidentally do.
When version 4.2 of the software is released, one of the upper levels has a feature to create your own fonts. You’ll want to remember this when you use that new toy.
Text Myth # 29
“You can’t print off words you type in Silhouette Studio”
When you create in Silhouette Studio, the default line thickness is 0.0. That’s for both text you type and shapes you draw.
Here’s the implication of that: there’s nothing to print. Think about it – it’s literally no thickness. The only reason we see the text or shapes at all is because Silhouette Studio turns them red for our convenience as we design. So if you print your design or words, you’ll just get a blank piece of paper.
So, let’s think logically again. How can we add something to make those lines print? That’s right – raise the line thickness. What happens there is that we’re adding some raster information instead of just the vectors. If you print now, you won’t get a blank page.
Another way to get the text to print is to fill it with a color, gradient or pattern. That again adds a raster (printable) component. You don’t even need to raise the line thickness at all when you do that.
You may notice that in the Line Style panel is an option called “Print Lines of Selected Shapes.” You can check that instead to print the lines. But it only prints a really faint gray line, and you’d need to end up raising the line thickness anyway. Save yourself some time by just doing 1 step.
Text Myth #30
“You can’t turn off spellchecking”
This is one may drive you batty if you need to do it and can’t figure it out. But yes, it is possible to turn off spellchecking – that pesky little blue line under the words. You can do this–
–if you want to do a quick snip of your screen.
–when you’re saving your design as a raster image with Business Edition. Yes – the spellcheck line saves with it, which is annoying.
–if you just don’t want to see it on the screen.
To turn off spellchecking—
- Open the Text Style panel.
- If you have Designer Edition and up, go to the third tab. If you have Basic, you’ll only have two tabs so it’s the second. It’s the one with the little check beside the “A.”
- Click on Advanced Options.
- Under Spellchecking, uncheck the box beside Automatic Spellchecking.
There we go! 30 different text myths busted. Have you learned something new? Are there any more questions you have about text? Be sure to let me know.
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