Today I’m continuing my series on things Silhouette users misunderstand about text in Silhouette Studio. If you didn’t catch Part 1, you can find it here. In this lesson, we’re going to go over some information about fonts: where to get them, what kind to use, how to install them.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click the link and purchase something, I may receive a small commission. You pay the same price. This helps me to be able to keep my business going and provide more tutorials.
Text Myth #6
“You can use only fonts from the Silhouette Design Store”
You can use ANY TrueType (TTF) or OpenType (OTF) font in Silhouette Studio. As long as it’s installed on your computer, you can use it. You do have to know that not all fonts are made well, and not all are good choices for cutting or sketching. The ones in the Silhouette Design Store are reliable (for the most part).
TTF is an older format; OTF is newer. The biggest difference is that OTF fonts utilize glyphs better (we’ll talk about those more in the next lesson). They also handle curves differently so have fewer points in your design and smaller file sizes, which is great. If you have a choice, opt for the OTF. But TTF fonts work well also, even with glyphs.
Color fonts are also on their way in version 4.2 (coming out soon). For a preview on those, see this post.
I do HIGHLY recommend you keep your virus protection in place as you download and install fonts. Some websites that offer fonts are actually just trying to suck you in in order to plant a virus. Here are a few sites I use routinely and trust (I’m a font junkie with over 1100 fonts on my computer – don’t judge):
- Font Squirrel
- 1001 Free Fonts
- Deal Jumbo
- The Hungry JPEG
- Creative Market
- Font Bundles
Some of these sites have personal use only fonts, some have commercial licenses available, some have both. You need a commercial font if you are going to sell any item you make using the font, so make sure you know what you’re getting. You’ll even find free commercial fonts on some of these sites. That’s a great deal, because commercial fonts can get expensive. And some have graphic designs as well.
Text Myth #7
“You must install fonts in the Silhouette Studio software itself in order to use them in the program”
Let’s say on a website you find a font you like that you want to use in Silhouette Studio. You download it, then can’t figure out how to install it in the Silhouette software. That’s the actual issue – you don’t. (I’m not talking about fonts you get in the Silhouette Design Store. We’ll get to those in the Text Myth #9).
First, you need to understand that downloading and installing a font are 2 different things.
…is the process of transferring the data (the font file) from a website to your computer over the internet. Your computer puts it into a folder called Downloads, but nothing else happens until you install it.
..is the process of putting that data into the inner workings of your computer so that software programs can use it. You install a font from an external source on your computer itself, not in the Silhouette software.
Because fonts are large files they are often zipped, which is a way of compressing them so they get from the font site to you more quickly and using less data via your internet connection. Also, because they are downloaded from the internet, your computer has security measures in place to prevent any unauthorized program installing on its own. Therefore, the fonts do not automatically install once downloaded. Sometimes you need to unzip them before installing, but newer computer operating systems do this automatically for you.
Think of it like this. Downloading is bringing your filled grocery bags from the store to your home. Installing is putting them away in the fridge and pantry.
The way you install a font varies for different types of computers. Many of the font sites give you directions. I’m going to include some info here, but you can also just do a Google search for “How to install fonts on a <Windows or Mac> computer.” You’ll find plenty of info.
- Once you download the font, you may see the download in a folder at the bottom, top or side of your internet browser, or you may have to go looking for it. It depends on your operating system, your computer set-up and which browser you are using. You can look in the downloads folder in your computer structure. Or, type CTRL+J on your web browser to show a list of your downloads.
- When you find it, open the downloaded folder and double-click on the font to begin the install. Look for the extension .ttf or. otf.
- A font management window will open. Select the Install option in the upper-left of the window.
- The Install button turns gray, indicating a successful font installation.
Depending on your computer setup and possibly which internet browser you are using, the download may show in the downloads section of your browser OR in the default download folder on your computer. You should be able to open the downloads folder with the keyboard shortcut Option+CMD+L. Or, because it’s a commonly used folder, click the Go menu in the Finder menu bar to a shortcut to open the downloads folder. (Sorry I don’t have pics for this – I’m a Windows user).
- Once you’ve found the download in the folder, double-click on it to install it.
- A font management window will open. Select the Install option in the lower-right of the window.
- The font management window will close, indicating that the font has been installed.
Text Myth #8
“You’ll see the font in your Text Style panel as soon as you install it”
Let’s say you’ve figured out how to install a font you got from somewhere other than the Silhouette Design Store, but you still don’t see the font in your Text Style panel.
Silhouette Studio loads fonts as you open the program. Here’s the implication of that: if you have the software open, then install a new font you got from a font website, you won’t see it immediately in Silhouette. You have to close and reopen the software so that that new font can be loaded into the Text Style panel.
Text Myth #9
“If you bought a font in the Silhouette Design Store, it automatically installs”
Okay, this one is tricky because it depends on several factors.
–In the current version of the software (because it uses the Cloud), the fonts automatically download and install when you are signed in in the library and it syncs to your account. Going back to our grocery analogy, this is like having your child put away the food so you don’t have to.
You have to be signed in in your library in order for this to happen, which is not the same as being signed in to your account in the SDS. In other words, you can click on the Store tab in the software, sign in to your account and purchase a font. But if you are NOT signed in in the library at that time, your library isn’t syncing to your account. The software doesn’t know that you just bought that font, even though you accessed the SDS through the software. Once you sign in in your library and sync, the fonts downloads and installs automatically.
When the font has installed within the software and then you close the current software session, you’ll get a prompt telling you Silhouette Studio is about to install your font. Click “Continue” and also give permission if your computer asks for it. That installs it on your computer itself (we’ll talk about that in Text Myth #10). It also creates the font preview in the Text Style panel.
–In earlier versions of the software (specifically those without the Cloud), the fonts do NOT automatically install right when you download them. You have to close and re-open the software, giving permissions as needed as described in the previous section. Or, you may see them in your library and be able to install them from there with a right click>Install.
The SDS is carrying 2 different types of fonts these days — Craft (regular) fonts and Premium fonts. The in the installation for the latter has changed very recently. Here’s how they define those and how the installation depends on the type and your software version.
Craft (regular) fonts
Craft Fonts are single-style fonts that sync to your Silhouette library. They are ideal for cutting projects.
This is the standard type of font that Silhouette America has always sold. It’s a regular font with 1 of each letter. Although the SDS doesn’t specifically say so, it appears that all these have a commercial license option available. These are the type that install as previously described, depending on your version.
Sketch fonts are a type of Craft font. We’ll talk more about those later, but they are ones you use to draw with sketch pens, not cut out. These should have the word “Sketch” in the font title.
Premium Fonts include extra glyphs and sometimes come in sets of complementary fonts or families, which are multiple versions of the same font. All our Premium Fonts include the option of a commercial license.
Because of the popularity of fancy fonts these days, the SDS now offers what they call Premium fonts that have extras beyond just 1 option for each letter. Sometimes it’s a font set — several coordinating fonts for one price. We’re going to talk more about what glyphs are and how to use them in our next lesson. The main thing you need to know in this lesson is that you may have to install them differently than the Craft/regular fonts.
Beginning in version 4.1.468, the installation is automatic (the same as with regular fonts), so just read the previous section about how that works.
If you are running a version lower than 4.1.468, you will need to install the font outside of Silhouette Studio. Here’s what you’ll do:
- Close the Silhouette Studio software.
- Using a web browser, go to the SDS.
- Sign in.
- Go to Account Settings/Tools and select My Download History.
- Select the order containing the font.
- Check the Download box for all fonts you would like to download.
- Select the Download Now button.
- A zipped folder named after the Design Store Order Number is downloaded to your default download location. You’ll follow the instructions I gave you in Text Myth #7 to install the font.
Premium fonts that require more work
Some premium fonts are even more high maintenance. They seem to install, but then you don’t see all the options. There are 2 ways premium fonts work.
- They install as separate fonts in your font list. These are easy and you don’t have to mess with them.
- Sometimes a premium font will have options in the drop down menu beside the Bold/Italic/Underline section. These are the tricky ones, as you have to install each variety separately OUTSIDE of Silhouette Studio. I wrote a whole post on that here.
Craft font, Premium font or Letter Set?
If you are looking at fonts in the SDS, you can choose to look at only Craft or Premium fonts. But if you are just browsing, you might not know how to figure it out. Here are some hints:
- Look at the design preview. Craft fonts will show their characters. Premium fonts show only their name, typically with a decorative background square.
- The price is typically higher for Premium fonts.
- On the font detail page, when you click on GLYPHS to preview the characters, you’ll typically see more of them.
When you are purchasing a font in the SDS, make sure it’s actually a font. Sometimes it’s a set of letters, not a font. (This should really be Text Myth #9b) Those are designs and not fonts, so they don’t have special properties. Instead of typing, you have to add each one separately. Also, if you see only capital letters in the design preview page, it doesn’t include lowercase letters.
Fonts will say specifically that they are fonts. They will also have an area where you can type something to get a preview of how the letters look.
Letter sets will say they are Regular Cut and will not have that option to preview some text.
Text Myth #10
“Fonts you buy in the Silhouette Design Store you can only use in Silhouette Studio”
As I discussed previously, fonts are installed on your computer itself. Any fonts you buy in the SDS install on your computer just as if you had gotten them from another source (as long as you give that permission when the software closes). That means if you open your word processing program, you’ll see them there.
The SDS does give this caveat.
While this font may work in other software programs, it can only be guaranteed to work in Silhouette Studio.
I haven’t found many that don’t work in my other programs. Usually they are sketch fonts. Here’s are 2 examples–
Those fonts actually look just the same in Silhouette, but you just don’t notice it unless you zoom in really far. And if you are drawing them with a pen, it looks fine.
Just remember that many programs load fonts as you open the program. So, if it’s open when you install the font you may need to restart it. Once in a while I’ve heard of someone who had to restart their computer to see it, but that’s atypical.
Our next 5 myths will also cover information about fonts, including font organization and special types of fonts.
Groceries? What a great analogy… but your’e making me hungry! ;D
Cindy Eckhoff says
Somehow, my analogies always seem to involve food. Lol!