In this lesson we are going to learn about each of the icons in the software. (To start with Lesson 1 of the Software Basics series, go here.)
An icon is a little picture that, when you click on it, enables a tool or opens a panel on the right side of the software. Don’t worry about trying to remember them all. This is just an overview to get you familiar with what features are available and where their icons are. By the end of the lesson, I want you to think, “Now I see how many amazing things I can do in this software. I can find a way to line things up together,” not, “I’m never going to remember all this!”
True confession time: I used the software for several years without ever clicking every icon or reading the manual. If I had taken the time to do that, then I would have known everything the software can do and would have saved myself a great deal of time, money and frustration. I literally spent HOURS making offsets myself with point editing which I could have done in one second using the Offset feature. I want to make sure that right when you start out you know what’s possible. If you start getting overwhelmed with information, take a break or just skim. You can bookmark this page for future reference. In future lessons, we will go over how to use each feature.
Words in blue below indicate a link to go directly to a post about that feature. I will be adding more links to this page over time.
A few things to know
–Some of the icons are similar to those you may have seen in other programs.
–Some panels the icons open contain multiple tabs, which means related features are combined within a single panel. For example, you can set the line color and line style within the same panel. This is a change from earlier versions of the software. I’ve indicated those in this lesson.
–In most cases, hovering over an icon causes a short description of its usage to pop up.
–Sometimes an icon is grayed out, which means you cannot currently perform the action. For example, you can’t group images if you have only one selected.
–There are often several ways to perform an action in Silhouette Studio. Once you learn them all, you can decide if you prefer using an icon, drop down menu, right click menu or keyboard shortcut. (Don’t worry — I’ll teach you about each of those as you go through the lessons).
–Some icons look very similar, and some are used more than once in different areas. So look closely.
–The icons change sometimes in software updates. I’ll try to keep this lesson up-to-date, but just be aware.
–Not every icon is available in every level of the software.
If there is no indication in the lists below, then it is available in all levels of the software.
A * following the name of the icon indicates the feature is in Designer Edition and above.
Currently, there are no extras icons added in Designer Plus Edition. You access the extra features within panels already present in lower levels of the software. I’ve indicated those features with a †.
A ^ following the name of the icon indicates the feature is in Business Edition.
Okay, here we go…
Upper left icon bar
This is a set of icons for very general navigation. Notice that the icons are separated into groups with vertical white lines. Each group contains features that are related to one another.
The first group is for opening, saving and printing projects
1. New Drawing –– creates a new file on your drawing area. You can have multiple projects open at the same time.
2. Open — to open a project you have previously created and saved to your computer’s hard drive.
3. Save — to save the current project. The default location for saving can be either your computer hard drive or the software library, which you can make the choice for in Preferences.
4. Send to Printer — to send your current project to your home printer.
The second group is for common editing options
5. Cut — to remove the selected image(s). When you use this icon, you can paste the image(s) to another location within the software. This option is currently grayed out, meaning there is no shape selected so there is nothing to cut.
6. Copy — to copy the selected image(s).
7. Paste — to paste onto the drawing area an image(s) that had previously been copied, either within the software or from the computer’s clipboard.
The third group has two of the BEST icons in the software!
8. Undo — goes backward one step to undo any action. You can press this an infinite number of times until the file is closed. (Ya, I know — we all wish we had one of these for life sometimes).
9. Redo — to reinstate an action you used the Undo button on. Again, you can use this as many times as you want until the file is closed.
The fourth group is for selecting several shapes at once
10. Select All — to select all images on the drawing area.
11. Deselect All — to unselect all images on the drawing area.
12. Select by Color — to select images based on line or fill color.
The fifth group is for changing how much or what portion of the drawing area you see
13. Zoom in — moves you in closer on the drawing area.
14. Zoom out — moves the view out so that you see more of the design area.
15. Drag over a shape to zoom — to select a specific section of the drawing area to enlarge and center on.
16. Zoom in and out using mouse — uses the scroll wheel on your mouse to zoom in and out on the drawing area.
17. Pan using mouse — to grab the mat and move it around on your drawing area. It’s like being able to physically move your mat and paper around on your table.
18. Fit to window — re-centers the view so that the entire defined page size is shown and centered on the drawing area.
There is a second row of icons in the upper left, but we will cover those later.
Left side icon bar
This set contains icons for selecting the mode you are in, creating shapes and text, and simple image editing.
19. Select — to choose which image(s) or text you are going to work with.
20. Edit Points — to go into Point Editing mode, which allows you to adjust an image by manipulating its points.
21. Line Tool — to draw 4 types of lines/line segment shapes. Notice the arrow in the lower right corner. Clicking and dragging on the arrow allows you to choose the option. The icon will changed based on which type you choose.
–a straight line.
–a polygon with straight line segments.
–a polygon with curved line segments.
22. Draw a Shape — to draw a variety of preset shape types. This works in the same way as the Line Tool with options.
–a rounded rectangle/square
–an ellipse (oval/circle)
–a regular polygon, which is a shape with a set number of equal sides and angles. You can adjust the number of sides.
23. Draw Freehand — to draw a freeform line or shape.
–to draw completely freeform.
–to draw a shape that the software automatically smoothes during the process.
24. Text — to type cuttable text onto your drawing area.
25. Draw a Note — to create a sticky note to save non-cut information with the file.
26. Eraser Tool — to erase a portion of the image.
27. Knife Tool — to slice off a portion of a design which you can then move or delete.
NOTE: I do not recommend using the eraser or knife when something else will do as they can slow down the software a great deal.
28. Transfer Properties Tool* — to capture the fill and line color and their properties (such as transparency, line style, etc.) of one shape and copy them to another shape. If used with text, the font and its properties transfer also.
Right side icon bar
This set contains icons for opening panels. Within panels, you customize your page, shapes and text, or trace a raster image. Remember also that many panels have multiple tabs within them for related features. This is where you do the most work in the software. We will discuss how panels work and what is in each of them later.
29. Page Setup Panel — to set up your design page settings.
Page tab — to choose the size of the material you will be using, rotate the mat on the drawing area, select which size cutting mat is going to be used or if you are cutting without a mat, make the material more transparent so you can see the mat lines, and set the option to view the print border and/or cut border.
Grid tab — to turn on and set spacing for the grid to show in the mat area, set or turn off the option to snap to grid or guides*, turn on or off the ruler* and crosshairs*.
Registration Marks tab — to turn on and set up the marks used for print and cut projects. You do NOT use these on a regular cut or sketch.
30. PixScan panel — to open a PixScan image, scan from within the software, or perform PixScan calibration.
Photo tab — to open a PixScan photo taken with your camera.
Scanner tab — to scan the PixScan mat to import the image.
31. Fill Panel — to fill an image or text.
Fill Color tab — to fill an image with a solid color.
Fill Gradient tab — to fill with a set of colors in an ombre effect.
Fill Pattern tab — to fill with a printable patterns.
32. Line Style Panel — for choosing the attributes of the lines of your image.
Line Style tab — to make the lines of the image(s) a solid or dotted line, alter the line width, and on a thick line select the look of the corners and ends.
Line Color tab — to select the color of the lines of an image.
33. Trace Panel — to create cut lines based on an imported photo or clip art image.
Trace tab — to perform a regular trace.
Trace by Color tab* — to isolate and trace colors of the raster image.
Magnet Trace tab* — to utilize a magnetic tool during the trace. You draw around an area with our mouse and the drawing tool clings to an image/area/color. You then trace and the background is removed.
34. Image Effects Panel — to edit the colors and lighting of a fill pattern or photo.
Gray Shade tab — to alter the amount of gray in the image, sliding gradually toward a full grayscale image.
Colorize tab — to cycle through a variety of hues for the image.
Contrast, Brightness, Saturation tab — to adjust the amount of light in the image.
Gamma tab — to intensify or soften the amount of color in the image.
Invert tab — to invert the colors of an image, creating the effect of a negative.
Sepia tab — to add a brownish tinge to the image.
Tint tab — to control the amount of red, green or blue in the colors of the image.
Shadow tab* — to create a shadow of the selected shape which can be cut and/or printed.
35. Text Style panel — to choose attributes for your text.
Text Style tab — to choose your font and set its size, alignment, character spacing and line spacing.
Glyphs tab* — to access fancy letters and special characters on fonts directly in the software (rather than using a character map).
Spelling tab — to work with spellcheck.
36. Transform panel — for manipulating the alignment, size, rotation, location and tilt of images.
Align tab — to align a shape to the top, bottom, left, right or center of the page, or to align several shapes to one another using the same options or space them evenly apart.
Scale tab — to resize the selected shape(s) by a specific percentage or to a specific size.
Rotate tab — to twist the selected image(s) by or to a specific angle.
Move tab — to move the selected image(s) by a specific amount or to a specific location.
Shear tab* — to tilt (skew) the shape(s) left, right, up or down.
37. Replicate panel — to make copies or mirrored copies of images.
Replicate tab — to make duplicate or mirrored images in singles or sets above, below or to the side of the original shape.
Number of copies tab – to set the number, position or rotation of the copies.
Object on path tab – to take a shape and put duplicates of it around the edge of another shape.
38. Modify panel — to combine images by welding, create a new shape based on overlapping areas of two or more shapes, separate a thick line from a shape, or make or release compound paths.
39. Offset panel — to create an identical shape slightly inside or outside the selected shape(s) like a mat.
40. Popup panel — to create pop-up elements on a shape.
41. Stipple panel (Curio or Cameo 3) — to turn a regular image into an image made of small dots to draw with a pen. Although a Curio or Cameo 3 is required to stipple, you can (at this time) use fills created in this panel on other machines for creating lines to print, cut or sketch.
Stipple tab — to create a stipple based on a regular cut image.
Stipple Trace tab — to create a stipple based on a raster image.
42. Emboss panel (Curio only) — to choose settings for creating textured lines with the embossing tool. Although a Curio is required to emboss, you can (at this time) use the fills created in this panel on other machines for creating lines to print, cut or sketch.
Emboss/Deboss tab – to create patterns for a regular emboss/deboss.
Score & Emboss tab – to choose settings for the scoring portion of a Score and Emboss project.
Print & Emboss tab – to set up a project where you print the project to your home printer and then emboss that page.
43. Design Page Nesting panel* — to fit the shapes within the smallest area possible on your page in order to minimize waste.
44. Sketch panel* — to turn shapes into a sketch images with customizable line and fill styles.
Sketch tab — to set up a simple edge or fill sketch pattern.
Advanced Sketch tab — to select more specialized edge and fill sketching.
45. Rhinestone panel* — to turn a shape into a rhinestone image(s).
Standard Rhinestones tab – to select the type of fill, rhinestone size and spacing, place individual rhinestones and see a count of the rhinestones in the shape.
Advanced Rhinestones tab† – to use a variety of colored raster images of rhinestones for a more realistic preview and add custom rhinestone shapes.
46. Layers Panel* — to create several sheets/mats that can be kept within the same file/project.
47. Warp Panel*/† — to twist the shape in a variety of directions.
Basic Warp tab* — to warp using a grid with multiple handles.
Conical Warp tab† — to warp specifically for a conical shape such as a cup.
48. Weed Settings Panel^ — to automatically add lines in the spaces between designs to make it easier to weed (remove background pieces), usually on vinyl or heat transfer vinyl.
49. Media Layout Setup panel^ — In software level, you can create projects larger than your mat. This feature allows you to to change the way pieces are laid out on the material you plan to use without changing the original design. You can split the screen with normal Design View and Media Layout View. The latter shows how the pieces will be placed on your defined media size.
Settings tab — to set a media size, borders and rotation that may be different from your Design Page Settings. The mat choice will be the same.
Copy tab — to cut multiple copies of the same design in the same job. This is also called Matrix Copy.
Nesting tab — like the Nesting feature in Designer Edition (#43 above), but with more options.
Tiling tab— to take a large design and break it apart into smaller sections that you can then cut on the size of material that you have. You can then put together to make the full size of the project. It has options to set up an overlap amount for the pieces.
Quick Access toolbar
This is the set of icons just below the upper left icon bar. What shows in this area is determined by whether or not an image/text is selected, what type of design is selected and by what mode you are in.
The Quick Access Toolbar allows you to quickly perform the most common tasks without having to even open a panel. Some of the icons are the same as you see in the right side icon bar. There are fewer options for some features than in a panel. For example, you can fill a shape with generic colors in the Quick Access Toolbar. To choose a gradient or pattern, to create a custom color, to set transparency, etc., you have to open the Fill panel.
You can also see the properties of selected shapes (or text) or which one will be used as you create a new shape or text box. For example, you can choose a font and a font size before you type your words. If you want to see what font you used for a text box, select the text box and look in the Quick Access Toolbar.
An arrow at the side of a tool the the Quick Access Toolbar indicates you can click on the arrow to open options. For example, if you click on the arrow beside Fill color, a palette with preset colors opens.
Here are the various Quick Access Toolbars you’ll see:
General shape properties
This portion of the Quick Access Toolbar is always there when you are in Selection (normal) mode. It’s all that shows when you do not have anything selected.
50. Fill Color — current color and open preset colors.
51. Line Color — current color and open preset colors.
52. Line Style — current style and choose a new style (solid or perforated) for the line of a shape.
53. Line Thickness— for the thickness of a line of an image.
Point Editing options
These are in the Quick Access Toolbar instead of the General Shape Properties when you are in Point Edit mode (as opposed to Selection mode).
54. Delete Point — to delete a selected point on the shape.
55. Break Path — to make a break in the line at the selected point.
56. Corner— tells you that the selected point is a corner. You can also click this to change it into a corner point.
57. Smooth — tells you that the selected point is a smooth point or to change it into a smooth point.
58. Make Flat — to change a curved line segment into a flat one.
59. Make Curve — to change a flat line segment into a curved one.
60. Simplify— to remove excess points and simplify an image to make it less complex.
61. Convert to Path — to change a shape with special properties (rounded rectangle, arc, regular polygon) or text to a regular image in order to edit its points.
These are added to the Quick Access Toolbar when in Text Creation mode or when you select an existing text.
62. Font — for the name of the font.
63. Font Size — for the size of the font.
64. Bold — for bold text.
65. Italics — for italicizing words.
66. Underline — for underlining the text.
67. Justification — for aligning each line of text relative to the text box.
Single Shape manipulation options
These are present when at least one shape is selected.
There are several sets within this area.
Scale — indicated by the scale icon (68) at the beginning of the set. Click the icon to expand the menu to change the size of the shape by set proportional amounts.
69. Width — for the side to side size of the shape.
70. Height — for the top to bottom size of the shape.
71. Lock Aspect Ratio — for determining if changing either the width or the height of a shape also changes the other proportionally.
Move — indicated by the move icon (72) at the beginning of the set. Click that to expand the menu to move the shape by a specific distance left, right, up or down.
73. X-axis point — to see or set the location of the shape left to right on the page.
74. Y-axis point — to see or set the location of the shape on the page top to bottom.
75. Point of Location definition — to define what part of the shape is at or you want at the location you input. For example, the blue box on the grid shows the upper left corner of the bounding box of the shape is at 6.180″ in from the left of the page and 1.313″ down from the top. Click on any square in the grid to choose that as the point of location.
Alignment — since only 1 object is selected, this aligns the object relative to the page. Click on the icon (76) to expand the men
77. Center to page — to line up the shape horizontally and vertically on the page with 1 click.
Between this set and the next are two options that are grayed out when only one shape is selected, so it doesn’t make sense for them to be present or to discuss here. We will cover these in the next section.
Order — to alter the level (order) of the selected shape.
78. Bring to Front — brings the selected image(s) to the front (top). In this picture, notice how the white square is in front of the gray squares.
79. Send to Back — sends the selected image(s) to the back (bottom). In this picture, the white square is behind the gray squares.
80. Bring Forward — brings the selected image(s) in front of the one just ahead of it.
81. Send Backward — sends the selected image(s) behind the one just below it.
Common image manipulations
82. Weld — permanently welds any images that are currently selected (erases overlapping lines).
83. Offset — to create a quick frame around the selected shape(s). For example, if you click this when you have a square selected, a slightly larger square will be created outside the original square. The offset is a predetermined amount and the offset has rounded corners. To create internal offsets, adjust the amount of the offsets or do sharp corners instead, we will use a different icon.
Common image editing
84. Duplicate — makes a copy of the selected image(s). The copies are placed in line with the image but slightly to the right.
85. Delete — removes the selected image(s) permanently. With Cut (#5 above), you can paste the image back onto the page or onto a new page. With Delete, you cannot.
Multiple shape manipulation options
This is very similar to the Single Shape Manipulation options, so I’ll just point out where they differ.
Group/Ungroup (this is the set we skipped earlier between Alignment and Order)
86. Group Selected Shapes — to group all shapes currently selected shapes. They remain as independent shapes but you can move and resize them together.
87. Ungroup Selected Shapes — to ungroup a set of images. This is an example of an option being grayed out because it is not currently possible to perform the action.
When multiple object are selected, these choices align the objects to one another rather than relative to the page. There’s an extra option (88) called Centralize. That aligns the selected shapes both horizontally and vertically with 1 click.
These options are active when the eraser tool is in use. If an option is highlighted, that’s the current choice.
89. Solid — as the parts of the shape are erased, new lines form at the edge of where you erase. This results in a closed shape.
90. Outline — as you erase empty areas are left, resulting in an open shape.
91. Square Eraser — to erase with a square-shaped eraser.
92. Round Eraser — to erase with a circular eraser.
93. Sizing — to adjust the size of the eraser by moving the slider left and right, inputting a specific amount or clicking the up/down arrows.
You will see these option when you are using the knife. Highlighting indicates the current option.
94. Solid — after the cut, you end with solid shapes on either side of the cut.
95. Outline — after the cut, you have open shapes on either side of where you cut.
96. Knife Type — shows you what type of knife is currently in use.
97. Knife Type selection — to select the various types of knife shapes. With Basic Edition, you can choose to cut in a straight line, a polyshape (straight lines), a curved shape, or a more freehand shape. In Designer Edition and above, you have more shapes such as sawtooth, wave, etc.
98. Auto Apply — to choose if you want the cut to happen as soon as you finish moving the knife, or to wait until you select to so that you have time to alter the points on the shape of the cut.
99. Apply — if you have Auto Apply off, you click Apply once you are ready to make the knife perform the cut.
Lower right icon bar
This has two icons for selecting overall options for your software.
100. Open Preferences — to set choices such as language, unit of measurement, etc.
101. Change Theme — to toggle through preset color schemes for the software background.
WHEW — that’s ALOT!
Remember — you don’t need to memorize all these at the outset. You just want to be aware of all the things the software can do. And don’t forget to bookmark this page so you can refer back to it as needed and use it to navigate to posts with details on each feature.
When you’re ready, go on to Lesson 3: Setting Up a New Project.
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