In Silhouette Studio, as in many other programs, there’s often multiple ways to do the same thing. We each have a tendency to find a favorite way — keyboard shortcuts, drop down menus, right click menus, tool icons. I tend to use the first and last of those the most and have gotten to the point where they are automatic. I like keyboard shortcuts because I don’t have to move my hands off the keyboard to go over to my mouse, or open a panel to do something quickly.
Today I want to share with you my Top 10 Keyboard Shortcuts that every Silhouette user should know. Some you probably know, and some will most likely surprise you.
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Abbreviations used in Keyboard Shortcuts
Before we get to the shortcuts specific to Silhouette, let me give you a mini-lesson in the common abbreviations for them. You can skip this section if you already know these, but I just wanted to provide them for computer newbies. Keyboard shortcuts, also called hot keys, are a way of pressing just one or more keys on your computer keyboard to perform a specific action. It’s a quick way to do something. Some are common across all software programs and keyboard; some are more specific to what you’re using.
- CTRL is the Control key on a Windows keyboard.
- CMD is the Command key on a Mac keyboard. It’s equivalent to the CTRL key on a Windows keyboard.
- SHIFT is the Shift key on any keyboard. It’s a throwback to the days of typewriters. It’s typically used to choose an uppercase (capital) letter instead of the default lowercase. But it can also be used in conjunction with other keys to perform another action.
- ALT is the Alternate key on any keyboard. It expands the number of potential keyboard shortcuts because you can have more combinations of keystrokes.
- + means you’re going to press and hold down several keys at the same time to perform the action.
- When you see any letter in a keyboard shortcut, it just means to use that letter key on your computer keyboard. You’ll usually see it as a lowercase letter, since if you made it a capital by using the SHIFT key you’d get a different result. Remember — you can use the SHIFT key as a portion of a set of keystrokes. Having the CAPS LOCK on does not affect it because you aren’t actually pressing the SHIFT key. I will usually indicate this in my posts with quotation marks around the letter.
- You’ll also see symbols such as brackets, arrow keys, space bar, etc. That means to use that specific key on your keyboard. Pay close attention to precisely which symbol it is as that makes a big difference.
- Scroll wheel means you’re going to use this one in combination with the movement of the wheel on your mouse.
- Double click means to click your left mouse button 2 times in quick succession. Technically, that’s not a keyboard shortcut per se, but it’s good to know.
Top 10 Silhouette Keyboard Shortcuts
#1 — CTRL/CMD+c to copy
This one in in virtually every software program. You can select something and then use this keyboard shortcut to copy it to your virtual clipboard. Often, you can even copy it into another program. For example, you can type something in your word processor, select it all, copy it and then paste it into a text box in Silhouette Studio. Think of it like making a copy of something on your scanner, printing it out and then sticking it in your pocket to hold onto it. You leave the original one on, say, your craft table.
#2 — CTRL/CMD+v to paste
This is the companion to shortcut #1. With this, you can paste the copied design(s) onto the current page or a different one. This is like moving to another room in your house, taking that printed copy out of your pocket and putting it onto your kitchen counter. When you use this one, the duplicate is placed .920″ to the right and .920″ below your original. I have no idea why that’s the number chosen by the developers, but it’s true every time. The only exception to the rule is when your 2 files have different page sizes. In that case, the copy might go to a seemingly random area of the page.
You can continue clicking “v” to continue adding copies, as the software will always remember the last thing you copied. Each successive copy is another .920″ down and to the right.
#3 — CTRL+f to paste in front
Here’s a super-useful one you might not know about. Remember how I said that #2 will paste to the right and slightly below your original? That happens even on another page. But sometimes you want it in the exact same spot on your original file or the new one. That’s where you can use this keyboard shortcut. The copy is placed right on top of the original if in the same file, or in the same location on the page if in a new file. It’s like taking the printed copy you made out of your pocket and laying back down right on top of the original, or taking it to your dining room and laying it down on the same area of that table.
#4 — CTRL+x to cut
Use this to cut a design from your page. A shape that’s been cut can then be pasted onto another page. It’s like taking that printed copy you laid down over your original and sticking it back in your pocket. You still have it to move it somewhere else.
That’s different than Delete (done with the Delete key or in the Edit drop down menu), which gets rid of it completely. In other words, if you use Delete the shape is not copied to your clipboard for use somewhere else. It’s like throwing your printed copy into the fire.
#5 — CTRL+arrow to duplicate up, down, right or left
This is one of my favorites, even though it’s probably one of the lesser-known keyboard shortcuts. It makes an exact duplicate of your selected shape(s) right beside, below or above your original shapes, depending on which arrow key you use. I love this one because it’s less work for me — I know my copy is aligned perfectly with my original and is right beside it.
This is like your printer copying your original page, then placing the copy on the table for you right next to the original.
#6 — ALT+SHIFT+arrow to make mirrored copy
This is similar to #5. But instead of making an exact copy, this one makes a mirrored copy. This would be like your printer scanning your original page, printing it out mirrored, and placing it right beside your original on the table.
#7 — “g” for grid
I don’t use the grid on my page very often because I find it distracting. When I do use it, I often turn in on and off quickly with this keyboard shortcut. Type “g” to turn it on, type “g” again to take it off.
This would be like your scanning software automatically adding a 1″ (or any size) grid on your printed copy.
#8 — CTRL + g to group/CTRL+SHIFT+g to ungroup
I tend to use other options for grouping and ungrouping, but this one is very easy. It’s like having a fancy copier that will staple pages together for you, or remove the staples from a stack of papers.
#9 — CTRL+a to select all/CTRL+SHIFT+a to deselect all
This is a super-quick way to grab everything on the page at once, or vice versa. It’s like telling your printer software to copy all the pages or none of the pages.
#10 — “o” for center of rotation
This is one of those things people often do by accident and then can’t figure out how to get rid of it. With Designer Edition and up, you can change the spot on the design that acts as the anchor point when you rotate an object. By default, it’s the very center of the design. But you can move that to rotate around, say, the lower left corner. The software also takes that into account when you use the Replicate options like “make 5 rotated copies”. You can read more about the Center of Rotation in this post.
This is like having your printer make several copies of a set of papers for you, then rotating set so you can keep them separated.
Get 10% off Designer Edition at Silhouette America by clicking here. Look for it in the Software and Digital section under “Silhouette Studio License Keys.”
If you want to find out all the keyboard shortcuts in Silhouette Studio, check out this post. You can also always find them on the back page of the User’s Manual (access that in the Help drop down menu).
Do you have a favorite I haven’t listed? Let me know in the comments below.