Today’s lesson is about the library. (To start with Lesson 1 of the Software Basics series, go here). Hopefully, you’ve already gone through the Before You Begin series and have set up an account with Silhouette America, signed up for their newsletter, and updated your software and firmware. If not, you’ll want to do that before continuing with this lesson.
You may not fully understand everything in this lesson right away and that’s okay. Just keep it handy for reference when you need it. Think of it like an encyclopedia — look up what you need when you need it. You can also skim the section titles to find specific info you’re looking for.
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.
What is the library?
The library is storage for—
- images you purchase from the Silhouette Design Store. Lesson 4 of the Before You Begin series talks about the design store in general, and we’ll discuss in-depth in another lesson how to purchase and download images.
- designs you create yourself and save to the Library. You can also save them to your computer’s hard drive. I’ll cover all the save options in detail in a future lesson.
- images you import from other sources.
To access the library, click the Library tab in the upper right of the software.
Let’s look at different areas of the library.
Users, settings and syncing
Adding a user
In the upper left, you can see my name. That’s because I added myself as a user in the library. That’s the first thing you’ll want to do. If you have not yet started a Silhouette America account, you need to do that before continuing. I talked about that in this post.
Once you have an account, click the arrow (the one that you see between my name and the words File Types) to drop down the menu.
Click on Add User and input the email address and password you used to set up your account.
Library Import and Export
You can use the Library Export to save a copy of your library with all its files and folders. That makes a backup copy of the library as a whole that you can save to your computer’s hard drive, an external hard drive, a memory stick, a cloud** storage location such as Dropbox, etc. You would then use Library Import to bring it in. The file is saved as a whole, meaning you can’t pull individual files from it.
Library Import and Export isn’t something you’re going to use often, particularly with the cloud and snapshot features (yes, I’ll teach you about those). I just wanted to make sure I cover everything in the menu.
**Just what is the cloud?
I know the term “The Cloud” isn’t one everyone is familiar with and it scares some people. So, let’s get familiar with it.
The cloud is the term we use for computer data that is stored off of your computer by a company on their computer servers at their location. It’s used for several reasons–
- so that you have a backup in case anything happens to your computer.
- so that you don’t have to take up all the room on your computer.
- to be able to share files across several devices. As long as it’s a reliable company, it’s as safe or safer than storing it on your computer. You can choose which files you put on the cloud. We’ll talk more about the cloud in a future lesson.
The cloud can also include processing that happens outside your device. If you use a smartphone at all, you’re always using the cloud. That’s how–
- You can get back photos you took on your phone if something happens to it.
- You can look at the same email on your phone or computer.
- Comments you make on a Facebook post on your phone show up when you’re on your computer.
- When you’re playing a game on your phone and close out of the app, it keeps track of where you were in the game. It’s stored on the cloud rather than on your phone, thus saving space on your phone.
- When you open your maps app, it connects to the maps that are stored in the cloud and then shows that to you. It doesn’t download every map in the world to your phone. It only uses what you need at that time.
In Silhouette, we use the cloud to store designs as a backup in case something happens to our library.
See All Designs
That shows all the designs for the selected user. There are other, easier ways to do this so don’t worry about remembering this one.
You can use your library on up to 5 devices at a time. That means you can have it on your desktop, your laptop, a computer at work, your tablet, etc. — all with the same designs and folders. Let’s say you have it on the max of 5 devices and one of them crashes. How do you get it onto a new computer since you’ve reached your limit?
You click Manage Devices, which takes you to your account on the Silhouette Design Store site. Once there, you’ll see all the devices that currently have your library on them. Deactivate any of them (so the one that crashed) in order to free up one of your 5 and put your library on your new device.
You don’t have to start here in the library to do this. You can always just go to the design store, log in, and go to Account Settings>Manage Cloud Devices.
You can have multiple users in the library on a device. That’s for something like a computer you share with someone at home or in your business. Here I’ve added another one (I just blocked out the email address)–
To choose which user’s library you’re seeing, you’ll use that same arrow at the top. Notice that the first email address in my list has a bullet point beside it, showing that that’s whose library I’m viewing. You can delete a user from the library with the red “x.”
This has 2 options–
- Remove Duplicates — Sometimes, your library does weird stuff, like putting several copies of the same file in the same folder. You can click on this to have it automatically get rid of those.
- Library Snapshot — This is something you won’t need right now, so I’ll just give you an overview. Using the Library Snapshot is a way of backing up exactly how your library looks at any given moment, just like a photo snapshot captures a single moment in time. It helps you back up your library automatically, specifically the items you are NOT storing in the cloud. You might use this if you’re computer’s been acting up, you’re going to change computers or update, or for anytime you’re worried about losing your library images stored in your local storage.
You can also use it if, say, you’re going to be sorting images into folders (more on that later) and aren’t sure you’ve got them the way you want them. If you take a snapshot before you begin, you can revert back to the way the library was before you started. You can even do it along the way.
You can also access the library settings using the gear icon in the lower right corner of the library.
I’m going to jump in the order here to explain syncing, which will then make what comes after make more sense. Your library uses a cloud storage system for files you purchase from the Silhouette Design Store and, optionally, those you create yourself. Every time you purchase a design or save something into the library, you are changing it.
Syncing means the software is looking at how your library is on your computer (the cloud section only) and matching it to what it has on its servers. When you make a change to the library, the sync saves the changes in the cloud. That way if you open your software on a different device that has your library on it, it syncs so that it has all the same files and folders. If you purchase a design from the Silhouette Design Store while your software is closed, when you open the software the sync downloads those into your library.
It’s similar to what happens if you have email on both your computer and smartphone. When you delete an email on your phone, the next time you go into your email program on your computer it will be gone there also. Your email provider has synced your inboxes with one another.
You’ll see the info regarding syncing at the bottom of the window.
- The green check mark indicates my library is currently synced to the cloud. You might see several other icons here —
- A plug trying to touch means the software is trying to connect to that user’s account in order to do a sync.
- 2 circles arrows means the library is currently performing a sync. This should stop after a time.
- A separated plug means you are working offline, which is also says right there (see the next section). You can click Sync to tell the library to sync right now, but then go back to working offline.
- A yellow warning sign indicating a sync error. This can happen when you are offline, the Silhouette servers are down, you’ve already got your library on 5 devices, and for various other reasons. If you’ve got your library on 5 devices already, you’ll have to deactivate it from one in order to sign in and sync. If that isn’t the case and this happens, wait 30 minutes and try again, then another hour and try again. Try switching from working offline to online several times. As a last resort, sign out and then back in (see the info on this below). If you STILL can’t get it, you need to contact Silhouette America’s Customer Support.
- A plug trying to touch means the software is trying to connect to that user’s account in order to do a sync.
- I can see when my library was last synced.
- By clicking the blue bar at the right, I can attempt to sync my library.
- I can see how much of my cloud storage space I have allotted and how much I’ve used.
When you save a design to the library (more on that in a later lesson), or delete one and send it to the recycle bin, or create a new folder, or sort images into folders — basically anytime you make a change to the library — the software syncs the library to the cloud. Sometimes, that can be annoying, such as when you are sorting lots of images into folders or deleting some one at a time, or have a slow internet connection.
Instead of having the software sync each time you do something in the library, you can check the box by Work Offline. The library would then not sync (save to your cloud or download new purchases from the Silhouette Design Store) until you once again work online or click the sync button. In other words, you can move or delete all the files you’re going to get rid of, then work online again. It syncs once, not with every action.
You might sign out of the library if you’re using a shared computer and you don’t want someone else making changes to your library. But beware of this — when you do, you’re removing the user entirely. The next time you sign in, it then has to reload the whole library.
The library folders
The left side of the library has folders that your designs are in. The number in gray after a folder name always indicates how many there are of that particular thing. Yours will be pretty simple in the beginning, like this.
Let’s talk about the folders that are there by default.
When you click on this, you’ll see every design that is currently in the library for the current user.
I’ll show you below how to do this, but you can set certain designs in your library as favorites. Then you can click on this folder to view them.
Fonts are special creatures. They aren’t like regular images so they are organized differently. Fonts you purchase in the Silhouette Design Store automatically install in the software and will be in the Fonts folder under the name of the correct user account. Once installed in the software, as you close that software session your computer will ask your permission to install the font permanently on your computer so that you can use it in all your software programs.
The fonts for all users are available to all users as they are all in the font panel. In other words, if I purchase a font, it installs. Then if I switch to another user I can still use the font — even if I’m not signed in.
If you get a font somewhere else and install it on your computer itself, it doesn’t show up in the library Fonts folder.
Once you’ve mastered the basics of the software, check out my series on text starting here. That will give you all the info you need on purchasing and using fonts.
This is where the majority of your images live. When you start, you’ll see 2 folders automatically–
- Recent Downloads — When you purchase images from the Silhouette Design Store, they go into this folder. You can leave them there, or you can create other sub-folders to sort them into (more on that below). The free shapes that come with your machine will go into the Recent Downloads folder of the Local User.
- User Designs – If you save a design you create to your library, it will by default go into the User Designs of the Local User. You can choose a different folder or move it later, but if you keep this default and have the library set at your default “save to” location, this is where they go.
If you’ve plugged in and used your machine, you’ll see a 3rd folder in here called Free with Machine — the shapes that come with your particular model.
Printable patterns, like fonts, are special. Instead of being cut files, they are print files. You can fill a shape with a pattern for a print and cut or just for aiding in the design process. For example, when I’m creating a project with several different patterned papers I like to fill my images with similar patterns. This helps me keep things organized so I know which pieces to cut from which papers.
Designs that are in this folder are in the Fill panel. Some are included with the software, and you can purchase additional ones from the from the Silhouette Design Store. Or, with Designer Edition and above, you can add your own patterns to this folder. That doesn’t mean that without Designer Edition you can’t use raster images as fills. You can – they just don’t show in that panel unless you do something special. (You can find how more about how to do that in this series).
Patterns can be used on a device by all users, even if they aren’t the one who purchased the pattern, but only when the purchasing user is signed in in the library.
If you delete a design or folder, it’s sent to the recycle bin. The good news is that means it takes a further step to actually fully delete a design. So if you do it accidentally you can find it in the Recycle bin. And if you go to empty the recycle bin, the software will ask you to make SURE you want to do it. Just file this info away for later – if it appears something is gone from your library, it’s probably still sitting safely in the recycle bin.
Adding new library folders
Once you start to get a good number of files in your library, it’s a good idea to organize them. That can make finding them easier. Think of it like an outline you’d use when writing a paper. You do this by adding sub-folders (and even sub-sub-folders). You can see some of mine here.
To add a new folder–
- Hover over the word Designs and right click.
- Choose New folder.
- A new folder is created with the name Untitled folder. Look for it at the bottom, since it’s in alphabetical order.
- While it’s still highlighted, give it a name and hit Enter. The folder is then saved and moved into place alphabetically. I named this one Cards.
- If you want to create a sub-folder within a folder, right click on the folder name instead of Designs. Here, I created a subfolder in Cards called Graduation.
- You can right click on the folder to at any time rename it or delete it. Deleting a folder sends it, and all its subfolders, to the recycle bin. Other options in that right click menu are for cut, copy, paste, delete and mark all as seen.
Expanding and collapsing folders
Notice that the folder by Designs (as well as some of my folders in the larger folder structure above) has a plus or minus sign. This indicates that there are sub-folders. I can click a plus sign to expand the list or the minus sign to collapse it.
This is good to know because sometimes you click that and accidentally collapse the folders. When that happens, it looks like you’ve lost all your designs. You haven’t. Just click the plus sign to expand it again.
I’ll show you in our next lesson how to sort your designs into the folders you create. For now, go ahead and create a few.
Font and pattern sub-folders
If you have Designer Edition and up, there’s something special that happens when you create sub-folders in your fonts or patterns folders. Those sections show up in your font panel or patterns panel.
For example, I created sub-folder for sketch and script fonts in my library and moved those types of fonts there. This only works with fonts purchased from the Silhouette Design Store. When you I open my Text Style, I see sections for those.
That makes it easier for me to see all my sketch fonts together. You can find out more about that in my series on Text Myths.
The same goes for my patterns. I can sort them into folders of like kinds that show up in the panel, such as the Floral I have here.
One more small thing to note in this section is the scroll bar. You probably won’t see it right now, but if you create lots of folders you will. Use the scroll bar to move up and down in the folders list.
The Top Bar
Along the top, above all the designs, is a bar with 3 sections–
Let’s say you’re looking for a sketch design to put on a card, or haven’t sorted your print and cuts into folders but want to find one. (We discussed file types in the lesson on the Silhouette Design Store). You can limit what you see in the preview box by selecting only that file type. Click on the arrow to drop the list down.
Right now, they all have check marks. If I uncheck Select All, there are no red checks. I can then check the Sketch Designs to view just those.
Just make sure to recheck Select All once you’re done, as this setting stays during this software session until you change it.
Theoretically, this is another way to make searching the library easier. I find it to be pretty cumbersome, so use it only rarely. But you can see here the various ways to sort.
It is useful to sort by date in your Recent Downloads so you can see what you got when. Often I’m looking for a design I got last week but I can’t remember the name of it.
Sorting by those that are shared, which we’ll talk about later, would be more useful if you could find those that are NOT shared.
At the far right is the search box. If you are trying to find a particular image in your library, you can type a word here to search. The search will look for the word in the file name, properties (more on that below) or artist. That’s pretty self-explanatory. Just remember to remove the word if you want to see all your designs, or click by on All Files or the folder name.
The bottom bar
Items in folder
I don’t find this to be super-helpful, but when you’re in a folder this shows you how many things are in that folder. It includes both designs and subfolders. So say I have a folder called Nature. I have 20 designs in that folder. I also created a sub-folders in it for Trees, Flowers and Snowflakes. If I’m on the Nature folder, it will say I have 23 items — 20 designs plus 3 folders.
Silhouette has finally begun to start realizing not everyone who uses their software has young eyes. So, they added an option to the library to change the size of the thumbnails — the little pictures that show you what the design looks like.
Slide it to the left to go through images quickly by seeing more at once, or all the way to the right to see the thumbnails larger. Even all the way to the right the images aren’t always big enough to see all the parts. But I’ll show you another trick in a bit to view them much larger.
All the pics I’ve been showing you of my library are in the Icon View. That means I’m seeing a large (relative term) preview of the design and it’s name. That’s all. You can see that there’s a blue box around the left view indicating that’s what I’m using.
If I click the right one instead, I can go to the List View. That gives me a smaller image preview, but more information about each design.
We’ll talk about what all those little symbols and terms mean below, but there are a couple to look at here because you don’t see them anywhere else.
- Date Modified is the last time you made a change to this design. If it’s one from the Silhouette Design Store, the date is when you first downloaded it to your library. If it’s one you created, it will be the last time you saved it in the library.
- Type — Files from the Silhouette Design Store will be studio or studio3 files, depending on when they were created. They might even be the really old gst type. If you get a design elsewhere and save it to your library, it might be a raster type such as jpg or png, or a vector type like svg. This is where you can see that easily.
- Size — This is helpful if you are saving images to your library yourself. Files that are really large can make the library run slowly or take up more of your cloud space.
By clicking the title of each column, you can quickly sort by that property. Say I was running out of cloud storage space and wanted to remove some of the larger files. I could click on that column to see which ones are the biggest.
At the far right is the gear icon to open the settings we’ve already discussed.
For now, let’s go back to the Icon view and discuss all the symbols.
The picture you see here is the same as the one in the Silhouette Design Store. It shows you how the design will look once you cut it out and, as needed, put it all together.
The star is for Favorites. That will be gray unless you click it to turn it blue. That puts it in your Favorites folder. It will still be in any regular folder you have it in — it just makes it easier to find as needed.
The symbol next to the star has to do with the cloud.
- The lion above it one I purchased from the Silhouette Design Store so it has a blue lock. That means it’s automatically stored in the cloud, not taking up any of my allotted space. I don’t have to do anything to it, nor can I change that.
- Here’s one I created myself and saved in the library (I’ll show you how to do that later). The green check says that this is one that’s backed up in my Silhouette cloud space. When you create a design and save it to the library, this is the default. In other words, you don’t have to do anything to it unless you do NOT want it backed up on the cloud.
This is one I made that is not backed up in the cloud. The “x” tells me that.
I can sort by Is Shared to see what’s in my cloud storage. The only problem is what I’m usually looking for is those that aren’t backed up so that I can do that.
Getting a larger preview
I promised I’d show you how to see a much larger preview of your design. If you hover over it, you’ll see 4 little brackets pop up at the lower right of the thumbnail. Click on that to get your large preview.
This is also going to give you the name of the designer, the design ID# it has in the Silhouette Design Store and a description. The description is REALLY useful in some cases, as it can provide assembly instructions or a link to the designer’s website. The doily design above has the latter. Rhinestone designs will tell you here the number of stones needed.
Just as with the folder area, you can scroll though the designs area using the arrows or slider bar at the right edge of the designs area.
The properties of a design are all the things that show up when you view as a list. But even if you’re using the Icon View you can check the properties of an image. Do this by right clicking on the image and choosing Show Properties. This brings up a dialog box showing the information.
We’ve gone over most of these, but there’s one new one to be aware of — keywords.
We already know that each design has a title. But sometimes it doesn’t give enough information, or it might be that it could be categorized several ways. The Silhouette Design Store adds keywords to help in searching.
For example, let’s say you’re viewing this design called Back to School.
Let’s say that you want to find a design in your library that has to do with school, so you put that in your search bar. The one above would come up because that’s in the title. But here’s another one that doesn’t.
If you do a search in the search bar for School, this second design will come up because that’s a part of a keyword.
Let’s say you look at the keywords on that second one and think, “Oh — it would be great if I could find that first design when I type in the word Science.” You can add a keyword by clicking on the plus sign, typing the word and clicking Save. You can delete keywords here as well.
This has a description as we discussed above, but it’s not as useful because you have to scroll through it all to get the info.
When you start making your own designs and saving them in the library, you can add all that property info.
There’s one more very useful thing here in the Properties box. When you purchase designs in the Silhouette Design Store, you can choose to get a commercial design so that you can sell items you make with that design. If you don’t, it’s just called personal use.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember which one you have on a given design. You can check in your account in the Silhouette Design Store for which commercial licenses you have, but you can also check here in the properties.
If you’ll look at my pics of Properties boxes above, you’ll notice that that isn’t there. That’s because this is a fairly recent addition to the software, so any designs purchased before that date don’t have a designation. If you want to keep track, you can add “personal” or “commercial” as a keyword. Or, put your commercial designs into different folders than your personal ones.
If you purchase a commercial license for a font, that will show up with a $ in the Text Style panel.
The right click menu
There are a couple of other things you’ll see in the menu when you right click on an image. Some we’ve discussed, but let’s go over the others.
Open or merge
I’ll show you in an upcoming lesson how to quickly add an image onto the design area. If you don’t do well with double clicks, you can use the right click menu to Merge it onto your current file. To open it as a new file (page), you’d use Open.
When it’s a file you’ve created yourself and saved to the library (more on that in one of our final lessons), double clicking will always open it on a new page. You can use Merge to place it on the current file.
Local or shared
This is how you can designate whether or not you want to save the image you create to your cloud storage. Local means you aren’t; shared means you are. In other words, “shared” is synonymous with “is in the cloud.” We’ll talk through all the ways of saving in a later lesson.
Mark as unseen
Look at these 2 designs and try to spot the difference how the titles look.
The one on the left has the title in blue, while the one on the right is in dark gray. The blue ones are designs you have downloaded but have not yet clicked on in your library. They are “unseen.” In this right click menu, you can mark them as unseen even after you have clicked on them. This is just another way to find recent downloads. If you’ll notice in the sorting menu, you can sort by those marked as unseen.
This isn’t really for getting rid of designs. It’s more for sorting them into folders. Instead of using the click and drag, you can use cut and paste. In fact, if you just hit Cut you won’t see anything happen until you paste it somewhere.
Copy can only be done with designs you create. Say you made a design like one of the science ones above, and say you had folders for both School and Science. You can have a copy in each folder.
Sometimes an image does not download to your library for some reason. It could be that the power or your internet connection goes out while you’re doing it, or there was a problem with the design itself, or some other reason. You can click Retry Download to try to get it.
I will say that this particular design wouldn’t ever download for me and it’s no longer in the Silhouette Design Store. I’m not too broken up about it, but if it ever happens to you contact Silhouette America’s Customer Support for assistance.
Other library commands and actions
There are a few other bits and pieces to working with the library.
Other right click menus
- In the thumbnail preview area of the library, you can right click on an empty area to pull up a menu for changing the view or sorting method and for adding a new folder within the folder you’re in.
- Usually, fonts will automatically install when your library syncs. If you have your software open and then purchase a font in an internet browser, it will install right away. If your software is closed, it will happen when it syncs as the software opens (it always checks to see if there are newly purchased items). Then when you close the software it will ask permission to install it on your computer to complete it. If you see the font in your library but not in the Text Style panel, hover over it and right click to install the font.
I will warn you that sometimes the font name isn’t what you expect because designers often put their initials at the beginning of the font name. For example, I have a font that’s called Bodega in the Silhouette Design Store, but the actual name has ZP at the beginning. I have to look for it in the Zs, not the Bs. If you’re “missing” a font, it could be there but under a different name.
Altering the size of the 2 main areas
It may be that you want your thumbnails area in the library to be wider than your folder area, or your folder names are getting cut off. You can change the width of the areas.
Look at the line just to the right of the scroll bar that’s between them. I’m pointing to it here.
Hover over that and watch for your mouse to become that line with arrows shooting left and right that we discussed in our lesson on the mouse and cursors. Click and drag that in order to change the width. As one side gets smaller, it will add a scroll bar along the bottom to move side to side in that area as needed.
There are times you want to see your design area and library at the same time, such as when you’re trying to figure out how pieces of a design go together. For that, you can use Split Screen.
Look along the lower left of your software and you’ll see a little folder with a down arrow.
Click the folder or that arrow beside it and your library opens on the left half of the screen, while your design area still shows on the right.
As with the library, you can alter the widths of the sections. Click the little dots on the bar between them that I’m pointing to in the pics and drag to change it.
Click the small folder icon or arrow to close it so that you’re only seeing your design area again.
There are a few other details about adding your own designs from outside the software into the library, but that’s a story for another day. I think you’ve had MORE than enough info for this lesson.
In our next lesson, I’ll show you how to get the free shapes that are included with your machine.