This is the last in our lesson about navigation around the software and it’s a catch all. We’ll talk more about moving around in some specific areas of the software in later lessons, but this is the rest of the general info. (To begin with Lesson 1, go here.)
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The 4 general areas
Any time you have your software open in version 4, you will be in one of the 4 main areas of the software. You navigate to different ones by clicking on one of the tabs in the upper right of the software.
When you click on this tab, you’ll see your drawing area. This is also known as the workspace or the design area. This is where you create and work with your designs. We’ve seen this quite a bit already.
This tab takes you to the Silhouette Design Store to purchase images or access your account. This is different from the Silhouette America website, although your account email and password is the same on either. The Silhouette Design Store is for designs. It can also be accessed on an internet web browser, so that’s why some folks get confused. The Silhouette America website is where you purchase physical products. I showed you how to use each in the Before You Begin series. I’m just showing you how to get to the design store from within the software.
This takes you to your library of images – those you have purchased in the Silhouette Design Store or created yourself and saved here. We’ll go over this in detail in a future lesson.
When you’re ready to cut, you’ll go to this area to choose your material, your cut settings and actions, and send the job to the machine.
At any given time, you can have as many project files open on your design area as you like. I do recommend keeping it to a minimum, as any open files are taking up memory and can slow down the program, particularly during an auto-save.
When you first open the software, you’ll see 1 tab in this area that says Untitled-1.
If you give the file and name and save it, or open a saved file, the name of the file will then show in the tab.
To the right of the tab with the name of the file is a plus sign. Click that to open a new file. It has the name Untitled-2. As you continue opening files, the numbering goes up.
The tab for the file you are currently working on is white. Other files are gray. To switch to a different file, click on its tab. You can also click and drag to change the order of the tabs.
When you run out of room for tabs along the top, look for the left and right arrows at the extreme left of the list. Use those arrows to scroll the list left and right. This shouldn’t normally be an issue, since up to 16 tabs will fit and, as I said, it’s best not to have that many open at once.
Generally, your software will take up your entire computer screen, but you can change that. Or, it might happen accidentally and you need to know how to get it back to full screen.
On a Windows computer…
…there are 3 small icons in the extreme upper right.
The first one, the one that looks like a minus sign, minimizes the screen. That means that although the program isn’t closed, you don’t see it. It’s just like clicking the Silhouette icon along the bottom bar of programs when the software is open. Clicking that icon again will show it again.
The second one, which looks like 1 or 2 squares, is called Maximize. If you see 2 squares, it’s already maximized, meaning it covers your entire screen. Click on it once to Restore Down, which means to make it smaller but still visible. That allows you to see other open programs, your computer folders or the desktop at the same time.
You can also Restore Down by clicking and dragging in the white area on the very very top of the software (in the area where these icons are). Click and drag in that area also to move the window around.
The icon is now a single square. While in this mode, you can adjust the size of the window by clicking and dragging at the sides or corners of the window. Notice how in the screenshot above you can see my desktop, my word processor and Silhouette Studio because I made the latter 2 smaller.
Click on the single square to maximize back to full screen.
The 3rd icon is an X. You can click that to close the software completely. It turns red when you hover over it just to give you warning.
On a Mac computer…
…there are red, yellow and green buttons in the upper left.
The red button closes the software when you’re done working in it.
The yellow button minimizes the software (see info above). You can click and drag in the title bar along the top of the software to move the window around. As with Windows, you can resize the software window by clicking and dragging one of the sides.
The green button, along with the Option key, maximizes the window – takes it back to full screen.
We’ve discussed zooming before, but now’s a good time to familiarize yourself with it if you haven’t yet done so.
Zoom in to make the mat area bigger so you can see closer in on your images.
Zoom out to make the mat area smaller so you can see a more overall view.
Selection zoom tells the software exactly which area you want to see closer. To use this, click the icon, then left click and drag around an area on the drawing area. The software zooms in to that area and centers it on the screen. This will stop at some point, but you can use Zoom in to get closer.
Drag zoom to move in and out more gradually that with the first 2 icons. Click this, then click and drag your mouse. Move your mouse down on the drawing area to zoom in, move it up to zoom out.
Pan to move the whole workspace around. Click on the icon, then click and drag on the drawing area.
Fit to page shows your whole page centered on the drawing area. It doesn’t necessarily show your whole mat or just your mat. It shows your page size that you set in page setup.
Practice each kind of zoom. Decide if you like zooming with icons, keyboard shortcuts or the View drop down menu. You can undo a zoom or fit to window with the right click menu.
If you’ve gone through all the lessons to this point, you should be really familiar with how to get where you want to go in the software. In the next lesson, I’ll show you how to the library works.