A right click, or context, menu is a one that pops up when you perform a right click in a software or on a website. All software programs and internet browsers have right click menus. What is in those menus varies, but you have a set of limited choices – just like in a restaurant.
In Silhouette Studio, right click menus work in generally the same way as drop down menus but you access them differently. They are useful because you don’t have to move your mouse up to the drop down menus or icons or memorize keyboard shortcuts (more on those in the next lesson). You won’t be able to do everything from a right click menu – just some of the more common actions.
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In this lesson we’re going to go over the right click menus in the drawing area of the Silhouette Studio software. (To start with Lesson 1, go here). There are also some right click menus in the Library, but I’ll save those for later. At this point I’m not teaching you HOW to do everything. I’m helping you learn to navigate the software in various ways so you can find what’s most comfortable for you. If you need to review the use of the mouse and its buttons, go to Lesson 5: The Mouse and Cursors.
Right click menu with no selection
If you do not have an image or text box selected when you perform a right click on the drawing area, you will see this menu:
This gives you some of the basic options that are in the Edit and View drop down menus. It also gives you a quick option to change the orientation of your page between Portrait and Landscape (only if your page size is not square).
I’ve gone over a definition for all these options in previous lessons. We will practice performing each of the actions in future lessons as well.
Right click menu with an image selected
If you have a single image selected when you perform a right click on the drawing area, you will see this menu:
This has more of those common editing options. I use this most often for the flip horizontally and vertically, grouping and ungrouping, releasing a compound path, and altering the order of images front to back.
Notice that some options are grayed out, as we saw in the drop down menus at times. That indicates you cannot currently perform the action. Since we only have 1 image selected, we can’t group. If you did have 1 set of grouped images selected, the option to Ungroup would be active. In this example, the option to Release Compound Path tells me the image is in a compound path. If it were not, that option would not even be there. And so on – the options you see and which ones are active are based on the selected image or group itself.
Right click menu with multiple images selected
With more than one image or group of images selected, you will see this menu:
This is very similar to the menu we just saw, but notice that the options to Edit Points and Ungroup are grayed out. You can’t do point editing because you have to do that on 1 image at a time. Likewise, even if you have selected several sets of grouped images you can’t ungroup. With either option, the software doesn’t know what image you’d want to edit points on or which set you’d want to ungroup because you have multiple things selected.
Conversely, Group is now active and we’ve added the option Make Compound Path. Those are available because they are actions that act upon multiple images at once.
Right click menu with text selected
When you have typed text onto your drawing area and have the text box selected, you will see an additional option in the right click menu – Edit Text:
Text works differently than images. On words, you can change fonts, set a point size, alter character and line spacing, set direction and justification within the text box and turn kerning off and on. You don’t do all those things on an image. Once you do certain things to a text (things we’ll learn about later), it becomes an image and you can no longer edit it. But while it is still text, you can choose Edit Text from this right click menu. That allows you to fix misspelled words, add words, send words to the next line, etc.
I also want to point out that Weld is an option in this menu with text. Welding is a Modify operation that removes the overlapping lines of multiple images, combining them into 1 piece permanently. This is something we’ll discuss later in detail. It’s a 1-step option here, whereas the Object>Modify>Weld option or opening the Modify panel to do it takes several steps. HOWEVER – this is one of those actions I mentioned above that changes words from text to image. Once that happens, you can no longer edit the text. I’m going to tell you that repeatedly in our lessons so you remember it – it’s an important thing to know.
Right click menu in Point Editing Mode
When you select an image and are in Point Editing Mode, you will see this right click menu:
You may have noticed in the menus shown earlier the option Edit Points. The designs you create in Silhouette Studio, cut files you purchase in the Silhouette Design Store or from other sites, and fonts are made up of vectors. Vectors are straight lines and curved lines connected to one another at points (nodes). Unlike raster images such as clip art or photographs, when you shrink or enlarge a vector image, you don’t lose any clarity. Silhouette Studio interprets vectors as cut commands – “Start here. Draw a curved line to this point. Go in a new direction and draw a straight line to this point,” etc.
By using point editing, you can move, add, remove or adjust these points to alter the look of a design. You can change the amount or direction of a curve. If you see lots of little black dots all over your drawing area, you’ve gotten into Point Editing mode. It happens most often when you double click very quickly on an image and can really confuse you. That’s very advanced stuff we’ll get into WAY later. Just know that there’s a right click menu specifically for point editing. To get back to normal and out of Point Editing mode, just click off the design to another one or on an empty space, click a different icon, hit your ESC key or click the Selection arrow icon.
Right click menu in the scroll bar area
On the bottom and right of the software are 2 areas to scroll your view with your mouse. I’ve highlighted these in yellow below. You can scroll your view up and down or side to side left clicking in the area, clicking and dragging the blue bar, or clicking the arrows at each end. The blue bar indicates where you are in relation to the full area. For instance, if the blue bar is at the top of the scroll area, you are viewing the top of the page or drawing area. When you right click in one of those areas, you see this menu:
The choices in this menu allow you to scroll using clicks only — without the drag.
Scroll Here moves the blue bar to the spot you clicked in the scroll area.
Top, when clicked on the right side, moves the blue bar to the top of the scroll area. In the bottom scroll area, it moves the blue bar to the far left. You are then viewing the leftmost part of the drawing area.
Bottom, when clicked on the right side, moves the blue bar to the bottom of the scroll area. On the bottom scroll area, it will move the blue bar to the far right. You are then viewing the rightmost part of the drawing area.
Page Up, when used on the right side, moves the blue bar up in equal, incremental amounts. Used on the bottom, it moves the blue scroll bar left. You now see more of the left side of the drawing area. This moves the view the same amount as when you left click in the right side scroll area.
Page Down, when used on the right side, moves the blue bar down in equal, incremental amounts. Used on the bottom, it moves the blue scroll bar right. You now see more of the right side of the drawing area. This moves the view the same amount as when you left click in the bottom scroll area.
Scroll Up when used on the right side, moves the blue bar up in smaller equal, incremental amounts. Used on the bottom, it moves the blue scroll bar left. You now see more of the left side of the drawing area.
Scroll Down when used on the right side, moves the blue bar down in smaller equal, incremental amounts. Used on the bottom, it moves the blue scroll bar right. You now see more of the right side of the drawing area.
Sometimes right clicking will perform the same action as a left click. This applies to icons and most options within the panels. It does not apply to drop down menus.
On a Windows computer, you may notice that if you right click in an empty area at the very top of the software, you get this menu:
That is a menu that is a function of your computer and not the Silhouette Software. It treats the entire software area that you see as a window that you can close, resize, move, etc., allowing you to see other programs or areas of your computer.
On a Mac computer these options are instead in the Silhouette Studio drop down menu, which we discussed in Lesson 6.
That’s it for Lesson 7. Not too overwhelming. When you’re ready, go on to Lesson 8: Keyboard Shortcuts.
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