I was looking through old photos (actual physical pictures) recently and laughing at my 80’s big hair and shoulder pads. I’m sure you have some of those pics. What was fashionable then is a caricature today. We don’t stay the same — we continually update our look as years go by.
It’s the same with computers. They continuously add new bells and whistles. When I first started using a computer, it was green letters on a black screen (yeah, I know I’m dating myself in this post). We saved files on floppy discs. I could fit 10x the entire contents of my first computer on a USB stick that’s a cheap giveaway nowadays.
As computers progress, so do the programs they use. They change, add new features, fix bugs. Fonts? There weren’t font choices way back when — just a single one. We were excited when WYSIWYG came out — “What you see is what you get.” Before that point, what printed out didn’t always look like what was on your computer screen. And graphics were unheard of. Paint was the revolutionary software then; now we have Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. We’ve come a long way, baby!
Silhouette Studio changes just like every other program. Sometimes we’re creatures of habit, reluctant to change, so we resist updating the software. We hear horror stories from other users and try to hold out as long as possible. Let me tell you why I always like to keep my software up to date, then I’ll show you how to do it.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click the link and purchase something, I receive a small commission. You pay the same price. This helps me to be able to keep my business going and provide more tutorials.
Update vs Upgrade
Right off the bat, you need to know that there’s a difference between the word “update” and the word “upgrade.” It’s very confusing because many folks use the 2 interchangeably. But they are very different. To understand the difference between “update” and “upgrade,” see a complete explanation here.
When we are talking about updating, we are talking about going from a lower software version number to a higher one. The version number is the “build” or edition we’re on. Think of it like a college textbook — you have to make sure to get the edition the professor requires. If you get an older edition, the page numbers are different, some newer information is missing, etc.
Upgrade would mean more like going from a paperback to a hardback, or like buying your own book instead of using the library’s copy. That’s the term we use when going from a lower software level, like the Basic Edition that is free for all users, to a paid level like Designer Edition that offers additional features. Updates to the Silhouette Studio software are always free and update all levels of the software — Basic up to Business.
The version number
A version number consists of 3 numbers separated by periods. So #.#.#. To find the version number you are using in Silhouette, go to the Help menu (Windows) or the Silhouette Studio menu (Mac) in the upper left and choose “About Silhouette Studio.” Your full version number is listed there. Mine below is 4.1.201. The “ss” means Silhouette Studio and the “be” means Business Edition. If you have basic, you’ll only have “ss.” If you have Designer, you’ll have “ssde,” etc.
You want to pay attention to all 3 numbers.
- The first number is what we use in short form to talk about a version. So in my picture, it’s version 4. When this number changes, it indicates there has been a MAJOR update to the program. The look is very different. For example, in the first release of version 4, the windows were replaced by panels, the location of the icons changed and the Cut Settings and Send to Silhouette windows were combined into the Send area.
- The second number we may also use when speaking about the software. When that number changes it’s a medium-sized change. The overall look won’t change, but there are significant changes in some features. For example, version 4.1 added the warp features and pop-up creator, and revamped the Send area.
- The third number is the one to pay attention to when you’re looking for your full version number. When that number alters, it indicates smaller changes. Those are often bug fixes, so you want to make sure you are aware of that number. For example, when we went from 4.1.197 to 4.1.201, the change was to fix library crash issues.
(Did you know the government regulates what types of changes have to be made in order to classify an update as a high, medium or low type?)
How do you know if you have is the most recent version? NEVER trust the “Check for Updates” option in the Help menu. It rarely works. The best thing to do is to check it against the software update page on the Silhouette America website. If your number is lower than the one listed as “Current Version,” you are not up to date. Social media groups are also a good way to hear about updates, as is the Silhouette newsletter and, of course, my website.
Should I update right away?
There are lots of folks who are terrified of updating. They hear horror stories from others because, let’s face it, we’re more likely to complain about problems on social media than to sing the praises of an update.
Whether or not you update right away when there’s a major update is up to you and your personality. Are you the “I gotta be the first one through the door” type? Do it as soon as it’s available. Are you the “wait and see” type? Then wait and see. Just know that there WILL be bugs in a major update — it’s just the way the world works. Silhouette will get them worked out and sending them feedback early on is helpful in that.
If it’s a medium update you’re pretty safe to change, because you’ve already gotten the big one out of the way.
If it’s a change to that 3rd number — so you would be going from 4.1.197 to 4.1.201 — I ALWAYS recommend updating right away. It’s usually bug fixes so will help you.
Here’s my best advice: NEVER do an update — big or small — when you are on a deadline to get a project done. You don’t need the stress. Wait until you have some time to poke around.
Also, keep tuned in to my website and newsletter. I’ll give advice and information when there are updates.
How to update
So, you’ve found that there’s an updated version out there and you’re ready to do it. Here are the steps?
- Close your software. You can’t update the program while it’s open.
- Download the update from the Silhouette America website (see link above). It will be on that same page of the website where you checked the number.
Find your type of computer, Mac or Windows, and click that word in blue to download the file. It may take some time, so be patient. If it doesn’t start downloading or you have any problems, try a different web browser.
- Once the download is complete, the way you install the updated version depends on your computer.
- On a Windows computer, you’ll click the file to run the installation. You may have to go to your Downloads folder to find it. If you aren’t super computer savvy and don’t know where to find the Downloads folder, type CTRL+J on your web browser and it will show you your downloaded files.
- On a Mac computer, drag the file from your Downloads folder to your Applications folder.
For more details on installing the software, see this post.
- After the installation, open the software and double check that version number to insure it matches the number you see on the website.
So don’t be afraid to ditch your “acid-wash jeans and mullet haircut” of the Silhouette world. As long as you’ve understood this post, you’ll be cutting in style.