Silhouette Version and Silhouette Edition

I thought I’d do a small post to explain the difference between the two words in the title.  Version and Edition.  To put it simply, version refers to the number assigned by Silhouette America.  As an example, the current version according to Silhouette is 4.1.206


You can find out what the current VERSION of the software Silhouette has out by going to  Silhouette America’s Version List

To find out what version of software you have currently; open your software, left click on the help menu, then scroll down to the bottom of the drop down menu and then left click on “About Silhouette Studio”.  Once you click a box will pop up and show you your version number.

Version1As you can see from this popup box, I have Release 4.1.206.

One last word on VERSION.  As you can see there is the current version and there is the Beta version.  Beta versions are the testing release before it goes to current version.  There may still be bugs in the software; so while you can download and run the beta version, you do so at your own risk.  Some bugs cannot be fixed by a later version. (I used a beta version once, and it “ate” all the settings I had used for designs I had made with the previous version.  (I had made close to 200 designs for my business, and all of the material settings/blade setting/etc. had defaulted back to cardstock and they couldn’t be retrieved by Silhouette America, there were all “lost”. I’m still changing those back as I run across them, but I learned my lesson).

One further last word.  When you are updating or upgrading your software, please be sure to export your local user and your cloud libraries to a thumb drive.

That box also contains information on the Edition I have.  The Edition I’m running can actually be seen in at least three different ways.  To the right of the tree in the box above, it shows “Business Edition”, and those four letters after the .206 are ssbe; which means SIlhouette Studio Business Edition.  You can also see it at the very top left of the software


and there’s a fourth place.  When you open the software and it’s loading you should see the Silhouette Studio load screen and it should list the Edition there as well.

There’s a few things to keep in mind on this topic.  Unlike other software updates to the software are totally and completely free; regardless of what Edition you have or how old your version is.  

The Basic Edition of the software is FREE; however you have to purchase upGRADES (notice I said Upgrades, NOT updates).  With each upgrade you purchase (Designer, Designer Plus or Business) your functionality increases (you are given more tools to use and more neat stuff to use; as well as your functionality in regards to file types also increases).  You can purchase these upgrades from Silhouette America, Amazon and other retailers like Swing Design to name only a few.  When you do upgrade to a higher edition, depending on who you purchase it from, you’ll either get an email with a code or an actual card that has the code.

To enter the code; you’ll left click on Help; then scroll down to “Upgrade Silhouette Studio” and enter the key you received.  The key is accepted and is stored in your silhouette account that should you need to can be retrieved from your account on the silhouette store.  

I know I harp on this like crazy, but I can’t stress it enough; before you make any upgrades or updates to your software; export your libraries.  (Are you sensing a theme, here?  I hope so! 🙂




How to Size Images and Text

I know it’s been a week; and I appreciate your patience.  There has been a lot going on lately.  Things on the job search front are finally moving and that’s taking some of my time; and I’m learning about how to use my new Embroidery Machine (Singer superb) as well as working on our new website (

So you have an image you’re opened into the Silhouette Studio Software.


As you can see, this particular image is 7.834 inches by 2.067 inches (I colored it in blue just to make it easier to see).  I’m not happy with the size and I want to change it.  There are at least two ways to make this happen.  The first is by grabbing any one of the white squares on the corner of the selection with your mouse and dragging it OUT (to make it larger) or IN to make it smaller.  If you drag the square boxes between the corners, it will stretch the design or squash it depending on which way you drag the mouse.

The second way to resize an image is to look on the Quick Access Toolbar.  The Quick Access toolbar is found directly under the new, open, save and print icons. In order to see the part of the toolbar we need, the image must be selected. Please keep in mind that I have the Business Edition of the software, so your icons may NOT appear in the same places that you’ll see mine in.


As you can see, the Quick Access toolbar has several items on it, and they change, depending on what the software thinks you might want to do.  In this case, since the image is selected, it thinks you MIGHT want to size the image.  The software happens to be correct in this ccase.  As you can see, the width and height are listed in the boxes and there’s what looks like a padlock next to them.  The padlock is to keep the aspect ratio between the height and width the same.  If you leave it unlocked; you can change the two independently.

Here’s a software “quirk” that you need to be aware of.  If you want to change the width AND the height, you can use the tab key to go from the width to the height, but you MUST use the return/enter key after you change the Height to make both “stick” in the software.

There is a third way to adjust image size.  On the side panel, you should see the icon for the transform panel (don’t confuse it with the same icon in the quick access toolbar, that’s for centering,)

icon(– The Transform panel icon.

When you open the panel, you have five tabs at the top to choose from.

transform panelThese are centering, scale and dimention, rotation, move and Shear.  We want the scale tab for this.


From here; you can scale your design either by percentages as well as specify the dimensions you specifically you want (be sure to pay attention to the padlock for aspect ratio).  You can either choose the set percentages, use the slider bar or the up and down arrows to the right of the number to set your scale.

Be sure to click Apply once you’ve made your selection for either scale or dimension.

That is one of the nice things about Silhouette Studio there is generally at least two ways to do everything!

Sizing Text:

Sizing Text is a little different.  There is one rule of thumb to remember about text.  I’m going to assume you already know how to put text into the design field.  When you enter text, it’s surrounded by a green box.  That’s the indicator that what you have is actually text (and I’ll explain why that matters later.)  If you’ve clicked off of the text box and you need to access it again; just double click on the word(s) and the green box should appear.

Text Box

While the text box is active, take your cursor and highlight the word(s) you want to resize.  Once those are highlighted click on the Text Box to the right side.

Pay attention to which font icon you choose.  The left font Lfontallows you to enter text, the one on the right, font (the one with the bar) is where you choose your text STYLE and font size.

font1At the top of this panel you should see “Arial” and then “72” pt.  72 is the font size (and as you can see from the text box above, it’s very close to an inch high.  That’s fairly huge for letters.  You can change the font size to one of the presets using down arrow beside the 72 or you can enter an arbirtrary number, it’s up to you.  When working with fonts, an Arial 72 isn’t necessarily the same size as say, a Times New Roman 72.  Each font is different, so you have to work with it to find what works for you.

A second way way you can resize your font is to treat it the same way you did when working with images.  You can click on it once, and then drag any of the corners in our out to adjust the size.  The nice part is at least with version 4.1.206; it leaves the font as, well a font.

In previous versions a while back, if you used this method, it turned it into an IMAGE; and you lost the ability to change the words or the font; and it didn’t scale it in the font size window.  This is a VAST improvement over the previous version.  That’s AWESOME!

So there you have it.  How to size an image and text!







Making Test Cuts

If you’ve ever had a blade cut into your mat, or not get a clean cut, you know the importance of test cuts.

For years, I was a “fly by the seat of my pants” cutter.  I never did test cuts.  Not ever.  More often than not, I got a pretty good cut; but when I didn’t, it was a nightmare and totally frustrating.  I went to an All Things Silhouette Conference and one of the instructors made a point that the settings in the silhouette software are just really good educated guesses, and that in order to get a really good kiss cut, you need to do a test cut.  Not just every time you change material or your blade, but everytime you cut.

She explained that there are many factors that go into the settings and the software and the people who devised them can’t account for everything.  As an example; the humidity (or lack of humidity) can affect your cutting.

So to actually DO a test cut.  add the material you’re using to your mat and load it as normal.  Go to the cut settings window and choose your material, your action; and then the tool you intend to use; then scroll down to the bottom and choose “test”


When you’re done with the cut (it should only take a few seconds); unload your mat and grab your weeding tool.  In the top corner of your mat, you should see a square with a triangle inside.  Take your weeding tool and pick at the corner of the square, it should come away from the mat cleanly leaving the triangle stuck to the mat. There should be a very slight cut mark on your mat (but only a slight one).

If this doesn’t happen, then you need to adjust your cut settings.

Your cut settings are  midway down on the cut settings panel listed directly under the material, action and blade type. As you can see from the snip below; it lists the material and the action you’ve chosen and then the settings.

Cut settings

The dial is the blade, then next to it is speed (5); the force (10) and Passes (1).

Blade is the depth of the blade on a blade other than the deep cut, it goes from 0 to 10 (deep cut goes from 0 to 20).  The lower the number, the shorter the blade is.

The speed is what it says, the speed of the machine when cutting.  Depending on what you’re cutting, sometimes you can go a little faster, or you may need to slow the blade down to give a chance to get through the material rather than have it skip along the surface or try to drag its way through.

Force is the amount of downward pressure the carriage (or toolholder as some people call it) puts on the blade.  This is where minute adjustments are made.  the higher the force, the more pressure is applied.

Passes is the number of times you’re asking the machine to make that particular cut.

So, back to looking at the test cut we just made.  The blade adjustments are for large jumps in settings; and force is for small increments.  Start with force an when you’ve gone all the way up to 33 then jump up a blade setting and start from about midway (roughly 15) and continue test and adjusting the force again until you’re content.

Now here’s the bad news… after you’ve gone through all this and you have your perfect cut; keep in mind that this can change daily, weekly, hourly and even with different brands of the same material type.

Yes, it’s a lot to go through to get the perfect cut, or you can be content with “good enough”.  I’m okay with my blade marking up my mats, as long as there are no gouges or anything deeper than a scratch I’m good.

As with lots of other things in life, you have to find what works for you and what you can live with.  For me, life’s too short to worry about scratching up my mats.




Silhouette Cameo 3 vs. Curio

I see lots of posts on Facebook asking about the differences between these two Silhouette machines.  While I’m no expert, I do have both and I’ve actually used them both enough to be able to talk about them both.


I think the best way to start is to talk about what about them is the same.  To start with, they both use the same software Silhouette Studio.  They both cut paper and vinyl with equal ease as well.  The Cameo 3 and the Curio both have a dual carriage (meaning you can use more than one tool on a project and with inserting pauses and assigning cut colors, you really only have to send it to cut once, but you can use any number of tools.

Honestly, there’s where a lot of the similarities end.  Bear with me here, and I’ll explain.

Cutting Size:The first thing you notice is that a Cameo 3 can use a 12″ x 12″ mat and a 12″ x 24″ mat (and no mat at all).  The Curio can only cut 8.5″ x 6″; and 8.5″ x 12″.  The Cameo can cut up to a length of 10′ (or more); which the Curio has a hard limit of 12″ in length.

Cutting Mechanics:The Cameo can cut one of two ways; either with a mat or without; but the Curio must use at least a base with the sticky mat.  You cannot cut without the base in the machine, the software won’t even recognize the machine without the base inserted. While the Cameo can either cut or draw (actually “plot”); the Curio is able to do that plus, emboss, stipple, etch and tool (leather).

Cutting Depth:The Cameo can only cut materials that are 2mm thick; while the Curio can cut up to 5mm.

Materials:  As I said before, the Cameo and Curio can both cut paper and vinyl with ease; but only the Curio can etch acrylic, metal, cut/emboss/tool leather and clay.  The Curio applies more downward pressure than the Cameo thanks to the platform system, it’s able to accept thicker materials.

While both can cut clay; it has to be 1mm or less to be cut with the Cameo; which makes it very thin.

I feel the need to interject a side note here.  I’ve been asked several times about which machine can cut sugar sheets or fondant.  The answer requires me to ask two questions.  Have you ever cut anything with the machine before?  Do you intend to use this machine to cut anything other than fondant/sugar?  If the answer to either of these questions is yes; the answer to your question is neither.  Neither machine has the ability to be cleaned well enough to not have tiny bits of whatever you’re been cutting before end up in the sugar or fondant; so it’ not food safe.  No, not even if you change the blade.  It just can’t be cleaned well enough to pass for food grade use.

Tools:  The Cameo and Curio have 6 tools in common.  The auto blade, the ratchet, the deep cut blade, the premium blade, Pens and the CB09 off-market blade. There are two ways to use Pens.  One is to use Silhouette pens and just simply insert them into the tool holder; a second is to use a pen holder and your own pens.  Silhouette has a penholder; and there’s also an off-market one that can be used.

The Curio has specific other tools that cannot cross over to the Cameo.  These are the Fine and Wide embossing tool, the etching and stippling tool; in addition to several off-market tools (Amy Chomas Blunt, Etching and new Precision Etching tool to name three).

So I hope you can see that both machine have their place; and each machine has things they can do, and can do them well. The best advice I can give, is to think about the projects you do (and might want to do in the future).  It really is a matter of using the right machine for the right project.






Exporting/Backing up your Libraries

Since we’re coming up to the beginning of a new month, I thought it might be a good idea to discuss how to backup your libraries.  I say libraries because you actually have two, your local user library which is where your recent downloads and your personal designs are saved; and your cloud library.

It’s a very good idea to export your library at least monthly and any time you make an upgrade or update to your software.  I can’t really stress the importance of keeping a backup of your library somewhere other than on your hard drive.  I recommend that you buy a thumb drive (also called a USB drive) to store your library on.  I also suggest that you keep at least two versions of your library on that thumb drive (the newest version and the next newest version).

So let’s get started.

Insert your thumb drive into a USB port and open the Windows Explorer.  Locate the drive letter assigned to the USB drive.  In my case, my laptop assigned the letter D to this USB:

drive letter

Then Open your Silhouette Studio Software and click on your library tab.

Left click once on Local User and then right click and choose ‘Export Local Library’Export2

The Export Library dialog box will appear.

Scroll down the left side of the dialog box and click once on the designated letter for your USB drive (in my case, it’s the D drive.

Export 3

The file name that’s automatically given by the silhouette software is My Library.studio_library.  I change the name to “My Local User Library_010118.studio_library”; (replacing the 010118 with the current date). By making this change I can tell which is the local user library and which is the cloud library and when they were last exported.Export 4

It will take a few minutes for your library to export to the thumb drive.  Do NOT remove the thumb drive from the USB port until it’s finished.

Next scroll down to your cloud library (your email address), and log in.  Once you’re logged in, repeat the process above but with the following exception:

When saving the file rename it to “My Cloud Library_010118” (using the current date).

As I said earlier, I keep the last two copies of both the cloud and the local user library on my thumb drive.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “It’s a cloud library, I don’t need to export it, that’s the point of a cloud library; it’s safely stored somewhere else”.

The answer to this is yes and no.  Yes, it’s stored on the cloud and it SHOULD be safe; but things happen.  I have seen instances where people have updated or upgraded their software only for a fluke to happen and they lose their cloud.  In that instance, the only way to get it back is to re-download all your purchased designs again.

Something to consider, though is that I’ve never heard of someone losing only their Cloud; usually it’s both (as in everything was wiped out of the library).  The local user library is the one that’s not easy to get back.  You would have to know where you downloaded all of your designs and then download them all again.  The real problem is any designs that you created are LOST.  Yes, LOST as in forever.  You can’t get them back.  Period. There is no way to get them back and the Silhouette America Technical Support can’t help you.

Silhouette Blades

We’re going to dive right in and talk about the one thing that people ask me most about… Blades for the Silhouette Cameo and Curio.


The picture above shows four of the five blades currently offered for Silhouette and/or Cameo.

All of the blades in the picutre (and the Premium blade that’s not in the picture) are available for use on the Silhouette Cameo and we’ll discuss the differences in blades.

From left to right, we have the Ratchet, the Fabric the Deepcut and the Autoblade.

The Ratchet blade has a black plastic outer body and is the most used blade for both machines.  It’s adjusted manually using either the included tool; or a hole in the silhouette machine (for the Cameo it’s on the left side of the mat area, and for the Curio it’s on the base). The blade settings are from 0 to 10 (0 being no blade, and 10 being fully extended).  To change the blade you would insert the blade housing into the hole and turn it to the right until the correct depth is set (you should hear and feel a slight click as the blade advances).  This blade can be used for a number of materials (anything from scrapbook paper to cardstock to chipboard)

The Fabric blade is exactly the same as the ratchet blade with one exception.  The housing is blue, not black.  Everything else is 100% the same.

Not pictured is the Premium Blade.  It looks the same as the DeepCut blade, except that the top of the blade is a metallic blue and not silver.

Next in the picture (third from the left is the DeepCut Blade.  This blade has a white housing with a silver top.  It has a twist feature to set the blade from 0 to 20.  From 0 to 10; the blade settings on this tool are the same as the Ratchet and Fabric blade; but 11 to 20 are what gives this blade its name.  As you move past the 10th setting a blue ring extends between the housing the red top that covers the actual blade. As the blade moves to 20 the blue ring will become larger.  This blade can be used for thicker items such as craft foam, leather and clay.

Fourth in the picture is the Autoblade.  It can only be used  the Silhouette Cameo 3. It will not fit in any earlier versions of the Cameo and it will not work in the Curio. This blade autoadjusts based on the material setting you choose, or whatever adjustments you made in the software.  The auto blade can cut all the same materials that the ratchet, fabric and premium blades can cut; but it cannot cut the same as the deepcut blade.

So now that we have a quick overview of blades, let’s do a little Q and A.

Q: What blade will cut sheet metal?
A:  None.  There are no Silhouette blades that will actually CUT metal.

Q:  What blade will cut acrylic?
A: None

Q: “If I change it in the software, do I still have to adjust the blade?”
A: Yes.  Unless you’re using the Autoblade, then it will adjust automatically.

Q: “When I put in my auto blade, it makes this loud tapping noise over on the
left side.  Is this normal”?
A: Yes, it’s how the blade adjusts.

Q: My blade won’t cut correctly (skipping or won’t cut at all; what’s wrong?

  1.  If you go to the send tab in the software, are your red cut lines showing on the selected image? If not, you’ll need to either select your image and make sure one of the cut choices is chosen, or if it’s a picture you brought into the software and it’s not an .svg or .studio3 file, have you traced it?
  2. Is your blade all the way in the machine and locked down (there should be no space between the blade and the lock.  The lock should be fully engaged.
  3.  Is there anything stuck in your blade? The bottom of the blade where the blade actually comes out of the housing can be unscrewed to check for debris.
  4. How old is your blade and what have you used it to cut?  If you’ve used it to cut glitter or cardstock, I would suggest you replace your blade with a fresh one and try again.  Glitter and cardstock are two very difficult materials to cut.
  5. Is your mat clean and free of debris?
  6. Is your blade an autoblade?  If yes, try the cut again with a ratchet blade that’s been manually adjusted.


Silhouette Company and TJC Licensing

I thought it best to get this little bit of business out of the way right off the start.

Silhouette doesn’t offer any sort of licensing or certification for teaching tools and techniques with their machines; and as far as anyone knows, there is no program in the works to do so in the foreseeable future.

What they have done is endorse Terry Johnson and her licensing program.  It’s as close as we’re going to get to actual licensing or certification on anything; and I’m copying the endorsement from Silhouette below, in case there are any doubts.

“As the popularity of Silhouette machines continues to grow, more and more people feel the need for ‘hands-on’ help in learning to get the most from their machines. In recognizing and understanding the need for further hands-on training, Terri Johnson has developed the Terri Johnson Creates Instructor Licensing Program. This program provides Instructor Licensees the tools and curriculum needed to return to their home areas and provide lessons & events throughout the country. Terri Johnson Creates Instructor Licensing Program is an independent program not audited by Silhouette America, which is created & taught by Terri Johnson Creates. Silhouette America supports Terri Johnson Creates through sponsorship and products, and encourages her efforts to promote and provide training solutions through her independent Instructor Licensing Program.”

Brian Hubler
Chief Operating Officer
Silhouette America, Inc.

I also have this is writing in case anyone would like to see it.