A handy trick for those of you who don’t want to upgrade to Silhouette Studio Designer edition but still want the convenience of using SVG files, there’s an easy (and free way) to convert SVG files to another format that works with the free version of the software.
There are several ways to do this, but first, I want to explain why using SVGs with your Silhouette will make life much easier. If you have an image (in JPG or PNG format for example) and you open it up in Silhouette Studio, you’ll have to use the tracing feature to convert it into a cut file. Without this step, the Silhouette won’t know where to cut. Those of you who have used Silhouette Studio are no doubt aware of just how challenging the trace feature can be. With SVG files, on the other hand, the Silhouette software automatically recognizes all the lines in the image as cut lines.
So if you want to use SVG files, all you have to do is download the original SVG file, and convert it into another format – namely a DXF file. There are three ways to do that. Read more in the blog post below or watch this video to see each option in action:
If you already have Adobe Illustrator, you can convert your SVG files to DXF files using the programs Export feature. Open your SVG file in Illustrator and make sure that you’ve clicked on the image you want to convert. Go to File > Export. In the dialog box that pops up, you can (optionally) choose a new name for your file, and in the drop-down menu for ‘Save as type’, select AutoCAD Interchange File (*.DXF), and click the Export button.
Another dialog box with DXF export options will open up, where you can just leave all the settings as is, and click OK. This is what you should see:
Now if you don’t already have Illustrator, it’s a pricey investment for such a simple feature, and you might as well upgrade to Silhouette Studio Designer edition, since you’ll get a lot of other features you can use with your Silhouette. But Illustrator isn’t the only way you can convert SVG files to DXF. There are several free websites that offer this service.
Of these sites, Convertio offers quite a few useful features. With a free account, you get 25 conversion minutes per day. I converted two small files (totaling 18KB in size) and it used 2 conversion minutes. If you need more than that, you can upgrade to a paid account for $10.99 a month, which will get you unlimited conversions. There are a few more options which you can explore here.
You can convert files on your computer, or saved in Dropbox, Google Drive, or from any URL online. (This has to be a direct URL to the SVG file, meaning it has to end in .SVG. This might prove to be less useful as a lot of SVG files tend to be bundled online as ZIP files). The website does limit you to a maximum file size of 100MB, but you can batch convert files and save them to your computer, Google Drive, or Dropbox. With a free account, files are saved in your account for 24 hours, and you download them individually, or as one ZIP file.
With CloudConvert, you can also batch convert SVG files to DXF, and get 25 conversion minutes free per day. Registering for a free account on both sites would probably be more than enough to cover your conversion needs without having to upgrade to a paid option.
So while the websites above are super convenient, they come with limits, and you have to have access to an internet connection to use them. A completely free, and offline option, is Inkscape. This free Mac/Windows software makes it easy to convert SVG files to DXF files. Open up the file in Inkscape, and click File > Save as and from the dropdown menu for the various file types, select DXF.
If you’re on a Mac and are having trouble installing Inkscape, there are two things to keep in mind. First make sure that you install XQuartz first, as it says on the Inkscape website, and restart your machine. If it’s still not working, on your Mac, go to System Preferences > Security and Privacy and under the General tab, where it says Allow apps downloaded from, make sure that you have Anywhere selected.
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How do you convert SVG files to use in Silhouette Studio? Share your thoughts in the comments.