Silhouette Studio: Which Edition is right for you?

The terminology used in connection with Silhouette Studio® can be quite confusing – especially when it comes to UPDATES vs. UPGRADES. In a nutshell, updates are fixes and enhancements to the program and there’s never a charge for them. Upgrades, on the other hand, are different levels of software and each level adds to the basic features of Silhouette Studio®. While updates are free, an upgrade must be purchased.

I purchased Designer Edition at the same time I bought my original Cameo and it has been money well spent. When I decided to become a licensed instructor, I upgraded to Business Edition – yet I only had to pay for the incremental price difference between Designer Edition and Business Edition, not the full price of Business Edition, which is another thing I love about the Silhouette America software!

With the release of Version 4.1, there are now more reasons than ever to consider upgrading. But how do you know which level is right for YOU? To help you decide, here’s a summary of each edition and it’s included features:


Basic Edition

MSRP: FREE (You do not have to own a machine to download the software.)

  • Ability to cut shapes from the Silhouette Design Store
  • Ability to create designs using shapes, images, fonts, etc (including Print & Cut designs)
  • Ability to trace images and convert to cuttable shapes
  • Grid display
  • Basic knife & eraser tools
  • Ability to send designs to be cut on your Silhouette SD, Portrait, Cameo, or Curio

Supported file types: .png, .jpeg, .bmp, .gif, .tiff, .gsd/.gst, .dxf (limited)

NEW in Version 4.1

  • Font Style lists include frequently used and recently used fonts.
  • Sticky notes
  • Pop-up Creator (basic)



Purchasers of an upgrade receive a license key that can be applied on up to THREE personal computers. This license key is for ONE USER only and is directly linked to your Silhouette account.

Designer Edition

MSRP: $49.99

ALL features of the Basic Edition PLUS:

  • Rulers and guides
  • Layers
  • Advanced knife & eraser tools
  • Advanced Sketch menu
  • Ability to create rhinestone patterns
  • Advanced Trace features (Trace by Color and Magnet Trace)
  • Ability to import custom fill patterns to library
  • Ability to transfer properties from one shape to another using the eyedropper tool.
  • Ability to adjust the center of rotation
  • Nesting

Additional supported file types: .svg, .pdf

NEW in Version 4.1

  • Text Style panel includes Glyphs tab
  • Ability to organize fonts into folders and subfolders
  • Pop-up Creator (advanced)
  • Warp tool


Designer Edition Plus

MSRP: $74.99

ALL features of Basic Edition and Designer Edition, PLUS:

  • Import most major embroidery file types (PES, DST, EXP, JEF, and XXX)
  • Isolate placement stitch to create cut lines for fabric (applique projects)
  • Use embroidery lines as a cut file
  • Advanced rhinestone features:
    • create custom rhinestone shapes
    • view rhinestone designs with a photo-realistic preview
    • place your rhinestones along a path, as a fill, or individually
    • combine multiple rhinestones
    • adjust the rhinestone spacing and orientation

NEW in Version 4.1

  • Conical Warp


Business Edition

MSRP: $99.99

ALL features of Basic Edition, Designer Edition, and Designer Edition Plus,  PLUS:

  • Multi-cutter support
  • Integration with Silhouette Connect
  • Automated weed lines
  • Design View vs. Media Layout View
  • Matrix Copy
  • Media Layout Nesting
  • Tiling

Additional supported file types: .ai, .eps, .cdr

NEW in Version 4.1

  • Multiple Undo/Redo
  • Ability to export files as SVG, PDF, or JPEG (Note: Silhouette Design Store files cannot be exported as SVGs.)


If you’ve been thinking about upgrading your software, I hope this comparison has been helpful to you. I love what I can do with my upgraded software and it’s a decision I don’t think you’ll regret. If you have any specific questions, feel free to leave a comment below or visit me on Facebook.

Until next time,







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