In Part 1 of my “Taking the Fear Out of Version 4” series, I highlighted the differences between Silhouette Studio Version 4 and its predecessor, Version 3. I also discussed some important points to keep in mind before updating your Studio software. If you missed that post, you can find it here. Now it’s time to get down to the nuts and bolts of working in Silhouette Studio Version 4, beginning with the Page Setup Panel.
When creating a design (or setting up a purchased design to cut on your machine), it is crucial that the page settings in Studio match your actual page/materials and the mat you will be using (or that you have adjusted the settings to “No Mat”). Let me repeat that: it is crucial that the page settings in Studio match your actual page/materials and the mat you will be using!
To set up your page in Studio, first make sure you are in Design view. This view is accessible by clicking on the Design tab located on the top right-hand side of the screen.
From there, click on the top icon in the column on the right to open the Page Setup Panel.
At the top of the Page Setup Panel, you will see a row of three icons. Clicking on each one will navigate to a different section of the panel – Page Size, Grid, and Registration Marks.
The first section is “Page Size”. In this section, you will determine the size of your design page, which mat you will be using (or the “No Mat” option), and how the design page and mat will appear on your screen.
Size – Choose from a menu of pre-set page sizes including:
*the default size for your connected machine (Cameo, Portrait, or Curio)
*the page size that matches the most recent printer accessed by the Studio software (page size is determined by the printer settings)
*US letter size (8.5 in. x 11 in.)
*12 in. x 12 in.
*Stamp (6.0 in. x 7.5 in.) – (for use with Silhouette stamp materials, NOT the Mint)
*the A series of international paper sizes
*select “Custom” to enter your own width and height settings
Width – the maximum width you can enter depends on which machine you will be using. For the Portrait and Curio, the maximum width is 8.5 inches and for the Cameo it is 12 inches. Silhouette America recommends a minimum width of 3 inches.
Height – the maximum cutting length for the Portrait and Cameo is 10 feet, but Silhouette America recommends a maximum height of 40 inches when setting up your page. When the cutting length exceeds 40 inches, there is a greater chance that the media will become misaligned as it passes under the rollers. For Curio, the maximum height will depend on which base you have installed (6 inches for the small base and 12 inches for the large base). As with the width, the minimum size recommendation is 3 inches.
Note: In practice, my page size settings depend a lot on what I’m working on. Most of the time, I leave the settings at the default size for the machine I’m using. If needed, I will draw a shape (such as a rectangle or circle) to use as a reference for sizing a finished design and set the reference shape to “No Cut”. When I’m designing a Print & Cut file, my page is set to letter size unless I’m printing on a wide-format printer. If I’m using a 12 in. x 24 in. mat, I’ll match my page settings to the mat. If I’m working on something larger than the mat, I will enter the exact dimensions of my finished design (even if height exceeds 40 inches) and then decide if I should divide the design into smaller sections before I cut. Find what works for you and go with it!
Orientation – choose whether to have your page displayed tall (portrait) or wide (landscape).
Cutting Mat – if you are cutting without a mat, select “None”. Otherwise, select the mat you will be using with your machine.
Reveal – the percentage shown here indicates how much of the mat will be visible in the workspace. The slider can be moved anywhere between 0.0% and 100.0%. At 0.0%, the design page is solid white, obscuring the lines and numbers that correspond to the lines and numbers printed on the actual mat. At 100.0%, the design page is completely transparent, revealing a complete image of the mat you have selected.
Rotate – this setting adjusts the perspective from which the mat is viewed onscreen but does not affect how the machine will cut. The mat will still be loaded with the arrow pointing toward the machine and your media should be placed on the mat accordingly.
Show Print Border – checking this box will reveal a grey line indicating the printable area of the design page, as determined by your printer settings. This is very useful when creating Print & Cut designs!
Show Cut Border – when this box is checked, a red line is visible which indicates the cut borders for your project.
Tip: When both the page size and the mat are set to 12 in. x 12 in., the default cut border falls just inside the edges of the page. To adjust this setting to a full 12 in. x 12 in. cutting area, go to Edit>Preferences, click on the Defaults tab and check the box for “Cut to Edge of Page”. For more information on setting your preferences in Silhouette Studio, click here.
Print Bleed (coming in Version 4.2) – when this box is checked, images will be printed with an extended margin so that when the image is cut, no (unprinted) white space remains. This is yet another option that comes in handy when creating Print & Cut designs!
Clicking on the second icon will open up the grid options. Remember that no matter what the settings are in the grid options, the gridlines will be very faint if the Reveal Mat setting is anywhere above 75% or so and the gridlines will not be visible at all when Reveal Mat is set at 100%.
Show Grid – checking this box will cause the grid to appear on screen. This setting can also be activated by pressing “G” on the keyboard.
Snap to Grid – when this box is checked, images will “snap” to the grid almost as if pulled by a magnet. Using the shape drawing tools to draw a rectangle, rounded rectangle, or an ellipse will result in an image that is exactly the same size as the grid square that encompasses the drawing.
Show Guides (Designer Edition and above) – Guides are one of my all-time favorite tools when it comes to aligning text and images on a page! Clicking on the ruler at the top of the page creates a horizontal blue guide that can then be positioned by dragging it down with your mouse. Create a vertical guide by clicking on the ruler at the right of the screen and dragging the mouse to the left. The guide display can be toggled on/off by checking/unchecking the “Show Guides” box.
Snap to Guides (Designer Edition and above) – when this option is selected, an image placed at or near a guide will snap to the guide in much the same way as the “Snap to Grid” option. An image’s center of rotation can also be snapped to a guide, and the image can then be easily rotated around a specific point.
Ruler (Designer Edition and above) – when this option is selected, rulers will appear at both the top and the right-hand side of the screen. Rulers can also be accessed with the shortcut CTRL/CMD+R. This feature alone is worth the price of Designer Edition!
Crosshairs (Designer Edition and above) – selecting this option will cause a set of crosshairs to appear on the screen. Truthfully, I find the crosshairs annoying most of the time, but they can be useful at times for aligning objects.
Square – displays the regular grid with horizontal and vertical lines.
Isometric – displays the grid with diagonal lines; used to view 3D objects.
Spacing – adjusts the amount of space between the main (darker) gridlines. I usually keep mine set to 1 in. to match the grid spacing of the cutting mat.
Divisions – divides each grid square into smaller units, as displayed by lighter colored gridlines.
Color – allows you to customize the colors of the grid display
The last icon in the Page Setup Panel accesses the registration mark options. Registration marks are only used when creating Print & Cut designs. Registration marks can also be turned off and on by hitting “M” on the keyboard.
Style – unless you are using an older Silhouette machine such as the Silhouette SD, always select “Type 1”.
Length, Thickness, and Inset (including Advanced Options) – while it is possible to adjust the size of the registration marks as well as the margins around them, it is my recommendation that you use the default settings whenever possible in order to avoid registration sensor errors. If you have adjusted these settings and need to go back to the defaults, simply click on the “Restore Defaults” box.
Orientation – vertically mirrors the appearance of the registration marks on the printed page; may be useful depending on the design and layout of your Print & Cut.
Barcode (only available in Business Edition) – when this feature is enabled, a barcode is printed on the upper left of the page for Print & Cut designs. When the page is loaded into the Silhouette, the machine reads all the cut data directly from the barcode, without having to have the design open in Silhouette Studio.
So, there you have it! Are you surprised by how many options are available in the Page Setup Panel of Silhouette Studio Version 4? Although there are quite a few choices, you will likely be using many of the same settings over and over and soon the process of setting up your page design will become second-nature.
If you have any questions about the information I’ve shared with you today or about anything else related to the Silhouette machines or Silhouette Studio, feel free to visit me over on Facebook or leave a comment below. Be sure to come back next week when I discuss the various options available in the Send panel and let’s keep taking the fear out of Version 4!
Until next time,
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Lycia is a lifelong crafter whose goal is to help others find value, confidence, and joy in whatever they create. She geeks out on using technology to supercharge craft projects with Silhouette Studio, Design Space, Glowforge, sublimation, etc.! Lycia teaches these skills and more through online tutorials and videos as well as in-person classes at both the local and national levels.