Silhouette Studio: Taking the Fear Out of Version 4 – An Overview

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When Silhouette Studio Version 4.1 was released to the public in mid-2017, it introduced a host of wonderful new features. Yet here it is, almost a year later, and I continue to run across Silhouette users working in Version 3 because they are afraid to update. While I can understand their trepidation (change is hard!), I also know they are missing out on so much! If you’ve been nervous about updating, it’s time to take the plunge! Read on as I help you take the fear out of Version 4…

Looking for more articles in this series? You can find them by clicking on the following links:
Silhouette Studio: Taking the Fear Out of Version 4 – Page Setup Panel
Silhouette Studio: Taking the Fear Out of Version 4 – Send Panel
Silhouette Studio: Taking the Fear Out of Version 4 – Quick Access Tool Bar (Part 1)

Updating your version of Silhouette Studio is nothing to be afraid of. However, I do want to emphasize some important points before we move on:

  1. Silhouette America is constantly updating and improving their software. With these updates, there are bound to be bugs and glitches from time to time, due to any number of factors. The Silhouette developers are constantly working to correct these issues as they arise and often there is a very simple solution. If you have updated and are experiencing problems, one option is to download and install one of the earlier versions of 4.1 (known as a “legacy version”). Legacy versions are readily available on the Silhouette America website (https://www.silhouetteamerica.com/software) – yet another reason why I love Silhouette!
  2. It is always good practice to maintain regular backups of your Silhouette library, but even more so when you are updating from one version to another. For more information on how to create a backup of your library, go to https://www.silhouetteamerica.com/faq/solution/backing-up-the-library. If you are updating from a pre-cloud version of Silhouette Studio (Version 3.6 or earlier), you will need to re-index your library before making the backup file. Information on how to do this can be found here.
  3. Keep in mind that the Silhouette cloud is a syncing service, not a storage backup for files that are user-created or downloaded from sources other than the Silhouette Design Store. A copy of these files should be stored in a location separate from the Silhouette cloud or your Silhouette library. (I save all my designs, other than those purchased from the Design Store, to the hard drive of my computer and back them up to an external hard drive.)

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about what you can expect to see when you launch Silhouette Studio Version 4.


The Interface

The first thing you will notice is that the interface looks MUCH different. Not only are many of the icons in different places, but everything is a different color. If you don’t like the default colors of Version 4.1, instructions for how to adjust your display preferences can be found here.


Document Tabs

The document tabs are now across the top of the screen rather than at the bottom.


Tools & Icons

The drop-down menus listed across the top of the screen along with the icons for “New Drawing”, “Open”, “Save”, and many of the tools listed on the left-hand side of the screen remain basically the same, but some have moved. Tools indicated by Icons on the upper right of the screen can now be found in a column on the right-hand side of the screen.    

  1. “New Drawing”, “Open” and “Save” icons
  2. Zoom tools
  3. Select & Edit Points tools
  4. Shape drawing tools
  5. Freehand drawing tools
  6. Text tool
  7. Eraser & Knife tools
  8. “Show Drawing Area”, “Show Library”, and “Show Design Store” icons
  9. Color and pattern fill options
  10. Image effects, Rhinestones, and Offset tools
  11. Line Color & Line Style
  12. Text Styles
  13. Move, Rotate, Scale, Shear, Align, Replicate, and Nesting
  14. Modify & Trace tools
  15. Design Page Settings


Cut Settings

And probably one of the most significant differences is the addition of the Send tab, which replaces the “Cut Settings” and “Send to Silhouette” icons found in Version 3. Clicking on the Send tab will open a menu that allows you to preview your cut file and determine the material type, tool action, and tool type, as well as fine-tune the blade settings.


I hope you’ve found this overview helpful and that you’ll now be encouraged to update to the latest version of Silhouette Studio. The changes in appearance and the relocation of certain tools and shortcut icons may take a bit of getting used to, but once you’ve had a chance to try the new features available, I think you’ll wonder why you waited so long to make the switch. Still scared to update? Join me over the next few weeks as I explain each section in more detail. Together, we’ll take the fear out of Version 4!

Until next time,




This post may contain affiliate advertising. This means that if you click on a link in the post, I may make a commission based on your purchase. The price you pay for the product or service is not higher, and the commissions I earn help keep Caught by Design online. Thanks for your support!

Other posts in this series:
Silhouette Studio: Taking the Fear Out of Version 4 – Page Setup Panel
Silhouette Studio: Taking the Fear Out of Version 4 – Send Panel
Silhouette Studio: Taking the Fear Out of Version 4 – Quick Access Tool Bar (Part 1)

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