Silhouette Studio Hacks You Need To Know

These Silhouette Studio tips and tricks will help you learn the software and make your life easier!

If you own a Silhouette machine, you won’t want to miss this! Today I’m sharing all of the little shortcuts, hacks and tips to help you use Silhouette Studio. I have spent countless hours there and have picked up a few tricks that are pretty helpful, so I thought I would share them all with you today. And don’t fret, there’s even a video tutorial with screenshots so you can learn how to do everything.

silhouette studio hacks

This post is brought to you in partnership with Silhouette America

What is Silhouette Studio?

Silhouette Studio is the design software that runs your Silhouette machine. When you purchase a Silhouette machine, the instructions will walk you through how to download the software.

Which Version of Silhouette Studio Should I Use?

Silhouette Studio is available in four different versions: Basic Edition, Designer Edition, Designer + Edition and Business Edition. The Basic Edition is free and is great for beginners or those who don’t do a lot of designing, but just want to cut basic designs or files downloaded from the Silhouette Design Store. If you are on the fence about whether to buy a Silhouette or a Cricut, you can download the free software and play around with it to help you decide. The paid versions of the software have more capabilities and features. 

Compare all of the different editions of the Silhouette Studio software here to see which is the best fit for you.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get to the hacks! Here are some little tips and tricks that I have learned that make it easier to use Silhouette Studio.

Scroll down if you’d rather watch the video.

Silhouette Studio Hacks

#1: Fit To Window

If you’re working in Silhouette Studio, sometimes you have to zoom in really close to line things up or adjust parts of your design. HACK: Instead of zooming out a bunch of times and feeling lost, you can re-center your mat within the screen with the click of one button. It’s right here:

silhouette studio fit to window button

#2: Precise Shape Sizing

Have you ever tried making a shape a specific size and had a hard time dragging it to the exact right dimensions? There’s an easier way to make a shape a certain size! Draw the shape you want, then while it is still highlighted, look up in the bar above the work area. You’ll see two boxes where you can type in the width and height of the box. Boom! So much easier!

silhouette studio object sizing

#3: Custom Media Size

Sometimes it can be hard to guess if everything you want to cut will fit on the scrap piece of paper or vinyl you want to use. To help with that, you can adjust the media size. Click on the Page Setup window, then click “Media Size” > Custom and enter the measurements of the scrap material you are working with. Then you can resize and arrange your cuts to fit without worrying about an edge getting cut off.

silhouette studio change media size

#4: Test Cut

Have you ever cut out a full page of a project only to realize that you set the cut settings wrong? Gah! That’s the worst! I can’t tell you how many pieces of vinyl I have wasted! To avoid this problem, you can do a test cut. Feed your cutting material into the machine like normal (mat or matless), then adjust your cut settings in the SEND window. The click the button near the bottom that says TEST CUT.

silhouette studio test cut

The machine will cut a tiny square with a triangle in it from the top left hand side of your material. Remove the material and check to see that you can weed the square away from the triangle properly and then make adjustments to your cut settings as necessary.

silhouette studio test cut vinyl

No more wasted vinyl that only got half cut. Hurray!

#5: Keyboard Shortcuts

Everyone knows what Control S does or Control P, but did you know that there are a TON of keyboard shortcuts in Silhouette Studio? They are awesome! There’s even a handy cheat sheet you can print out and refer to while you’re working. To access the keyboard shortcut reference page, click HELP > USER’S MANUAL. Did you know there was an entire user’s manual hidden right there? Boom! A hack within a hack!

silhouette studio user's manual

Once you’ve opened the user’s manual, scroll to the very last page and you’ll see the shortcuts. Print that baby out and use it while you’re learning and pretty soon you’ll be a keyboard shortcut ninja!

silhouette studio keyboard shortcuts

#6: Alignment and Spacing

I often find myself wanting to cut out multiples of the same shape. Instead of creating each circle or star individually and trying to get them all in a straight line, you can use the automatic alignment and spacing button. Just copy and paste the design you want to duplicate it, then select all of the images by clicking in empty space and dragging across everything you want to select. Click on the alignment button here:

silhouette studio alignment and spacing

The first six buttons will line up each of your designs. The bottom two buttons will automatically space the selected designs evenly. Place the first circle and the last circle where you want them, then click the horizontal spacing button and all of your circles will magically be spaced perfectly.

#7: Explore All The Buttons and Tabs

This post is getting really long, so I’ll wrap it up for today, but I wanted to share one last tip that really helped me learn what my machine can do. Spend some time clicking around on each of the tab options on the right hand side. There are a ton of hidden gems over there that will help you do all kinds of cool things. If you spend a bit of time experimenting when you’re not actually working on something, it will pay you back in time savings some day when you remember one of the features you tested.

learning silhouette studio

Silhouette Studio Hacks VIDEO


I am a totally self-taught Silhouette user and wannabe designer and I have learned so much by simply TRYING. And I know you can do the same! Get in there and play around and see what happens.

Hopefully there were some good little nuggets of information for you in this post. If you have a favorite tip, share them in the comments so we can all learn from you. Thanks for being here and happy crafting!


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