Illustrator Designs into Silhouette Studio

So, you just bought your new Silhouette machine and it came with Silhouette Studio.  Okay, maybe I’m the only new one here – but maybe you just want to add your own designs without making them directly in the Stuido.  Well, I give you the easiest tutorial for that exact action!

I graduated as a graphic designer in 2008 – I learned Adobe Illustrator while in school and love it.  I just recently acquired a Silhouette Cameo and already had designs that I wanted to use, saved in Illustrator.  So I search online and find tutorials for use with the SD, and another one about using the “trace” option which was just terrible!  What is a girl to do?

So, I came to a conclusion that I needed to figure this out or continue my stressful search online through blogs, videos, etc.  Here is how you transfer your designs!

Step 1: Create your desired design.  Save as an .ai file in case you lose your work.

Step 2: Make sure all of your shapes are with NO FILL, NO STROKE – just paths.

Step 3: Select parts of your design that might be grouped together or have a compound path.  Ungroup EVERYTHING – each group must be clicked on to separate individually.  Release EVERY compound path.

Step 4: DO NOT HIT SAVE!  You will lose your original file.  Under file, choose “EXPORT…”  Under format, choose: AutoCAD Interchange File (dxf).

Step 5: Open Silhouette Studio.  At the top, open your .dxf file.  If it opens and some parts are missing, go back to your file to where they are missing and be sure to release compound paths, ungroup, and choose no fill/stroke.

Step 6: Send to Silhouette!  That’s right, you’re done!  All those dark lines will cut, you just weed out what you don’t need and you’re finished!

I hope this saves someone from endless searching online.


57 thoughts on “Illustrator Designs into Silhouette Studio

  1. Thanks do much for posting this. I have had my Silhouette SD for 3 years and have only used it a handful of times. The software is okay, but Illustrator is so much better. I just exported my dfx and imported it into the studio program. Now ready to cut. Thanks again!

  2. I’m receiving my silhouette today and can’t wait to try this out. Most of my work side work is done on Illustrator so glad to hear I can easily make my own designs.. Can’t wait! Thanks for info..

  3. Thank you so much. I was shortly before despairing when I read your Blog. My English is not really good, but I have understood immediately what I must do. I have tried it immediately and now am really euphoric. Many greetings from Germany. 🙂

  4. Just found this and it worked perfectly! I have used the trace option as well and it worked just fine on the not so intricate designs. Thanks for the tip!

  5. BLESS YOUR HEART!!! All the online tutorials and blogs say that you can use dxf files with the cameo without tracing, but you are the only one that said that it will cut the black lines (that it doesn’t have to be traced)! Thank you so much you just saved me hours of frustration!!!

  6. WOW!!… Thanks a lot for the tip!!… Just bought my silhouette and went crazy with this thing because i couldn’t figure out hou to export/import my ai files into the studio version!!…

  7. Thank you so so much for figuring this out! I could not find directions anywhere and the Silhouette manual was no help at all but I followed your directions and it worked perfectly!! Thank you!!!!

  8. Excellent! worked really well. Just a quick question tho .. when I open dxf file the image is slightly smaller than the original size. am i doing something wrong?? Selecting all and dragging back to right size works fine but wondered why this happens?

  9. just a quick question…the design opens and fills the whole window. is there a way to make it the size that i created it in illustrator without trying to adjust once it opens in silhouette?

    • Hello,

      Not sure if you were able to figure this out or not. You want to make sure that after you create the outlines, that you ungroup and remove any compound paths. 🙂

      Good luck!

  10. you are a GENIUS!!! Thank you very much for this!!!. I paid a lot of money for Silhouette Cameo and I didn’t want to pay more for the Designer Edition, because I want to design on Illustrator. Thanks THANKS!!!

  11. You Are Amazing!!!! I’ve had my Silhouette for over a year and have been struggling with this feature. I bought it specifically so I could create my own designs in Illustrator and now I can without having to deal with the horrible “Trace” feature.

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!

  12. Hello! Just wanted to say thank you for sharing this post, it saved me from having a headache wondering how to go about it hahha.. thanks again 😀

  13. Thank you, Thank you, thank you !!!!!!! I just got a cameo today, because I understood it worked with the computer and programs like Illustrator, which I use. I was despairing of having to recreate in Studio, or spend another $40 for the plug-in after just dropping +$$$.

    This is the perfect answer!!!!!.

    As an FYI, I always copy what I want to export into a new file to avoid stray points, etc, do whatever I need to (like remove fills) and then export, but don’t save. That way my base art file doesn’t get overwritten.

    Thanks, Leslie

  14. Thank you SO MUCH for this tutorial!!!! I have been endlessly searching online and came across this finally and it is a life saver.

  15. Thank you!!
    I was trying to give my mom some of my desings (.ai) and i was about to give up.
    since i learned .ai by my self i just know the basic and never occurred to me to use “export”
    My mom and i appreciate it.

  16. Thanks for the simple instructions. Worked like a charm! Mine also shrank when I got it into Silhouette Studio, compared to the size I made it in Illustrator. That’s a little annoying.

  17. thank you for posting this, i did notice that sometimes u have to open your file in the silhouette studio and then group it to keep all pieces in place before you move it. super helpful tutorial, i really appreciate it as i just got a machine and am an illustrator pro and wnated to use my existing art with this cutter. thanks again!

  18. Hi there, I am using Illustrator to make text up using Glyphs which SD cannot handle as it doesn’t know what the glyphs are. So when I save as DXF and then open in SD, it doesn’t recognise the image\text. Do you know of any other way to get text\glyphs designed in Illustrator into SD for cutting?

    • Have you found your answer? Sorry I haven’t logged in in a while. I know with regular text it needs converted to paths but glyphs I’ve never played with for SD cutting. So very sorry.

  19. THIS. Oh thank you so much. That trace function is garbage and finding out how to TRULY use Illustrator designs with their sorry ass software is a Godsend. I’m going to have to go back and redo so many cut files. THANK YOU!

  20. YAY!!!! I just ordered a Silhouette Cameo and have been trying to do some proactive learning to make it easier when it gets here. I’m a graphic designer and LOVE illustrator – this was exactly what I was looking for! Thank you so so much!!!

  21. Unfortunatelt no solution.. everything is already ungrouped and no paths ( one line of text and one image). Keeps lossing that line of text and the image…

    • What do you mean no paths, compound paths you mean? Everything needs to be a regular path. Did you convert your text to a path, ungrouped and removed compound paths? Be sure there is no fill or stroke colors selected. Export it just like mentioned and it should work. It’s hard to know what the problem is by the minimal information given.

  22. Hi adpadgett! i will make the image again, i made it in photoshop and then opened it in illustrator. eveyrthing is a path i ungrouped everything but there are no compound paths i can remove, the option isnt available. The below line( all text) is no problem, but abpven where i have the line of text and an image, keeps being blocked out. When putting on an outline, same story… Im not sure where the problem is anymore….

  23. When converting text to path, it already lieaves the mentioned text and image out, just the half of the image. The option compound paths is grey and not clickable the whole time.

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