Silhouette Studio can open a variety of file types.
This is a list of the most common file types that Silhouette Studio uses, but may not be all inclusive.
Basics of file types Silhouette Studio use
The following is a brief list and basic description of the most common file types you may encounter.
You will notice as you look at the following list, the software upgrades (Designer Edition, Designer Edition Plus, Business Edition) allow additional file types to be opened and used. I have broken it down into those levels so you know exactly what you may have access to.
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Silhouette Studio Basic Edition (free)
.Studio file type
.Studio files are the Silhouette files that download to the library direct from the Silhouette Design Store or if you download them to your computer direct, they will show like the photo below where ever you have saved them.
.Studio are proprietary files and cannot be opened in other programs. This is a cut file and opens directly in the Silhouette Studio software.
If by chance when you click on the Send tab it doesn’t have bold red cut lines, simply click on the design to select it and choose Cut. Bold red cut lines should turn on around the design.
.gst files are older Silhouette files. These will still open in the Silhouette software and are compatible. You will only see this file type if you do a direct download to your computer of the files in the Silhouette Design Store.
You may or may not see both a .studio or .gst file type in the download. It just depends on when the file was added to the Silhouette Design Store.
Png files are a photo file that can have a transparent background. This will depend on how the original image was created. It is a single layer graphic file and does not contain cut lines typically.
However, in the v4.4 software there is now the option to Autotrace a transparent png. What this means is that it will trace the outer edge of a transparent png. It does not trace individual layers and colors, but only the outside edge of the design.
There are still a few bugs in this Autotrace feature depending on what version of v4.4 you are using.
For more information on Autotrace, check out this post HERE.
If you experience issues with png files taking a long time to open or the software crashing, try turning off the Autotrace option and see if it changes for you.
With Autotrace turned off, you will need to manually trace a png file using the Trace Tools.
Jpeg files are also photo files.
They have a white background, are not cut files, and do not contain individual layers.
If you want to turn a jpeg into a cut file, it would need to be traced to get cut lines. Each file may take some different trace techniques as each image is composed of different elements.
For more on tracing check out these posts HERE.
Note: Since jpeg and png files are graphic images, they are made up of pixels. They are a flattened graphic image and the resolution is set in how it opens up. Scaling a jpeg or png file up or down can affect the image quality. You may notice this if you enlarge a jpeg or png and the edges become blurry or you get a little yellow triangle in the top left corner of the Silhouette design mat that indicates a low quality print.
Dxf files are a file type that was created in 1982 for AutoCad program. Which just means computer assisted design. So basically a computer drawing program.
It really wasn’t designed as a “cut” file.
While the Silhouette software can open a dxf file, the file itself can be larger, which can cause delayed responses when opening and working with the file. Or it can cause the software to crash as the processor on the computer cannot handle the data in the file. Dxf files can be very data heavy.
For more information on dxf file, check out this post HERE.
I would always recommend choosing a svg file over the dxf file for better cut results.
Silhouette Studio Designer Edition Upgrade
All of the file types listed below can be accessed with a Silhouette Studio upgrade of Designer Edition or higher.
For more information on software upgrades, check out the
Software Upgrades – My Favorite Features post HERE
SVG stands for scalable vector graphic. This means that they are a file type that can be scaled up or down without losing image quality.
If you are using files from outside the Silhouette Design Store, this is the file type I would recommend using. It is the higher quality cut file – Designer dependent of course.
For more information on svg files – check out these posts:
How to Open a SVG file
Reasons SVG Files Are Not Opening
Note: if a SVG file is opening in a web browser first, it is losing the svg properties. Computers default to a web browser for opening the SVG file type. Check out either post linked above on how to change the default on your computer to open a SVG file directly in the Silhouette Software. Or use File > Open in the software to open it direct.
PDFs are a common file type that we are used to seeing in other aspects of our lives, but they can also be cut files.
PDFs can be opened in the software and depending on how it was created will determine if it has cut data with it or not.
The only way to know is to use File > Open and choose Vector, then click on the Send tab and see if it comes in with cut lines.
Check out this post on Opening a PDF file in Silhouette HERE
Silhouette Studio Designer Edition Plus Upgrade
Embroidery file types – PES, DST, EXP, JEF, and XXX
Embroidery files can be fun to play with for certain projects. When opening embroidery files, keep in mind that every stitch opens as a cut line, which means that the file may need some clean up in order to be a good cut file. It can also mean that it takes your computer longer to process and open the file. This is due to every single stitch is now a cut line which equals more data on the file.
Each embroidery file may require different aspects to clean up or make it the cut file that you would like since they are all designed differently.
Silhouette Studio Business Edition
Ai/CDR/EPS Files are files designed in other graphic design programs such Illustrator or Corel Draw. One thing to keep in mind these file types can be data heavy and it may depend on your computer on how long it take to process, open, and work with these file types.
Personally, I have only used the EPS file if I do not have the SVG option for a cut file. Even my computer which is higher specs that the average Silhouette user, takes a bit longer to process those data heavy files. Be patient with your computer if opening these graphic files.
I hope now you understand a little bit more about the different file types that the Silhouette Studio software can utilize.
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7 thoughts on “File Types for Silhouette Studio”
Loved the information here about files, really helps to understand how to make good choices for file format use,
Yay! So glad it helped Joan!
Thanks, maybe you can help. I have many Adobe Illustrator documents I used to be able to send to Silhouette with Silhouette Connect to cut. But now I cannot afford the .ai subscription and have switched to Affinity Designer. It will open the .ai files. I can save the files in either .svg or .pdf. But when I open them in Silhouette, I get very inconsistent results. Most often I lose the layers so that I can’t separate the cut from the print layer. (Sometimes nothing imports at all, just a blank page!) Any suggestions? I’ve spent hours saving and exporting different ways and just can’t figure it out. I have Silhouette SD and designer edition. When I contacted Silhouette they just suggested I get the business upgrade, but I don’t see how this would help. I’ve also tried printing from Affinity designer, then importing just the cutlines, but they aren’t cutting in the right spot.
Unfortunately, I am not familiar with Affinity Designer but it sounds like it’s not exporting the svg properly.