Nerd Tip: Exporting A DXF File

Use Adobe Illustrator to create DXF files for cutting with Silhouette Studio

This week’s tip isn’t tiny (it has a lot of photos) and I’m classifying it as a nerd edition in that it will only appeal to a small segment of the world – crafters who use Adobe Illustrator and Silhouette Studio software. 

The basic version of Silhouette Studio cannot open or import a native file from Adobe Illustrator (those files that end in “.ai”). Or an EPS file. Or a SVG file, or a PDF file.

You’d need to upgrade to one of the paid versions to be able to do that. And there is nothing wrong with that – the upgrade versions also come with other features.

BUT…

If you already have Illustrator, you can export your files as a DXF file and you can open those in the basic Silhouette Studio version.

And it’s easy. I’m on a Mac, so your screens may look different if you are not.

In Silhouette Studio

First off, there is a change you need to make in Silhouette Studio to make this work as expected.

Under Silhouette Studio (the very left corner of the screen) choose Preferences.

Export files from Adobe Illustrator as DXF to bring into the basic version of Silhouette Studio

And on the far right side of the screen the Preferences choices will appear – choose Import Options

Export files from Adobe Illustrator as DXF to bring into the basic version of Silhouette Studio

When the panel expands down, make sure “As Is” is selected. If “Fit to Page” is selected, then the artwork will always scale when imported. Nobody has time for that.

Export files from Adobe Illustrator as DXF to bring into the basic version of Silhouette Studio

You only need to do this once.

In Adobe Illustrator

Open or create your file in Illustrator. Save your file as an Illustrator file so you have it to go back to later. Convert all your type to outlines, and flatten all your layers. And then, under File, choose Export > Export As…  and a dialog window will show up.

Export files from Adobe Illustrator as DXF to bring into the basic version of Silhouette Studio

In the Format box at the bottom, choose AutoCad Interchange File (dxf)

The next box that pops up I just click OK. I don’t really know what these items mean, but I’ve never changed anything and it always works. One day, one of my files won’t open and then I’ll learn what these options are and I’ll create a new post.

Export files from Adobe Illustrator as DXF to bring into the basic version of Silhouette Studio
I don’t change any settings here – I don’t know what they do

And you are set!

These files can be opened or imported in the basic version of Silhouette Studio.

 

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