One of the coolest things about the Silhouette CAMEO is that you can use any font that you have installed on your computer to make designs with it. If you are new to your Silhouette this will walk you through the basics on how to install and design with fonts with your Silhouette CAMEO.
This post was sponsored by one of our favorite companies for fonts and partner The Hungry Jpeg.
I absolutely love my Silhouette. I have been using it for years now, but I still very clearly remember one of the main reasons that I wanted it was that I could use ANY font that was installed on my computer to cut designs out with my machine. Fast forward a few years and this is still absolutely one of my favorite and most used features of the Silhouette.
With so much to cover let’s get right to it!
Where to find fonts for Silhouette CAMEO
As I mentioned first thing above, any font that you install on your computer can be cut on your CAMEO. If you aren’t familiar with adding fonts to your computer, then you are in for a treat! You can find fonts in many places. There are nearly limitless options for both free and paid fonts out there and there is a great list of resources on where to find fonts for your Silhouette here. The better question, especially for those who are new, is “If there are free fonts, why would I want to buy them?”
There are several reasons you would want to purchase a font. A few of them are:
- Although some free fonts are totally safe, viruses and malware are very commonly spread through downloading a font file. You don’t know what could be in these files, and it could cost any where from hundreds, to thousands of dollars of damage to your computer if you contract one of these. With fonts as affordable to buy as they are, it seems silly to risk it!
- If you ever plan to sell anything using the font, even to a family member or friend, then you will need a commercial license, which generally doesn’t come with the free fonts. Fonts sold in bundles can offer fonts for as little as $0.25-$0.50 each, so it is a great way to
- Paid fonts are generally professional grade and give you much more to design with. Many times they will include extra characters, swirls, swashes, or designs along with the “regular” letters of the font. If you love to design this gives you so many more options
- People who design these generally do so to earn a living. Paying a little bit for the work they created is not only ethical, but it also help support them so that they can create even more amazing things for you!
We are a huge fan of The Hungry Jpeg here. Each month they offer a Font Bundle which has usually 50-70 fonts for a huge discount (usually somewhere around 90-95%off.) Dawn and I both grab and use the bundle nearly every month ourselves, so we feel like it is our treat to get to partner with them and introduce them to you. If you are new to the Silhouette it is absolutely the best way to get a good set of fonts to start with so you have a little of everything do design with without spending much money. See the December Font Bundle here!
There are a few words you might hear when you are looking at fonts that are new to you. Here are some of the most common and what they mean:
- Glyphs – One of the cool things that many of the pro-grade fonts come with is something frequently referred to as glyphs. These are extra versions of the characters of the alphabet. For example in a word you might have a regular “h” and then another version of “h” which puts a long swirly tail on the letter. Glyphs are not always accessible in Silhouette Studio, but if the font is labeled as 100% accessible or PUA encoded. You can get instructions on how to access the glyphs or special characters here.
You can see in the example below that the “r” in each word is different, and neither of them are a normal “r.” Each of these represent a glyph or special character included in this font file that you can use to customize your text to make it more special and custom designed than just typing a word out with the normal letters.
- PUA Encoded– This refers to the way the font designer codes the fonts. PUA encoded fonts enable you to access all of the special characters and extras included with the font without any special software (like Adobe Illustrator) that you would normally need to access them. You can access all characters of a PUA encoded font on both a PC and a Mac.
- Stylistic Alternates– Alternate ways to display a character.
- Ligature– When 2 or more letters are joined as a single glyph.
- Script – A cursive style font
- Sans – A print type font
- Serif – A print type font with more detail, shown as lines at the top or bottoms of the letters
- .OTF – Stands for Open Type Font, this file type can be installed and used with your Silhouette CAMEO.
- .TTF – Stands for True Type Font, this file type can be installed and used with your Silhouette CAMEO. You can choose to install either the .ttf or .otf font file and you will be able to use the font with your Silhouette, however do not install both (or you will have the font installed twice on your computer)
How do you Install Fonts to use with Silhouette?
This is a little bit of a trick question. You don’t actually need to install fonts in Silhouette Studio at all! You will need to install a font onto your computer and then Silhouette Studio will automatically recognize it and load it into your font menu when using the text tool.
Installing a font on your computer is usually as easy as unzipping the font folder, opening the downloaded font in the file type you want (either .ttf or .otf, but not both) then clicking install. This is usually the basic process to install fonts on both a PC or Mac.
Make sure that your Silhouette Studio software is shut down, or if it was open, you will need to close it then reopen it after the font is installed onto your computer. If you want more details you can find info on Installing Fonts for Silhouette CAMEO here.
How to Access Fonts in Silhouette Studio
Once you have the fonts installed on your computer, you can start to use them in Silhouette Studio. The basic steps are very simple:
- Open Silhouette Studio software and click on the text tool. (See arrows below
- Click somewhere to make the cursor appear. I usually try to get it in the general area I want it, but you can move it later so being exact isn’t necessary.
- Choose the font you want from the menu on the right hand side of the screen
- Type your word(s)
How to Customize your Text
Now you will probably want to adapt the text a bit to make it perfect for your project. Here are some basic steps for manipulating the text.
- Use the text size box to increase or reduce the size of the text
- Use the Character Spacing slider to move the letters closer together or farther apart (for uses such as if script letters aren’t overlapping, or are overlapping too much)
- Use the Line Spacing slider to move 2 or more lines of text closer together or farther apart.
- You can also use the tools on the right hand side to switch to right, left, or center justified, and change between horizontal or vertical text.
There are some tips of the trade that are really helpful to know with text. These will be second nature to you as you continue to use your Silhouette, but as a beginner it takes awhile to figure them out! Hopefully this will give you a head start on making it easy to design with fonts in Silhouette Studio. Find more tips on designing with text in Silhouette Studio and some helpful videos here!
- Script fonts will need to be welded before you cut them.You will notice that on a script font the cut lines go completely around every letter instead of flowing along the natural lines of the script. You will want to weld the places that overlap in order to avoid cutting individual letters rather than one script style word.
To weld the text, right click on the text once you are done writing it. Choose weld from the menu that appears. Make sure you are certain this is the wording you want and there are no typos since by welding the text you turn it into a compound path and it will now no longer be editable. If you need to make a change you will have to delete that one and start again.
- A green box indicates that you are editing the text. A black bounding box allows you to change the size and location of the text.
- If a text is too fine to cut well, you can add an offset to make it thicker and more easily cut.
To add an offset, select the text you want to increase the size of by clicking on it with the arrow (Selection) tool. Then choose the offset button in the upper menu which looks like a pentagon with an arrow pointing out of it.Choose Offset, then reduce the size of the offset to something usually between 0.01 – 0.05 and click apply when you have the desired distance. Note: You may need to increase the character spacing to create an offset and not get overlap on the text.
You will now have the original text with an offset around it. Click on the original text and either delete it or move it off of the offset text if you would still like to cut it as well.
- Use multiple text boxes to make multiple lines of text.This is absolutely personal preference, but I like to use a separate text box for each line of text rather than adjusting the line spacing in the text tool menu. I find it easier to manipulate the text individually and much easier to get it exactly how I want it in separate boxes.
- If you make changes to your letters, you will need to group them back together!Things such as welding changing sizes, etc can make each of the letters now individual instead of grouped together as a whole word as it should be. If you find that your letters are individual, you will want to immediately group them back together. You can always ungroup them if you need to make a change to a specific character, but by grouping them together again you will save yourself tons of time and headaches by keeping the spacing perfect if you move them or by not losing a dot to an i, or keeping a perfect scale between all of the letters if you adjust the size.
- The best way to choose your font! If you are like me, you are going to get just a tad addicted to adding pretty fonts to your collection to design with, especially with all of the awesome fonts you get in just one bundle at The Hungry Jpeg. Once you are looking to start a project it can be a time consuming task to try to sift through all of the fonts to find the style you have in mind. I use a website called Wordmark.it to help speed this up! You just type in the word you want to cut at the top of the screen and it will load that word phrase in every font you have installed on your computer! Seriously a LIFESAVER!
I think this knowledge will get you off to a great start using fonts with your Silhouette CAMEO. Do you have any tips that have helped you along the way that I missed? If so please leave them in the comments so that we can help everyone as much as possible! Or if you have a question, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments!