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My last blog post talked about the most popular cutting machines that are on the market. Software can be even more important than the power or capability of your cutting machine. With good software you will be able to design anything you want to. It is ideal to use a software with plenty of tools for creativity while also being relatively problem-free with few bugs along the way. In this article I will talk about the most common cutting software programs on the market and the differences between them all. My intention is that you will be able to choose one carefully that will provide years of creativity and prosperity in your crafting endeavors! Please keep in mind that many of these software choices require a compatible machine to use (for example Cricut Design Space requires a Cricut cutting machine to be usable). You will also want to make sure that your computer is compatible with your software of choice.
There are dozens of cutting software programs out there, in this article I will address the most common options for cutting machine use.
Brother Canvas Workspace
Slice: YES (Called Divide)
What Makes Brother Canvas Workspace Unique: Easy to use while still offering plenty of editing options as well as tracing capabilities.
Pros: Clean interface that is easy to maneuver.
Cons: Must use FCM file format for Brother ScanNCut. There is no easy way to save out SVG, DXF, or other format files.
Slice: YES (Called Divide)
What Makes Silhouette Studio Unique: Plenty of tools and capability. Lots of shape editing options and text editing options.
Pros: Does not require internet. Great option for seasoned crafters who want more options when designing.
Cons: Big learning curve. Requires an Upgrade to use SVG files.
Cricut Design Space
What Makes Cricut Design Space Unique: Very beginner-friendly!
Pros: Super easy to use!
Cons: Design Space requires a Cricut machine to use properly. The interface requires internet. Design Space is notorious for being buggy. The good news is that their customer support can be helpful if you have enough patience.
Sure Cuts A Lot
What Makes Sure Cuts A Lot Unique: Does not require any specific machine.
Pros: Easy-to-use interface. Very nice and clean tracing capabilities.
Cons: There seems to be a few essential tools missing in Sure Cuts A Lot. You can probably do many effects you want to do but with more steps. There is no Slice or Divide option, meaning you will need to make use of the Exclude and Intersection tools instead.
Slice: NO (Could Use Combine)
What Makes Vinylmaster Cut Unique: Excellent option for commercial vinyl cutters.
Pros: Tracing capabilities and color separation is very good.
Cons: May not be very helpful unless you are using this software for large commercial use.
Make The Cut!
What Makes Make The Cut! Unique: Some unique features like text wrapping options.
Pros: Great option to get your feet wet if you are looking for a software that is not too hard to learn but has a few unique features in which can expand your creativity.
Cons: Must make use of Intersect and Exclude in place of Slice. Not compatible with Cricut. Probably not worth the cost considering more efficient software on the market. I tried downloading it to my Mac with very little success.
Easy Cut Studio
What Makes Easy Cut Studio Unique: Has some very nice tracing capabilities.
Pros: Clean and simple interface.
Cons: Seems to be missing many basic functions like Slice and Weld.
The Winner: Brother Canvas Workspace
This option is the clear winner for those who own a Brother machine as the software saves out to its own format for Brother compatibility.
Runner-Up: Silhouette Studio
Silhouette Studio is a great option especially for seasoned crafters. An upgrade to designer edition is strongly recommended to get the most out of the software. You will also need a Silhouette machine to use this software as the save out formats are Silhouette Studio V3, Silhouette Studio V2, and GSP.
Best for Beginners: Cricut Design Space
You will need a Cricut machine to make use of this easy-to-use software.
My final observations are that you should DEFINITELY stick with one of the three: Brother Canvas Workspace, Silhouette Studio, or Cricut Design Space. I have found that most of the others do not offer Mac compatibility – which, in this day of age – seems old school! The biggest takeaway should be what is most important to you? If the machine itself is more important, pick a cutting machine that can do what you need it to. If the software is more important, pick a machine that will allow you to utilize the software. For me, it is a combination of machine and software that matters – and because of that I am very happy with my Cricut Explore! In all honesty I imagine I would be happy with a Silhouette or Brother machine as well if I owned one. In this situation, it just depends on your needs and wants!