November 12, 2012

.DXF Files {Export from Adobe Illustrator and Import to Silhouette Studio}

I often get comments or emails from people who are struggling with importing DXF files to Silhouette Studio. This post goes over cutting from Adobe Illustrator on your Silhouette SD or older models. At the bottom it contains some directions for exporting a .DXF file from Adobe Illustrator and importing it to Silhouette Studio. I'm going to review that in this post and add a few more details in hopes that I will answer many of those questions.

Export a .DXF file for Silhouette Studio

  1. If you have TEXT make sure it is path. (Type->Create Outlines, then do steps 2 and 3 OR Check the box "Outline Text" in the dialog box when you do the export.)
  2. Completely UNGROUP all parts of the image.
  3. Release all COMPOUND PATHS.
  4. If you have multiple layers in your file you can export them all at once. Just make sure Steps 1-3 are completed on each layer.
  5. Do not bother with fills and line colors in Illustrator. None of this is imported from the .dxf file.
  6. Export the file from Illustrator as an AutoCAD Interchange File (*.dxf).

Import a .DXF file for Silhouette Studio

  1. Go to "Open" a file.
  2. Change "Files of type:" to AutoCAD Interchange File (*.dxf)
  3. Find the .dxf file and select it.
  4. Press OK.
If the .DXF file doesn't OPEN in Silhoeutte Studio

If the file did not open at all go back through all steps of exporting a .DXF file or try different export settings.

If the .DXF file opens and NOTHING SHOW UP in Silhouette Studio

One of two things has occured:
  1. The file was imported in miniature. Press Ctrl+A or go to Edit->Select All. If the file was imported as a small version a small square will get selected. Enlarge it and your objects should be all there.
  2. Another way around this is to change your import settings in File->Preferences. Then go to "Import Options" and change the setting under "When Importing DXF" to "Fit to Page".
  3. Another problem is if your lines are white in the .dxf file they may just not be showing as black lines in Silhouette. Go to File->Preferences. Then go to "Import Options" and under "When Importing DXF" check the box for Make White Lines Black.
Silhouette DXF Import Settings

If none of these steps helped go back the instructions for exporting and make sure you didn't miss anything.

If the .DXF file opens and PART OF IT IS MISSING in Silhouette Studio
  1. The most likely issue is that the part not showing is an item that was left grouped or had a compound path still. Go back to your Adobe Illustrator file and ungroup the item, then release the compound path.
  2. If only text is missing refer to the Step 1 in the export instructions. You have most likely not turned it into a path.
I think that about covers things. It really isn't a difficult process. Remember - color doesn't import into Silhouette Studio - just the lines. I have tested all sorts of settings to get it to work without success - but if you do find a way of importing please let me know!


Unknown said...

This was EXACTLY the steps I needed to solve my problem yesterday. Your steps worked like a charm, and my mother's day card turned out great. Thanks so much!

Unknown said...

Have you ever had trouble seeing your previous .svg to .dxf files in silhouette? Mine were working great. Now all of a sudden the dxf files are blank when I open them in silhouette! Do you have any advice or things I should look for. They are simple vectors. No layers or groups or compound paths.

Unknown said...

Linda, I have seen this on occasion. The usual problem is that my objects are filled but the lines are blank. That doesn't always seem to work when importing to Silhouette. I also try to make sure there are not multiple art-boards for the shape. Sometimes if it's really giving me problems I cut and paste each shape individually into a new file. I hope this helps.

G said...

Hello Maggie, do you have a formula when you export from illustrator, in artwork scale, so that when you import it in to SS it is the right size you want to cut; or you just scale it somehow. That would be great to know. Thanks!

Maggie Muggins said...

Hi G. I have no formula. I just resize it once I open it in SS. I just show the grid behind the image to make it perfect!

Marco said...

To get correct scaling, this is what worked for me:
in Illustrator CS6 go to File/Export and save as DXF. In the dialog select 2004/2005/2006 version. Set scale to "1 millimeter = 1 Unit". Enable the "Maximum editability" option and hit Ok.

In Silhouette Studio go to File/Preferences/Import Options and set DXF to "Centered".

Now open the DXF in Studio and it should be at the right scale.

Ted Hobgood said...

Saved my life! Thanks so much! (And thanks for wording it so carefully, covering so many possibilities, and organizing your post so well. Nice work!)

Just got my Cameo and haven't even turned it on yet! Looking forward to doing a test cut of my newly exported DXF!

Unknown said...

None of these worked for me..
The only way I can get it to show up in Studio is to do a stroke path. If I export with no fill/no stroke, nothing shows up.

Unknown said...

Has anyone else had the problem when they import a .dxf file, extra lines are added?

Basically when I import a dxf file, the original lines are altered i.e. when I import a standard box into my silhouette library, the boxes corners are shaved off slightly so I am no longer left with 90 degree corners at the very tip. The lines aren't precise like they were when I exported from illustrator.

Ive reopened the files to check that saving them wasn't the problem and they load in illustrator as they should. I guess silhouette studio doesn't care to be that precise or something?

PiringTerbang said...

What i'll do is to set the import to As-is and leave the rest untouch and on illustrator, export the dxf file and set the AutoCAD version to R14/LT98/LT97. It will open in the silhouette studio to the exact size as per your design. Hope it helps!

Unknown said...

Has anyone faced this problem when i open DXF file into the Silhouette Studio
i cant got the same dimensions as my original design

the dxf file i export it from CST MICROWAVE STUDIO - 3D EM simulation software

then i want to print it using Silhouette Studio but i faced problems with dimension.

anyone can help me please

Unknown said...

Has anyone has issues with exporting as a .dxf from illustrator and silhouette studio acts like it is opening but loads up to 99% then says that the file isnt supported?

Unknown said...

Opening exported SVG from illustrator. Followed all directions. No compound paths, groups etc. Just outlines.
When opening the SVG in Silhouette Studio Designer Edition 3.6.57ssde i get the error "the file type you are attempting to access is not supported." What does this mean?

Maggie Muggins said...

When importing a .dxf to Silhouette and it almost completes but then says the file type is wrong - you may need to check the file for groups, compound images and layers. Removing all of them is what usually fixes that for me.

Maggie Muggins said...

Silhouette does not open .SVG file types - you can open .SVG in Illustrator and convert them to .DXF to be able to open them. Otherwise the file types listed on this site are the ones that work:

Unknown said...

Has anyone else had the problem of lines that are perfectly smooth in Illustrator coming into SS "flattened" a bit? Looking at certain curves where i have used a single point for example, I will see 5 or 6 points which are connected by straight lines rather than a smooth curve.

Maggie Muggins said...

Jeff - this actually sounds familiar but it's been a while since I've imported a file. I often use the plugin to cut directly from Illustrator. I would check for compound paths first - that's usually my problem. Or possibly simplify the path in Illustrator and try exporting again. Sorry I'm not as helpful this time.