Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Silhouette Tutorial: {Using pdf Files}

We talked about using images before and importing your own for the Silhouette. Some of you asked if you can use a pdf file to do this.

A pdf file can be used in Adobe software programs. Adobe offers a free program called Adobe Acrobat Reader which allows you to open and view these pdf files. However, you can’t open the pdf files in the Silhouette software.

But guess what?! You can still use pdf files!!!
Here are two different ways I found to make it work.

1. Using the Paint program. Most Microsoft computers come with the free program Paint. It’s been on every computer I’ve ever had and I never installed a thing, so I think it’s a default program. I’m not sure about Mac, but I’m sure there’s an equivalent.

STEP ONE: Open the pdf file you want to use. In my example I am using this darling Easter Yard Signs Sketch.

It’s a free download from Our Lake Life which they used for these cute PB Knockoff Easter Signs.
Thank you so much Maria for letting me use this file and your images!
By default, the pdf file will open in Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Default pdf file open
STEP TWO: Click on View and select Page Display and Single Page.
Now we can see each entire page individually.
STEP THREE: On your keyboard hit Fn and Prt Sc (Function Print Screen). The Fn button is usually located at the bottom left of your keyboard next to the Ctrl button. The Prt Sc button is usually located at the top right of your keyboard next to the delete button. On my keyboard, the Prt Sc is shared with Ins.
What you have just done is copied whatever is showing on your computer screen.

STEP FOUR: Open the Paint program and hit Ctrl, V or you can go to Edit and select Paste.
You should now have something like this.
Paste in paint
Select the dotted rectangle button located just under the word Edit. This is going to allow us to crop our image. Go ahead and select your image.
You can faintly see the dotted lines around my bunny page.
STEP FIVE: Go up to Image in the menu bar and select crop.
Now we’ve got our image, so let’s save it as a jpeg file.
Go up to File in the menu bar and choose Save As…
Then go ahead and name it whatever you would like and make sure the type is JPEG.
Now our file is ready to use in the Silhouette software. Go ahead and repeat for the remaining pages of the pdf file if desired.
Chick pageEgg Hunt pageHappy Easter page

2. Using Adobe PhotoShop or Elements. The second way to turn a pdf file into a jpeg image is with Adobe PhotoShop or Elements. This is not a free program, but one I highly recommend investing in. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE PhotoShop and use it daily!
I have CS3, but the directions I use can be used with any PhotoShop or Elements version.
STEP ONE: Open your pdf file. Go to File, Open and select the pdf file from wherever you have it saved.
I was asked to import the images, so I clicked ok and was brought to this point.
Bunny in Photoshop
STEP TWO: Save as a jpeg file. Go to File, select Save As…, then go ahead and name the file whatever you want. Make sure you change the format to JPEG, then click save.
Saving bunny page in photoshop
All done! Now you have the jpeg file that can be opened in the Silhouette software. Repeat with the remaining three pages.

So now if you wanted to make Maria’s adorable Easter Yard Signs, you can trace your newly created jpeg files in the Silhouette software, cut out your stencil with the Silhouette machine, and whip them up in no time!
Any questions, please let me know!



  1. Okay so I think that you did this tutorial just for me. I know you are LDS so I think you were prompted to do this tutorial now so that I could use it to make something for my YW. It totally worked for what I needed it to. Thank you so much for posting this.

    1. Thank you so much! This just made my day and I really appreciate that you shared that with me. I'm so glad I could help you out.

  2. I have the Studio software on Mac and PC and pdfs can be used on the Mac but not PC. I found out the hard

  3. I have a PC, so this tutorial was done with to make it possible for pdfs to be used on the PC. That's good to know that it already works for the Mac. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I'd love for you to come link this up at my Tuesday Time Out Party!


    Reasons To Skip The Housework {The Blog}
    Tinker B Boutique {The Shop}

  5. How do you erase the white space around the figures? Thanks.

  6. Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!! I used Gimp (a freeware version of Photoshop) and imported these awesome files from It worked!!! No more cutting by hand!!!! I'm still such a Silhouette novice, it's nice to have others in blogland explain clearly how to accomplish that thing I'm trying to do!


Where I am no longer blogging, this blog is for reading purposes only. I am afraid I just can't keep up with it anymore, therefore, I may not be able to reply to all comments. Thank you.

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