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Friday, April 4, 2014

Jin's Silhouette Studio version 3 Review

Not long after Silhouette Studio® Version 3.0.293 (for the sake of simplicity, I will refer to it as "v3") was released, I began to hear a lot of complaints. It started when folks (myself included) were not able to get the download because there was too much traffic on the Silhouette site. This always seem to happen with every release (or sale) so I wasn't really surprised. I was excited when I finally managed to download v3 and hurried to install it on my brand spanking new laptop. Hubby had installed Silhouette Studio on it and I thought it was a perfect time to test the update.

The installation was quick and at first sight, the new software environment (interface) looked promising. I poked around a little bit and shared some screenshots in my post HERE. In my opinion, the best way to learn and get familiar with the program was to make something with it. It didn't take me long at all to decide to make something simple like the print-and-cut shaped card that I had showed in a previous tutorial.

Instead of a graphic, I chose to use an SVG. The steps to making a shaped card are simple and straightforward but it will utilize many of the tools and features that I use often.

This is a screenshot of version 2.8.16d and it explains how I usually make a shaped card:

This is how I usually set the cutting lines (i.e. BEFORE version 3):

With v2.8.16d, it took me less than 5 minutes to make the card from start to finish but when I attempted to make the same card in version 3, I took at least 20-30 minutes, mostly because I wasted a lot of time trying to make the Offsets, defining the Layers and generally just trying to figure the software out.

The Cut Style window has also been removed from the program in version 3. Instead, I had to either set the cut lines By Layers or By Line Color. I didn't like this at all because it made the task so much more complicated than it should be. I don't see why setting a different Line Color to a shape was considered an improvement. It felt more like a step backwards because it was so much easier to use the Cut Style to set the cutting lines. By the way, instead of setting cut lines by Line Color, I could have set the lines By Layers but the Layers keep getting messed up so I decided not to use them.

Another noticeable change in version 3 is that you can no longer drag-and-drop a pattern into a shape. When I tried to do so, the paper filled up the whole workspace instead of staying inside the shape:

To use a custom pattern like the paper packs from LD, I had to add it to my Library and fill the shape by clicking on the pattern from my Library or from the Fill Pattern window.

One of the reasons why I liked Silhouette Studio was that it was easy to use. Some folks complained of a lack of designing tools but personally, I was happy with what was already there. Sure, it has its flaws and could definitely use some refining- it would be fabulous if the program was able to handle more graphics before crashing. It would be even better if it would shut down properly so that I don't have to open Task Manager to manually shut it down. Having a properly-working Layers feature would be nice too but if I had to choose between the Cut Style window and a Layers feature, I would opt for the former without question.

Silhouette Studio® Version 3.0.293 comes with a few new features but I am really disappointed that some of its best tools are now gone and some others are not working properly (e.g. Offset). Sadly, Silhouette Studio® Version 3.0.293 is a fail in my book and I will not be using it for my projects until Silhouette America fixes the bugs or reinstate the Cut Style feature.


While I was making my card in version 3, I posted screenshots of my work process on my Facebook page. The caption that precedes each picture documents my thoughts and the issues that I faced while using version 3. You can find the actual Facebook posts HERE. Just click on the left arrow key on your keyboard to scroll through the screenshots.

(Please click on the screenshots for an enlarged view.)



"After playing with v3 last night, I closed my laptop without saving my file. This morning I opened my laptop again to continue my v3 tests only to see that the program has crashed. I restarted it and was pleasantly surprised to find that the Auto-Save had kicked in and my file was easily recovered. Thumbs up to v3 for that. "


"Yes! Figured out how to add a pattern to my library in v3!"


"v3's Layers is a mess! By default, all the different parts of an image are put together and defined as a single layer. I had to manually place each part on their own layer. Also, the layers are reversed. I had to put the base on top and the topmost shape on the lowest level/layer for the image to look right. There are some obvious bugs in this feature but if fixed, this could be great. Sadly, until a fix is in place, I have to give a thumbs down for v3's Layers feature. :( "


"It's not looking good for v3. :( I just had the hardest time trying to make an offset. The offset distance starts at 0.25" and no matter what numbers I input in the distance box, the resulting offset is 0.25" (yes, I did hit the Apply button each time). The slider works better but the smallest offset I can get from it is 0.122". After A LOT of tinkering, I finally managed to get my 0.085" offset and a 0.125" offset of that offset by using the slider and adjusting the distance by clicking on the up/down arrows next to the distance box. The Offset Tool is definitely buggy and a huge thumbs down. :( "

"{testing version3} Okay, we're almost there. Now let's cut this hedgie out!"


"So before v3, selecting multiple shapes was quick and easy. We just had drag the cursor to touch any part of the shapes. With v3, you have to drag the cursor to enclose all the shapes within a bounding box before they will be selected. So for example, when I tried to select the two offsets of the hedgie, I had to drag my cursor so that the bounding box encloses the entire thing. It's the same way as you would select multiple shapes in MTC. Not sure if I like this change yet. (Btw, holding down the SHIFT key to select multiple shapes still works the same way)."


"Look! I found a tiny Test Cut button (and accidentally clicked on it. Oops! lol. )"


"The accidental Test Cut looks terrible! I wonder what Thickness setting was used. (Edit to add: This was Georgia Pacific cardstock that I use often.)"


"I spent all that time arranging and renaming my Layers but then I did some offsets and welding to make this shaped card. Now my Layers are all messed up again. Thumbs down to v3 for time wasted.  :( "


"I found something promising! Cut Line Patterns! We may be able to cut perforated lines after all. Also, I think my terrible Test Cut was the result of the default cut settings: Cardstock, Blade 4, Speed 3, Thickness 33. No wonder the cut looked so bad!"


"Previously in v2, when you click on the Send To Silhouette button, if you have reg marks turned on, the program will ask if it should send it to print first. Now with v3, it just starts cutting as soon as you click on the START button located inside the Send to Silhouette window. In the screenshot, the registration failed because there was no paper or mat loaded into the machine. I was expecting the send-to-print prompt to show up but it didn't."


"Here goes nothing!"


"Whoa. Be warned that in version 3, once you click on the Start button in the Send-to-Silhouette window, the cutter will start scanning for reg marks and automatically continue on to cut the image(s). Unlike v2 and v1, you must adjust the cut settings BEFORE clicking Start."




"There! It's done. I usually only pnc the card base and cut/layer/paper-piece the main image but for the sake of testing v3, I decided to pnc the hedgie too. Thanks for watching my v3 tests and I'm sorry for clogging up your newsfeed. If you missed any of the screenshots that I posted while I worked in SSDE version 3 to make this card, you can look back at the photos on this FB page or you can check my blog later. I will share my review and put up all the screenshots over there with it. "


  1. Hi Jin! I wish I hadn't jumped to install V3 so quickly! Do you know of any way to revert back to V2? I should have known better to wait until some of the bugs were out. Thanks for your honest review.

    1. Hi Susan, just run the v3 installer again and select "Remove" from the menu. It will remove Silhouette Studio from your computer but you can download the legacy version (ie. previous version) from the Sil site.

  2. Your reviews are extremely appreciated, Jin!! I am glad that I didn't download the program yet. When I went to download it, there was too much traffic, etc. Never thought I would be grateful for "heavy traffic" but am... I know I would never be able to figure the new version out without your help because everything I do know about the software, I have learned from you!! Thanks, again!!!

  3. Both V2 and V3 offer selecting objects by touching a bounding box. It under preferences, the problem is that V3 defaults it off, while V2 defaulted it on.

    Preferences > Selection > Select shapes touching drag box

  4. Thanks so much for this review and step by step tutorial. I initially wanted to install the new update as soon as it was available, but my instincts told me to wait, and I am so glad that I did. Instead I am going to rely on you more experienced crafters to guide me.

    1. I hate the new version! I just downloaded it today! I hate it! I opened my version 2 saved files and it changed my font!!! and when I click "save" it asked me to re-save it again in order for it to be saved to version 3!!! Im going to delete the version 3 and go back to the version 2!!!

  5. I'm with you on this one Jin. I'm really disappointed you can't fill shapes so easily with patterns any more. That was one of the main reasons I upgraded to DE. I'm used to working with layers in both Photoshop and MTC and I was totally confused when I tried using them in V3. What were they thinking? Hopefully they'll hear the outcry and fix it, although they never should have released software that wasn't ready in the first place.

  6. You can get a smaller offset by changing your measurements to millimetres instead of inches

  7. I am so surprised AND disappointed! I love my CAMEO and I love DE, so was excited about the new upgrade. I will not be upgrading until I hear that things are better not just different!

    1. Me too! I'm so disappointed! Silhouette just called and they said that they have received many many feedback and are working hard to fix some of the issues that have been brought to their attention. The next time they do another release, I'll be sure to wait before I install another update again.

  8. Here is a little trick I found while playing with the new version. When you use the Offset (or resizing) function you need to hit ENTER after typing the desired amount. Clicking only apply does not change it. Hope this helped some who still want to keep using the new version.

  9. Thanks so much for this informative review. I was not able to download the update either - and I'm very glad I didn't! The cut line and offset issues are biggies for me. I don't want to lose the ease of those features!

  10. Good Grief, seems as though new & improved is always disappointing.
    Thanks Jin for walking us through these procedures. I am so happy I
    did not update! I will wait for your experienced advice before updating.
    Thanks for all your info, I enjoy your designs and information.

  11. Jin, I wish I had read your review prior to upgrading. v3 was definitely laggy and would take a long time to save. I also had the same issues with the offset, and after spending quite a lot of time today creating multiple print-to-cut files, I wasn't able to get the projects printed out! It just kept getting stuck on printing, would take forever when I tried to even cancel the print, and wouldn't even print to pdf. I'm going to switch back to v2 now. Unfortunately I heard from another review that v3 is NOT back compatible with v1 or v2 files (and v2 will not be able to read my v3 file so I will need to redo everything).... very disappointed with Silhouette.

  12. Thanks for your info Jin. I wish I had read it before updating to version 3. I have removed it and went back to the legacy version. I did lose a project that I had started prior to version 3 and I have to start over. I will be sure to check out your comments before I reload version 3.

    1. when you went back to the legacy version, did y ou have to use one of your installs for DE?

  13. As a Newbee I had only just started to get use to the old version and was starting to make progress .I too downloaded the new V3 version only to find I was back were I started. Glad to know even more experienced users were having trouble...Think I'll go back to the older version...Thank so much for your expert comments

  14. I, too, have downloaded the version 3. Haven't tried it out much, yet, but will be reverting back to the old if I don't like it! What I am wondering is how do you import your own patterns to your patterns folder? I have tried importing it to the library and then dragging and dropping into the patterns folder and it does not work for me! I tried this in both the new and the old versions and cannot figure out what I am doing wrong as everything I have read or watched online say to do it that way. Any help would be much appreciated!

  15. Hi Jin and thank you so much..for all this amazing work.. I did download it..But suddenly realized i didnt like it!!
    so have gone back to the old one. Thank goodness..It looks so complicated
    ''Why change something which isn't broke!!!
    I feel they have really scared lots of folk especially ladies who do not want life to be complicated.Thank yuou so much
    Mary x

  16. Thanks a lot for this review - I almost wondered why it's all quiet on the version 3.xx front and if I might be the only one who is worried about that "update" . In german we call this "Verschlimmbesserung": the intentions may be the best but the result is a mess. I love the nice interface but I gladly resign if important features are hidden in strange places or even disappear completely. How do I tell this software to cut a perforated line instead of a solid line? Why did they change this wonderful, simple feature? I can't believe it ... and I guess I will go back to the older version if there's no user-friendly second update in sight soon.
    best wishes, serafeena

  17. I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to test out v3 and post such an informative review! I will definitely wait to upgrade!

  18. Does your new one seem to cut REALLY slow regardless how high you set it? Seems like it takes forever just to get it to start cutting then it'll pause. I ended up removing it and loading an old version back BUT not before I had saved ONE FILE with the v3....and guess what, ya can't open it in the older version :(
    I'll just have to re-create the file because I am NOT messing with the v3 again!
    Should have checked with you BEFORE messing with this and wasting hrs trying to figure this out!

  19. hi Jin! I also jump the gun and got myself the v.3 when I was still learning the ropes of using the older version with my Silhouette Airport and playing around.Now I really regret this and I cannot find the older version to download, and I am afraid of losing all my library. >_< do you have any advice, please pretty please?

    1. Sil Am left the older version on their download page because so many people wanted to go back to using that. You can find the Legacy version HERE. You may have to scroll down the page a little bit.

  20. Very frustrated with Silhouette Cameo. I keep getting 'Registration Failed' after printing cardstock. Trying to cut simple shape on 10 cardstock... The first three worked fine, but will not let me progress further. Worked fine when tried with plain paper, but will just not let me cut the remaining cardstock, switched off machine and restarted, even that did not work.

  21. I wish I found this blog sooner. But the reason that I download the v3 is because my v2 froze and would not let me move off unless I upgraded. I tried it but do not like the look or feel of the v3. I too, am new at using the Cameo so moving to v3 seemed foreign. I lost my license credit because I uninstalled v3 and reinstalled v2. I have contacted support hoping that I can receive my credit back due to me being unsatisfied with v3. I am not going to bookmark you and use you for a reference going forward. Thank you for taking the time to do this.

  22. Jeanne in Boston, MASeptember 16, 2014 at 11:35 AM

    I upgraded to V3 on my MacBook Pro without any problems until I tried to click on the purchased image to my mat. NOTHING. I thought maybe I clicked something I shouldn't have because I was practicing with the tracing button. So, I sent Silhouette America an email, waited almost 24 hrs, got a reply that told me I was supposed to be clicking on the image to move it to the mat...........really????? No Kidding??? Duh. I've had this program since Provo Craft parted ways with SCAL. I know how to move images to the mat. So, I wrote back, told them that, waited another 24 hrs and they sent me another email telling me to uninstall V3 and reinstall. I did, and also re installed the designer key and all my library images (over 600) back into my library. Still not able to click on the image and it moves to the mat. I did figure out however that I could click on the "show library and mat" button. That worked. But after spending all this money, always upgrading like I was supposed to and upgrading to the designer series, I shouldn't have to use a split screen. I should be able to use the program the way it was designed. I sent another email yesterday telling them that again I couldn't move my images to the mat and I received an email this morning telling me to upgrade the graphics driver. That information is for a Windows computer.......How many times have I written that I have a MACBOOK PRO??? 6 times. 6 times I've told them or mentioned it. So, today I sent another email, tried calling over 10 times to the 800# and ALWAYS getting a recording telling me to leave my name and number and they would call me back within 24hrs during a business day. W H A T?????? You have to be joking. So........after getting frustrated with that, I uninstalled V3 AGAIN, reinstalled V2 (Which I think is Legacy???) and now I've used up my 3 reinstalls of my library images and the message tells me to call customer service to be able to fix the problem or send them an email. I sent an email and I let it rip. I am not a happy customer. Poor customer service to say the least.........there is none and I have to rely on an email??????? Are you kidding me????? Now I have V2 and have lost the ability to use Pic Scan so I can't use that either. This is horrible. With the pricing of all the things you think you have to have and having to upgrade to designer series if you want to be able to import svgs and paying through the nose for that, this is the kind of customer we get??? Pitiful.

  23. I just purchased a Pic Scan mat and was so excited to try it out...until I realized I would have to upgrade to v3 in order to use it. :( I've read so much "negative" about v3, I wondered whether you think most of the bugs have been worked out and if it's worth upgrading just to be able to use the Pic Scan mat?

    Thanks for your wonderful blog and willingness to share your opinions and experience with the Silhouette!

  24. Jin, on V3.3...I cannot find the test cut button anywhere. Not a happy camper with this, will try to install the legacy version. As always you are great. Can't say the same for Silhouette at the moment. They have a new biz version, I wonder if they're neglecting crafters now...

  25. Another bug with the newest version is skewing of cut after doing a print and scan. The five x five box cuts exactly square when doing a regular cut, but when doing a scan of registration marks, the box is canted to the lower left by 1/4 inch. The old Legacy cuts it exactly. Company says it is graphics card problem, but this is a brand new computer with up to date drivers (I verified). I also bought this machine for the Pixscan. No solution, but if anyone else had this problem or has a fix please let me know! Very frustrating. I also think the graphics they use now for the registration marks on the new version is part of the problem with not reading registration marks. Again, never one misread on the Legacy, but almost always a problem with the new version.

  26. I am having trouble getting my registration marks to read. This is the first thing I have tried to cut with the new version, and i can't get the marks to register. I have tried calibrating and tracing the marks, as well as more lighting, power on/off...etc. Is this a common problem?

    1. Another reader just posted on my FB page and it sounds like the same problem. You can find her post HERE .