Types of Cutting Files: Digital Cutting Files Explained

The biggest rage in scrapbooking and card making right now is the use of digital cutters. The one most people are familiar with is Provocraft’s Cricut

. The familiarity is largely in part because they spend a ton of money on advertising- both in print and constant late night infomercials.

There are many different types of digital cutters in a wide price range. With most cutters you can create, buy or download cutting files and use on your machine. What makes this confusing is the file format. Most machines will only recognize specific formats and leads to endless forum discussions on file conversions :-)

What is an MTC file? MTC is format used by third party software Make the Cut In my opinion this the best software available for your digital cutter.The software works with all the major machines ( excluding Cricut) and is easy to use as well as being quite powerful- A lot of bang for your buck!

What is an SVG file?
SVG or ( Scalable Vector Graphics ) files have become popular because they can be used with third part software and a variety of cutting machines. If you are lucky enough to have older version of SCAL, SCAL 2 you can cut SVG files just with your Cricut. After several lawsuits there is no software available right now they will let you cut images on a Crciut other than with Provocraft products and cartridges.
In my opinion SVG format will keep growing in popularity and I suspect will be the industry standard.

SVG files can be imported into Klic N Kut software, Sure Cuts A Lot ( SCAL2), AI , Inkscape and Funtime. Files are usually created in a vector program then imported into this format for use. You can open AI files and save as SVG in Inksacpe or AI. So if you have SCAL software and see a file you like for sale or downlaod but it is not in SVG format- get the AI version and easily convert.
SVG format can also be use din the most popluar thrd part software for digital cutters, Make the Cut.

What is a GSD File?

Silhouette Cameo

GraphTec Vector Graphic Data or GSD format- This file is read by software used with machines made by Graphtec , including Craft Robo, QuicKutz Silhouette the newest addition, Silhouette Cameoand Wishblade. Yes- there are all basically the same machine!
With a and the Robo Master software its comes with you can also download an encrypted GSD file from Quickutz website ( these are saved as GST files). Only A Silhouette can cut these files and they are not transferable. i.e you cannot share or distribute.

There are several version of the Robo Master software used with GSD files and they are not backwards compatible. This means if you get a GSD file created with version 4 it will not open in version 2. MOst design files are made using Robomaster 2.4. Any one who sells there GSD files knows this and uses this version so you will not have trouble opening. Where is can be a problem is if you are downloading free files from the Internet. If you have trouble opening the file- try converting or download the 2.4 version as an alternate for your up to date version.

GSD files can also be read by third party software. For example, You can SOMETIMES import a GSD file into Klic N cut software and cut with a Klic N Kut machine or with Graphtec machine if you are using GE version of KNK software.

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GSD does NOT work with Funtime software

What is a DXF file?
DXF or Drawing Exchange Format file used with many vector programs and machines that use vector files.
They can be read by the Graphtec machines bundled software including Wishblade, Craft Robo and QK Silhouette. You can load DXF files in Robo M aster software and save as a GSD file or cut with the DXF file. DXF is about the closet thing to a “universal” file. A DXF file will open or be imported into Funtime, KNK Software, Inkscape, Robo Master and Adobe Illustrator (AI).
DXF file are easily converted to different formats. You can using various vector programs to create you own DXF files and then load into Robo Master to cut on your Silhoutte, Wishblade, etc. Downside to DXF files is that they are huge- typically 10 times the size of a GSD file.
Inkscape is an open source ( free) program . Adobe Illustrator is probably the most popular and well known.

What is a WPC File?
WPC (WinPC) files are used with Pazzles Inspiration & Bosskut’s Gazelle. They are also used with the 3rd party software by Scrap Savvy called Funtime.

What is a KNK File?
KNK is a Klic-n-Kut file. They are used in Klic N Kut software which comes with KNK cutters. You can also buy Klic N Kut Studio GE and use with other cutters. Only KNK software can open a KNK file, Once opened a KNK file can be exported into many other formats.

AI files are Adobe Illustrator files. These files can often be used in free vector program, Inkscape, ( if created with pdf capability) Many people use Inkscape and Adobe to create files then save and import into other formats. You can also cut directly from AI program to your cutter.

What is a SCUT file?
SCUT files are SCAL ( Sure Cuts A Lot) software files for Cricut. They have become more popular to buy and downland because they are so much smaller than SVG files- not to mention Cricut users are tired of being held hostage by Cricut cartridges.

pdf files.
Most pdf files are vectorized. If you import you can then save selected and edited image to use in your cutter. For example, import a vectorized pdf into Inkscape then save the image as a dxf file and load into Robomaster and cut.
You can import pdf files into KNK but not Funtime.

You might also like: My Favourite Scrapbooking Tools

Software Downloads – Free Downloads- Other Helpful Links
Free vector program http://www.inkscape.org/
Klic-N-Kut Studio GE tyo use with Craft Robo, Silououtte, Wishblade
Funtime Software There is also a free trial version of Funtime here .
Adobe Illustrator CS4


  1. Chanel says

    Thanks for the explanation… Of course, I’ll probably have to read through it about three times before I can say “I get it” :)

    I did have a question about the Making Memories Slice Design Cards. I’ve read that they are SD cards. Do you know if these images can be used with any of the other digital cutters? (I already have a Klic-N-Kut, a Silhouette and a Cricut.)

  2. Anonymous says

    I am a newbie to the Cricut machine; however I have a background in design and have worked with plotters before. I love the idea behind the cricut, but not having to pay for cartridges. Design Studio is horrible and offers very few creative options. SCAL and Inkscape or MUCH better and have endless possibilities, but not the convenience of having the artwork ready to go like the cartridges. What does one do? :)

    This is not a hack or anything – just a loop hole someone missed. The ORIGINAL .pdf files of the cartridge handbooks are true vector images…. this means that they are crisp, clean and ready to cut. Import the ORIGIANL .pdf file into Inkscape (does a page at a time. Use the node selector to select the image you want. Copy it. Paste it into a new file. You may need to add a stroke color if you can’t see it. Save as a .svg. Import in to SCAL and cut. Unlimited access to the cricut cartridge artwork with out having to purchase them or do anything illegal.

    I have found 64 original .pdf files and hope to find more. Most are on 4shared. If the .pdf is not all bitmappy and jagged…. your good to go.

    Good Luck!!

  3. Lisa-Free Cutting Files and Craft Ideas says

    Hi- you are indeed correct. This may be why Cricut pulled their pdf files off their site :-)

  4. gdesigner says

    I’ve been considering Making Memories SLICE; I like the price and the free placement – my question is is it possible for me to cut my OWN vectors from the SLICE? If so, how? I can’t find a listing of the file type for SLICE and am hesitant to buy one, only to discover I am limited to their established designs.

    Help/advice is greatly appreciated!

  5. Marilyn says

    I’ve downloaded the Hawaiian couple paper doll file, but in SCAL I can’t seem to separate out the various parts so I can cut them from different papers. Help! Thanks.

  6. Tom says

    “AI files are Adobe Illustrator files. These files can often be used in free vector program, Inkscape, ( if created with pdf capability) Many people use Inkscape and Adobe to create files then save and import into other formats. You can also cut directly from AI program to your cutter.”

    WHICH cutter can this be done with? I’m completely new at this and I’d like to know before I spring for a cutter; I already have Adobe Illustrator. Thanks in advance.

  7. Lisa-Free Cutting Files and Craft Ideas says

    Not sure I understand you question- to make work with Black Cat Cougar
    I believe you use INkscape ( or MTC) with it… if so just use SVG file.

  8. Mary says


    I hope I can get some help with this.

    I have a Pazzle and love it.

    I was at a craft store and saw the “MakingMemories Slice” design card. It looks to be a SD card with the fonts and graphics in it. My question is If I purchase the design card, will I be able to transfer it to a program publisher, word, or ?? then copy and paste to my Pazzle program? Will I be able to use it?

    I’m always looking for new graphics and Fonts to use.

    Thank you for your time and help.


  9. mariaan says

    Hi is there a way to use gypsy or cricut files with the craft robo. Or some software that will make this possible.

    Thanks for sharing all your lovely files

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