I really enjoy helping people to learn to use Cricut Design Space. I like to try to answer questions or solve problems that people are having with the information in on my blog. One question I see asked over and over is what is a SVG file. The second question I see a lot is how do I use SVG files in Cricut Design Space.
First, let’s talk about what a SVG file is.
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What is a SVG file?
A SVG file is a Scalable Vector Graphics is an XML-based vector image format for two-dimensional graphics. Basically, is a cutting file that can be used with your Cricut or other die cutting machine. It contains actual data in it that tells your die cutting machine where to cut, what colors to use along with other information.
The benefits of using a SVG are that it is a high quality image. When you scale this image up to a very large size it will continue to keep that high quality and crispness to it. The second benefit of using a SVG is that each color will be on it’s own layer. This make the image a lot easier to work with on your Cricut.
When you download a true svg file, the end of the file will actually say .svg on it. The icon for the file will look like the Google Chrome or the Internet Explorer icon. One thing I cannot stress enough is that a SVG file is very different from an image, like the images you can find on Google or shared on social media.
SVG file or Image – How to spot the difference
There are several ways to know if you are using a svg file or an image for your project. First, if you have to download the file it could be a svg. If you can just right click on it and save it to your photos, it is just an image.
Once it is saved to your computer or phone, if you can see a pretty preview image of the design, that is just an image and not a svg file. The SVG file will always have a HTML or website based icon. I go into that more in the information below.
When you upload it to Design Space if it asks you to clean up the image, remove the background or wants you to choose if you want to save it as a print then cut or cut only file, then it is just an image.
Now, there are ways to work with images and make them into a fully colored, layered image in Design Space, and I talk about that more HERE, but these are not the same as svg files.
Downloading SVG files
To use a SVG image, you download it to your computer. It usually comes in a zipped folder, which you will have to unzip to get at the actual SVG file. Every computer or device you use may follow a different set of directions for how to unzip a folder. Therefore, you will need to do some research for the specific device you are using.
Start by going to your Download folder. Find the downloaded file. I right click on the zip folder and unzip it on my computer. Then I can upload the svg file into Cricut Design Space. I have compared this process to getting a package from Amazon. The zip folder is how it is delivered to you (the Amazon box). You have to open that, to get at the items you really want (the SVG file)
Once you unzip that and get to the files inside there will probably be a few different versions of of the same image. One might be a png or jpg file. Another one will be a svg file. I like to make a real world comparison for people, so think of buying a movie but this one movie comes in a VHS format, a DVD format and a digital download format all with one purchase. All of these will get you the movie but you cannot use all of the version/formats with all operating systems.
So what you need to look at is not the NAME of the file, but the file type. The file type will either say svg or it will have an Internet Explore, Microsoft Edge or other internet based platform in the file type information. In the image below I show what was inside a zip folder that I downloaded. The file with the arrow pointing to it is the svg file, which is the one you want to upload to Design Space.
When you upload a svg file like this to Design Space, which is a true svg file, the program knows that it is a svg file and it will not ask you if you want to save it as a print then cut image or a cut image. It will automatically go right to “save as cut file”. The file will also come in with the colors already broken into layers for you.
I will always look in Cricut Design Space to see if there is an image there that works for my needs before I go looking for a SVG file. The difference between a SVG file and a Cricut image is that a Cricut image can only be used in Cricut Design Space. A SVG can be used in any software that is compatible with SVG files.
If you are working with a SVG file, there is NO NEED to clean it up when you upload it into Cricut Design Space. It should already be cleaned up and divided into layers by color for you.
SVG files have to be made in a program outside of Design Space, like Inkscape. You cannot save a design you created in Cricut Design Space as a SVG file.
Websites with FREE SVG files
In the list below, I am going to share some sites where you can get free SVG files and are a good high quality images. Just click on the name to be taken to the site to view their SVG files. If you are buying a SVG from someone NOT listed below, please read the reviews. Not everyone knows how to create a SVG so that the colors are broken into layers for you.
Please read the information on each one of the following sites regarding if you are allowed to use these SVG files for personal use only, or if they also come with a commercial use license before you decide to start selling anything made with the designs. Each designer and seller might have their own set of rules for you to follow and you would not want to violate any copyright laws. For more information on copyright law and copyright infringement you can click HERE.
Craft House SVG
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In the video below, I will show you how to download a SVG, unzip that downloaded folder so you can get to the SVG file, and how to upload that SVG to Cricut Design Space. I have compared this to getting a box in the mail from Amazon. You have to open that box to get at the items you ordered which are inside. So when you purchase a svg, if it comes in a zip folder remember, you have to get inside that folder to get the actual svg file. Do some research for how to unzip a folder for the device you are working on. For my computer, I right click to get the Extract option. I believe on a Mac you double click on the zip folder to unzip it.
SVG files and mobile devices
Cricut Design Space looks very different on a mobile device than it does on a computer. This is why I created my Teach Me Cricut Design Space for iPad handbook. I recorded all of the steps to follow to teach you how to use Cricut Design Space on my iPad, but this handbook has also been helpful for Cricut owners that are using Design Space on their phones. The functions and buttons are the same as on the iPad, but the screen is just smaller. You can download a free copy of my Teach Me Cricut Design Space for iPad handbook HERE.
The following video will show you the process for downloading and unzipping a zip folder on the iPad, and then how to find the svg inside that zipped folder and upload the svg to Design Space. You can find this and other Cricut videos on my YouTube channel HERE.
Bad SVG files
Sometimes you might download or purchase a bad SVG file. This would be one that has not been made correctly. It might be broken up into hundreds of tiny pieces. I had someone reach out to me about a SVG file they purchased to see if I could help them repair it in Cricut Design Space. Below is a video that will show you how I was able to improve the quality of this poorly made SVG file.
I hope that this tutorial helped you to understand what a SVG file is, and how to use SVG files in Cricut Design Space. If you do have more question, please let me know by leaving a comment below. Then I can respond and clarify things for you, but I can add that information to this post to help the next person that has the same question.
Making your own SVG files
After you start using SVG files you might want to look into how to make your own SVG files. I have started to look into some of the various programs, websites and apps that you can use to make your own SVG files, which you can read HERE.