The Silhouette Studio® software has a variety of tools to manipulate your designs. This tutorial will cover the basic features of the Transform panel (which houses Align, Scale, Rotate, and Move actions) and the Replicate Panel. First, we’ll look at the Align options. You’ll find this in the first tab of the Transform Panel. We have here a batch of ungrouped dots.
Your Center options are for Center to Page and Align Center.
Center to Page takes your selected shapes and moves them in the current arrangement to the center of the page.
Align Center takes your selected shapes and aligns their centers with each other. Now they are all stacked on top of each other.
The horizontal align tools take the selected shapes and align the edges to the left, middle, or right. Notice that choosing left will move everything to the left-most shape’s edge. Choosing right will move everything selected to the right-most shape’s edge.
The vertical align tool takes the selected shapes and aligns their top edges, to the vertical center, and to the bottom.
If you want to spread your shapes evenly, you can choose horizontal spacing or vertical spacing. Use this in combination with the appropriate align tools to get the look you want.
When you have the shapes selected, you’ll see some of these Align options in the Quick-access Toolbar at the top, which can be accessed with a flyout arrow if your screen is small. This is a dynamic toolbar, so you may see more or less up here than what’s on the screen, depending on your own screen size when working in Silhouette Studio®.
Now let’s look at the Scale choices, which you’ll find in the 2nd tab of the Transform panel. It looks like a diagonal, double-pointed arrow.
These percentage choices change the selected design in scale from its current size.
If you want to give a design specific dimensions, you can do this with these input boxes. Click the lock icon if you want to keep the aspect ratio locked and keep it proportionate when resizing. Changing the input in one box will automatically adjust the other in relation to it.
If you want the skew the design, which might be desirable for some shapes, although perhaps not this dinosaur, then leave the icon unlocked.
Again, while shapes are selected, you’ll find Scale options at the top in the Quick Access Toolbar.
The size of a shape can also be resized with control points on a shape’s selection box. You’ll see the dimensions reflected in the Scale input boxes.
The next tab in your Transform panel holds Rotation choices.
“Rotate To” will rotate your selected design to a specific rotation angle, assuming it starts at 0 degrees.
“Rotate By” will ignore its current rotation angle and will rotate your selected shape by a certain degree from its current point.
You can also rotate an object freehand by clicking and dragging the green circle on the bounding box. Hold Shift while rotating to snap to common angles, like 45 degrees and 90 degrees.
Next, let’s look at the Move tab. This icon looks like a four-pointed arrow, and you’ll find it in the fourth tab of the Transform Panel,
and also in the Quick Access Toolbar when shapes are selected.
Let’s turn on the Grid with a right-click menu choice so you can see this better. We’ve got a square on the page that we’ve drawn approximately in the center of my page. In the top section, you can move your selected shape a certain distance from its current point. If we want to move the square 2 inches to the right, we’ll type in 2.0 for the Distance, hit Enter or Return on my keyboard, and then click the right arrow. It moves the shape exactly the distance and direction we input.
In the “Move To” section, you can choose to move the center of your shape or the upper left corner of your shape to a specific position based on X and Y coordinates. Designer Edition users can choose additional points in this box.
To move the center of the shape to (3,3) on the mat, make sure the blue dot is in the center, type in 3 for X and 3 for Y, then click Apply.
To move the upper left corner of the shape to exactly (0,0) on the mat, move the blue dot to the upper left corner, type in 0 for both X and Y, then click Apply.
If you’re not moving a square shape, the position is considering edges of the shape and projecting to an invisible corner.
We’ve covered Align, Scale, Rotate, and Move. Now let’s look at the Replicate Panel. You’ll find the Replicate Panel directly below the Transform Panel. It looks like several overlapped ovals.
Duplicate makes an identical copy to the left, right, above, or below the original. You can get the same result by holding your Ctrl key (or Cmd on a Mac) and pressing your keyboard arrow keys.
Rows and Columns duplicates the number of copies to the right or below to make rows or columns of three or four.
You can fill your page this way with multiple replicate selections, or simply choose “Fill Page” and the software will do it for you.
Mirror makes a mirror copy of your design below, above, to the left, or right of the original.
Rotate Copies lets you rotate one, two, three, or five copies of an object, stacked on top of the original. You can make fun designs with an oval or other shapes.
There’s one more tab in the Replicate Panel we want to cover here. “Number of Copies” lets you position and rotate copies of a shape, choosing the number and direction of copies to be made.
We will start with a 2-inch leaf that we’ve positioned in the upper left corner of the mat. We want to make 5 copies to the right, so we will enter 5 in the Number, choose Right for my Position, then click “Replicate.”
If we want the copies to rotate, we can drag this red bar around or type a value into the input. Now we will make 5 copies down with a rotation of 90 degrees for each subsequent copy in the row. Can you see how this could make some fun custom patterns?
Finally, you can create duplicates with a specific offset from the shape before it. Starting with the first leaf selected again, we will click the Offset button to expose X and Y offset values. We will type in 2 inches for each, leave the 90-degree rotation, and click Replicate. We’ve created a diagonal row of duplicates!
You can use small offsets to leave shapes overlapped, and you can just copy them along the X or the Y axis if you don’t want a diagonal line.
The third tab in the Replicate Panel is for Object on Path, which is covered in a separate tutorial.
This has been a tutorial on the manipulation tools, including Align, Scale, Rotate, Move, and Replicate, in all editions of Silhouette Studio®.