Capturing Images for Silhouette -Part #1 – On a PC

Snipping tool featured imageHappy First Day of Spring!  While it may not feel like it where you are — (or here either) – Spring is on its way!  On our way home from our Florida vacation last week, we stopped in SC at a rest stop.  There were the most beautiful Bradford Pears blooming – and it was a beautiful reminder of what is to come!

Spring is on its Way!

So with that beautiful encouragement from God – on to our tutorial for today!

Often, many Silhouette users want to know how to import images into their Studio software to trace – especially when trying to bring in files from Machine Embroidery software that won’t open in Studio.  Sometimes, you may want to capture an image that you cannot save to your computer — So, the great thing is you have free tools built right into your software that allow you to do that!    Both on a MAC and a PC!  (I work on both!)  So, today’s tutorial will be on the PC – and tomorrow is on the MAC!

Today – Using the Snipping Tool on a PC

Microsoft Snipping Tool captures a screen shot of anything on your desktop, like a picture or a section of webpage. Snip a whole window, a rectangular section of the screen, or draw a freehand outline with your mouse or tablet pen (or your finger, if you’re using a PC with a touchscreen). Then you can paste, save, or e-mail the image using buttons right in the Snipping Tool window. Snipping Tool is available in Windows Vista and later versions of Microsoft OS.

  • Open Snipping Tool in Windows 8  by swiping in from the right edge of the screen, tapping Search (or if you’re using a mouse, pointing to the lower-right corner of the screen, moving the mouse pointer up, and then clicking Search), entering Snipping Tool in the search box, and then tapping or clicking Snipping Tool.  (Did you know you can make your right hand “Charm logos” appear easier by holding down the Microsoft Start logo key and C key on your keyboard?? So much easier than trying to get those darn things to pop up!)   In earlier versions of Windows, simply type “Snipping Tool” in your Search box. 

  • To capture a snip, tap or click the arrow next to the New button, choose the kind of snip you want, and then pick the area of your screen that you want to capture.  There are four types of “snips” available, when you click on the drop down menu.  Screen Shot 2015-03-20 SNIPPIN TOOLat 3.56.47 PM

The Free-form Snip enables you to draw an irregular line around an object or area.

The Rectangular Snip allows you to take a screenshot shaped as a rectangle, by dragging the cursor completely around an object.  This is the option I use the most often.

Window Snip allows you to select a window (from your browser) or dialog box and capture it.

Full-screen Snip enables you to capture the entire screen, like the old-fashioned Print Screen key.

  • Here, I am using BES Lettering 2 Embroidery Software for my design.   This software only allows me to save in embroidery formats — not something that Silhouette can read.  (Although, the newer version, BES Lettering 3, does save in SVG format.) The design that I am using here is from Planet Appliqué – Sailboat 2.

  • Sailboat Total

    Now,  I have isolated the Placement Stitch for my appliqué and am going to copy it & bring it into Silhouette Studio to cut the Appliqué.  Be sure that you have the grid turned off in the background, and “de-selected” the design.  Otherwise, the Snipping Tool will capture the black boxes around the design.

Sailboat snip

At this point, I can paste my “snip” of the Appliqué piece into the Silhouette Studio Software.  NOTE:  It does NOT come in as the actual size & must be sized to fit your machine embroidery appliqué.  As you can see from the picture below – it comes in small & difficult to see.  So, I often zoom in and change my line color to black to make it easier to trace.

Snip in Sil

To turn this into a Cut file that the Silhouette can read – -I have to trace it.  So, open the Trace window in your toolbar. Select the Trace area, and drag your mouse around the image to trace it.  Once it has turned yellow, Trace Outer Edge.   Then you can delete your original image and size the cut file to fit your appliqué  embroidery design.   If you have a jump stitch, (like I do here), it will also trace & turn into a cut file.  Its easy to fix, though.

Simply, select your object – Go to the dropdown menu and click on “Object” – drop down to “Release Compound Path” and click.  Now, select the parts of the jump stitch that you don’t want & delete!

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 4.21.17 PM


This is the technique that I use if I am working in an Embroidery Software that does NOT save to Studio format.   This can also be used to capture all kinds of information that you might want to save.    You can capture part of a web page, email — a recipe or picture online — just about anything that can be displayed on your screen!  Its really that easy — and its free!! So — get to Snipping!!

Tomorrow’s tutorial will be to discuss how to do basically the same thing on a MAC — If you like what you’ve read here — be sure to Pin it — or share on Facebook!

Until then — Hugs, Terri


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  1. Judi Ziobro says

    Even tho I don’t have a Silhouette machine, I often read your blogs to somehow keep up with what there is out there. Besides, even tho the tutorial may not apply, it’s fun to “hear” your words of wisdom. Sounds like you are enjoying grandmother-hood as much as I do. Stay well and safe.


    • Judy — Glad you are reading & “keeping up”! And you are right – being a grandmother is the absolute best! Hope you are doing well & we get to see one another some time! Thanks for writing! Terri

  2. Sue Turner says

    I tried the snipping tool for the first time. I got a dragon. I cannot ungroup it and cut the different colors out. This is our school mascot and I really need help. It had the white box around it. I did trace it and got rid of the white. Don’t know what to do next.

    Thanks, and I love your tutorials.

    • Sue — Its really hard to know exactly how to help you when I can’t see the design that you are tracing. So much depends on the original image. Is it a very detailed design & does it end up with a lot of pieces? Let me know and I’ll do my best to help. Maybe you could post a picture. Terri

  3. When I first seen your blog I was thinking this has to be the same Terri from years ago doing emb. and yes I was right.
    I use Embrid to do the same thing but done it with my Silhouette HD 4 yrs ago before I got a cameo to do my grand daughters quilt. Now it’s so much easier because I can just export the tack down stitch as an svg. Who would have thought 5 yrs ago we would be where we are today in the paper crafting/sewing, emb world.