The Test Cut feature, found in the Send panel, helps you to determine your optimal cut settings before you send your job to be cut.

Pro Tip: Even Pros use the Test Cut feature.

How to use the Test Cut Feature

The Test Cut feature will cut a small square and triangle in the upper left corner of the material to test the settings. 

When performing a test cut:

  1. Position the blade over your material using the arrows
  2. Then, once the blade is in the desired position, press the "Test" button


If additional testing is needed after adjustments are made, you may use the arrow keys to feed the material in or out or move the blade left or right to test in a different position.

Creating Optimal Cut Settings

Cut settings can be customized in the Send panel of Silhouette Studio.

IMPORTANT: The key to successful cutting results is to find the lowest possible setting levels (Blade + Force combo) where the material is cut successfully.

Blade Setting

The primary factor in cutting is of course the blade. The blade's setting determines how much of the blade is exposed to cut your material.

You will need to make sure the correct tool is selected in the Send panel. 

If using an AutoBlade, your AutoBlade will automatically adjust to the number displayed in the software. 

All other blade models need to be adjusted manually to the recommended or selected level prior to loading them into the machine.

Most blades (AutoBlades, Manual Blades, Ratchet Blades, and Deep Cut Blades) can be adjusted in 0.1 mm increments. As more of the blade is exposed, the blade will be pushed through the material to the level of the blade’s setting.

EXAMPLE: If you are cutting cardstock that measures 0.3 mm thickness, you would need to set your blade to a setting of at least ‘3’ to cut through the material.

If not enough blade is exposed, the blade won’t likely cut all the way through the material.

If too much blade is exposed, the resulting cut might appear fine, BUT there can be a few resulting issues


  • The blade wears down more quickly or gets chipped more easily
  • The blade goes through the material too far and cuts into the machine (if not using a cutting mat)
  • The blade goes through the material too far and catches on the mat causing cutting misalignments (if using the mat)

Force Setting

Another primary factor in cutting is the Force setting. Force determines how much downward force is being used to press the blade down as it is dragged through the material.

Some materials that are thinner or more delicate in nature, such as copy paper or film materials such as vinyl, require lower Force settings whereas materials that are thicker or denser in nature, such as cardstock and chipboard, require higher Force settings.

The Force setting is controlled by the software. It ranges from a numerical setting of 1 up to 33.*

The key to successful cutting is to cut at the lowest Force setting possible where the cut is successful. You can of course increase the Force setting to be higher and the cut will still appear to work, but it can cause additional issues including:

  • The blade wears down more quickly or gets chipped more easily
  • The material may tear more readily, especially at the corners of designs

* What measurement do these number settings coincide with? This information has been lost to the sands of time. Also, it's just a scaling number going from the machine's lowest to highest capability, which is at a maximum measurement of up to 300 gf (grams force). If you want to get all geeky, you can learn about solenoid technology here.

Speed Setting

The Speed setting determines how fast the blade travels as it cuts through the material.

Some materials that may require more finesse or be prone to tearing generally require slower speeds. However, most film materials, such as vinyl and heat transfer can generally be cut at higher speeds.

The Speed setting is controlled by the software and ranges from a numerical setting of 1 up to 30. 

Speed is largely a setting of convenience to control the time it takes to cut. You usually want to cut as fast as the material allows to shorten the length of cut time. However, you’ll want to make sure that the material can handle higher speeds.  Going too fast can cause cutting issues including:

  • The material may tear or not provide a clean cutting result, especially at the corners of designs

* We do know this one. Each number represents the number of centimeters being cut per second.

Passes/Double Cut 

NOTICE: This setting is labeled as "Passes" for software version 4.0 and above. It is alternately labeled as "Double Cut" in lower software versions.

The Passes setting determines how many times the machine goes through the job

This has a default setting of '1' for most materials. For some thicker materials, such as Chipboard, it may be increased as needed. 

NOTE: When attempting thicker or denser materials that are unsuccessful after increasing other settings, you may wish to increase the number of Passes in order to provide a cleaner or more complete cut.

Line Segment Overcut (Triangle icon

The Overcut function creates a clean-cut corner for each point where two lines meet by extending the cut line beyond the original end of the line as it was designed. 

In the image below, you can see the line endpoints extending beyond the original design's corners:

The overcut lines are very small and usually unnoticeable. The blade will begin cutting 0.01mm before the line begins, lift between each line, and end the line 0.01mm longer. 

If you are using a material that requires weeding (such as vinyl or heat transfer), or the corners of the design are slightly torn or not cutting through, turn ON 'Line Segment Overcut' to achieve cleaner-cut corners. 

By default, this setting is OFF.  While off, the blade will cut each shape without lifting. The blade tip rotates to accommodate corners and curves.