How to use PDF in Cricut Design Space – 3 Insider Tips

Quick Summary – If you just want to convert a file for free, use one of the buttons above. Read on to understand when to choose between PNG or SVG. Basically, with a PNG flat file, you can control what is solid or transparent for cutting. With SVG, you can work with individual elements, layers, and colors. When enlarging, SVG stays crisp and clear while the PNG will get blurry or pixelated.

Design with your Favorite Applications and Use PDF as the Bridge

Do you want to use PDF in Cricut Design Space? Even if you don’t know it yet, you will want to! PDF files can be created in any application and they scale to any size without losing quality.

It’s simple. Use your favorite vector illustration or presentation program to create your design and save it as a PDF file. Then, use the free service ConvertPDF.Today to generate any of the formats that Design Space uses. Your design will be converted flawlessly to either a vector (SVG or DXF) or image format (JPG, PNG, GIF, or PNG) ready for cutting. You’ll get a perfect match: no font mismatches, no broken lines, no hassles.

Save time and ensure the best quality by designing in the program that’s most comfortable for you. Then run it through ConvertPDF.Today to get it ready for your Cricut machine.

Three Tips for using PDF in Design Space

  1. Use a vector format (SVG is best) when possible to give you the most flexibility to modufy and resize the design in Design Space without having to return to the original program that you designed it in.
  2. Convert text to curves if you need an exact match when importing. Fonts are a big can of worms and can cause all sorts of issues when moving from PDF to SVG. If you want to continue working with the text in Design Space, don’t convert it to curves but know that a font substitution may be made if the same font that you chose is not available in Design Space.
  3. Ungroup designs in SVG to work with each element if needed and group before resizing to ensure fidelty.

Can I upload a PDF to Cricut Design Space?

Yes, by converting it into one of the five formats that Design Space supports. Listed below, the best vector format to use is SVG and the best bitmap image format to use is PNG.

VECTOR Formats

  • SVG – Scalable Vector Graphic Format – Best vector choice for cutting)
  • DXF – CAD Interchange Format (Cumbersome format, font issues)

BITMAP IMAGE Formats

  • JPG – Lossy Format; Best for designs with photos
  • PNG – Portable Format; Best image format for cutting
  • GIF – Limited Color Palatte; OK for Line Art

Which Is Better for Cricut – SVG or PNG? Vector or Bitmap?

PDF is a vector format. This means that all the objects and text can be individually manipulated in Cricut Design Space. If you search for advice on using PDF in Cricut Design Space, you’ll be advised that all you can do is create a JPEG or PNG image format. This simply isn’t true!

Raster formats are very limited since they are flat bitmap images. Ideally, since PDF starts as a vector format, you want to convert it to a vector format. This ensures that no objects or text are lost or flattened into raster images. Choose a vector format – SVG is ideal for cutting applications. With access to all of the objects, attributes, and text, you’ll have full control over every element in your project

Learn more about the difference between vector and bitmap graphics

Why IS SVG Better Than PNG?

The simple answer is that the PNG design is locked down and SVG isn’t. You can’t ungroup PNG and change the design. You can just turn on and off areas to cut. With SVG, a vector format, you can ungroup and modify all the elements of your design, including shapes, text, and fonts, using the editing tools in Design Space.

Below are examples of vector (SVG) and bitmap graphics (PNG) in Cricut Design Space. As you can see, the vector formats allow you the freedom to fine-tune and modify your design right in Design Space. Functionality is very limited with bitmap images like PNG and JPEG. With these, you can just specify what’s inside and outside the cutting lines.

Read more about how to use vector and raster images on the Cricut Help Forum. You’ll also find plenty of information here on the Visual Integrity website. If you decide to purchase one of our conversion programs like pdf2picture or subscribe to ConvertPDF.Online, our cloud PDF converter, know that Cricut Access members always get free support!

Example of SVG in Design Space – Enlarge, move and change the color of the moon

how to use pdf in cricut - vector
Vector graphics in Cricut Design Space are editable at the object level

When you choose a vector format like SVG or DXF, you have total control over your design – objects, attributes like color and rotation, groups, layers, and what’s on or off for cutting. In this example, we’ve imported the PDF above but changed the size and position of the moon. If this were a bitmap image, you would need to go back to your original design program, regenerate the image and import it again.

Example of PNG in Design Space – Change cutting boundaries; no way to change or move individual elements.

A PNG bitmap image in Cricut Design Space limits you to deciding cut lines by turning areas on and off.

Use Any Vector Drawing Program to Save Your Design as PDF

You can use any drawing or presentation application to create your design. This includes simple yet powerful tools like Microsoft PowerPoint, Adobe Spark, and Adobe Illustrator Draw for iPad. You can even use the drawing and clipart tools in Microsoft Word! As long as it is a vector drawing program and can save or share a PDF file, you are all set. You’ll be able to use your PDF in Cricut Design Space.

Convert the PDF to SVG or PNG

Once you have created your PDF file, convert it for free using ConvertPDF.Today. Choose SVG as the output format if you want to make and modifications or change the size of the design. SVG is better and faster for most designs. If you want to use a bitmap format, PNG is best.

Upload your Design to Cricut Design Space

Use the Upload feature in Design Space to add your converted SVG or PNG file to the library. Choose Insert Image to open it on your design board. Now you have your PDF in Cricut Design Space!

Import PDF in Cricut Design Space as SVG or DXF
Cricut Design Space imports two vector formats – SVG and DXF. JPG, GIF, PNG, and BMP are raster image formats and don’t contain separate elements.

Fine-Tune Your Design

Now that you’ve learned how to use PDF in Cricut Design Space, you are ready to get to work! Once the drawing appears on-screen, you’ll be able to edit all objects, attributes, and text. On the right, you’ll see all of the elements listed. Use all the familiar features to hide objects, change attributes, and fine-tune positioning. If you used a program that supports groups or layers, these will appear as well.

Example of PDF design imported into Design Space as SVG
Example of PDF converted to SVG and then imported into Cricut Design Space.

Why is PDF is a Great Design Choice for Cricut Devices?

Artistic Freedom. By choosing PDF as your output format, you can use virtually any drawing software out there, on any device. Even free apps on iPad like Adobe Illustrator Draw will give you the power you need to make great designs. All your tool of choice needs to be able to do is save or share as PDF.

PDF in Cricut means Flexibility. Because PDF is a vector format, all the imported elements in Cricut Design Space will be scalable. This means that you can resize them from tiny to huge without skipping a beat.

Change Those Attributes. With Bitmap images like PNG and JPEG, what you see is what you get. You can’t change colors and you can’t change objects. All you can do is turn the whole flat image on or off for cutting. In vector formats like SVG, every element can be moved, modified, deleted or resized. Using vector graphics, you have a much finer level of control over your masterpiece.

Limitations of scanned PDF files. Once any drawing is scanned, it has already been reduced to a bitmap image in a PDF wrapper. Unfortunately, all vector information is removed when scanned. You can still convert these PDF files to SVG but the resulting file will be a PNG image (wrapped as SVG). Not to worry! Although not as functional as SVG and vector formats, Cricut still handles PNG files exceptionally well.