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

pdf2picture converts PDF to DXF and SVG for Cricut Makers

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. It’s a rich vector format that scales to any size without losing quality. It’s about to become your best friend.

Create your best works of art in any application and save them as PDF. pdf2picture converts them flawlessly to SVG or DXF, ready for cutting. You’ll get a perfect match: no font mismatches, no broken lines, no hassles. Spend your time creating in the program that’s most comfortable for you. Let pdf2picture do the rest.

How to use PDF in Cricut Cutting Machines

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 or DXF. Both are scalable vector graphics, 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

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 DXF

Once you have created your PDF file, convert it using pdf2picture. Choose SVG or DXF as the output format. SVG is better and faster for most designs. DXF can be used if the drawing is very complex. Either format gives you a great path to use PDF in Cricut.

Upload your Design to Cricut Design Space

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

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 objects.

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. You can now 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.

Examples of Vector vs Bitmap in Cricut Design Space

Below are examples of vector and bitmap graphics 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.

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 literally go back to the drawing board, regenerate the image and import it again.

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