Adobe Illustrator - Don't check Responsive when exporting to SVG

Don’t check this box!


I learned the hard way that checking the Responsive box when exporting to SVG results in your design being shrunk to 75% expected size when uploaded to the Glowforge UI.

Here’s a 1" square uploaded to the Glowforge UI as a responsive SVG and non-responsive SVG


For anyone who wants to recreate the issue:
1" square svg (non-responsive)
1" square svg (responsive)


Also, be sure to set Font to “convert to outline” in the 2nd dropdown, or any text exported will not be available for engrave/score/cut.


Responsive = 72dpi, non-responsive = 96dpi. Or whatever, I’m guessing. (72 / 96) = 0.75

1 Like

Well, the files are almost the same:

sequoia:Downloads tim$ diff 1inchsquare*.svg
< <svg id="Layer_1" data-name="Layer 1" xmlns="" width="25.4mm" height="25.4mm" viewBox="0 0 72 72">
> <svg id="Layer_1" data-name="Layer 1" xmlns="" viewBox="0 0 72 72">
<   <title>1inchsquare</title>
>   <title>1inchsquare_responsive</title>

The “non-responsive” one explicitly sets the height and width to 25.4mm (1 inch) whereas the “responsive” one doesn’t set the height and width at all. So it’s no surprise that the GFUI doesn’t know how big the responsive one should be.

All the other measurements in the file are in user units (bare numbers with no explicit units attached), which have no fixed mapping to real life units if the <svg> element doesn’t have an explicit size set. In that case the GFUI has to just guess, and I think it uses 96 user units per inch if the file doesn’t specify. (And because 72 is 3/4 of 96, you see 75% scaling as a result.)

Any SVG file needs to use real units (e.g., mm or in) throughout or it needs to establish the size of user units by setting the height/width on the outermost <svg> element. Any file which fails to do so is going to show up as different sizes in different programs, depending on what assumptions the individual program makes as to the size of user units. (Adobe uses 72 per inch, Inkscape and GlowForge use 96 per inch, etc.)


Non-responsive = 72dpi, responsive = completely unspecified. (So it’ll import differently into different programs!)


Also, different screen resolutions. Like retina displays and 4k monitors. Or 320x240 LCD screens. For most people, most screens are around 96-105 DPI.

I figured out the same when trying to debug the problem. I almost fell into the trap of relentlessly pursuing a fix for the DPI in illustrator when I realized that the problem simply solved itself by not checking the box.


Just curious - Why are you exporting to SVG instead of saving as a SVG in Illustrator?

If you are exporting as SVG to import into a CAD program such as Fusion 360, you get a lot of errors and failed imports.

Autodesk always recommends saving as SVG from Illustrator to avoid these problems, so I’ve always avoided the export SVG feature.


GF recommends that as well. Export functions tend to be stripped down protocol translators and what they strip out is often critical. Save As is a better approach if the software package supports it.

But don’t use the compressed SVG form (svgz) as that’s not compatible with much at all :slight_smile:


Adobe Illustrator CC
SVG Settings (when designing in inches):
Save As or Save As Copy


(if designing in centimeters, use Decimal Places: 1)


Thanks. I thought I had missed Adobe fixing and/or adding something else to the export SVG feature.

1 Like

Old habit from day job. Exporting as SVG strips out all illustrator specific metadata, resulting in a smaller file size. If Autodesk or Glowforge are dependent on that metadata, that would be the reason for issues on import.

Since the manual has no recommendations on working with Illustrator, I just went with what I knew. I haven’t had any other problems with Exporting as SVG, but it looks like I may need to change that

1 Like

@Dan did confirm somewhere in the last couple of months that you want to use Save As not Export for saving the SVGs. They’re using something in the metadata but he didn’t say what.

There are tons of helpful tips on working with Illustrator for the Glowforge here.


PDF out of Illustrator CC works great for me so far. SVG and DXF always seem to have scale issues.

1 Like

I too am having scaling issues in Illustrator. The file comes out slightly oversized or undersized, always. A 3" rectangle in illustrator comes out to 2.7" or 3.3" ish in the Glowforge. ANY help is apprciated.

Can you zip and upload the SVG that has the 3” rectangle that is being resized?

Well I feel dumb… I was visualy sizing the rectangle onto the ruler in the glowforge app. I didnt realize it had some margins in there so I was sizing to a ruler with .5" built into it. Thanks to everyone above who helped me adjust my SVG settings, those fixed my initial issue!!!