Best design apps and file types?

I am trying to create new designs on SketchPad 5.1 on a Chromebook. I am finding that when I save .SVG files and then upload to Glowforge, not all of the formatting follows. Line thickness in particular is a problem. I thick element from Sketchpad will show as a thin line in Glowforge. And other file types (.PDF, .JPG, etc.) will bring the image over as rendered but will only allow engraving, no option for cutting, which is what is desired.

I am asking what others are finding to be good options for apps/programs, tips from anyone using SketchPad successfully, and tips for file types that will allow bringing over designs for cutting vs engraving.

Thank you.

The Glowforge app doesn’t recognize line thickness. Vectors indicate cutting or scoring, and those actions don’t have variable width – they are always the width of the laser beam.

If you want a wider line, it has to be engraved. You do that with a filled vector shape, or a raster. JPG and PNG files are rasters, and can only be engraved.

SVG and PDF files are containers. They can contain both vectors and rasters.

I highly suggest taking the time to work through the “first prints” tutorials that were linked at the end of your setup process – it will introduce you to the basic concepts you need to understand, and save a LOT of frustration in the long run. :slight_smile: You can find them here:


In addition to @geek2nurse’s excellent advice you should be aware that only vector images can be cut or scored. That means no JPGs as they are raster. If your PDF will only engrave it likely contains rasters. An easy way to spot check is to zoom in as tight as you can, vectors will always look smooth, rasters will show pixelating at edges.


Thank you both, I had a inkling of what my problem was but not an easy way to do what I want on a Chromebook.

I was fighting with Sketchpad for days and setting up Linux to run Inkscape was daunting.

I finally found Vectr. Built for Chrome, free, and easy to use.

Knocked out a small project in minutes that had been bringing me down for days.

Vectr !!!

Hope this helps someone else using Chrome.


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