Can't get vector files to upload to the GF

To anyone who can help:
No doubt this is a newbie question but I’ve been unable to get any self made SVG files to upload onto the workspace. I can upload ones made by the GF team and even some free clip-art ones I found online but every time I create and save something using illustrator I have an issue. The workspace interface says it’s processing the file but nothing appears on the bed space or in the left hand area. No problem with PNG files, self made or otherwise. I am very new to vector graphics and just subbed to Adobe’s Cloud version of Illustrator just for using with the GF.
Could there be a setting I’m missing? I even tried creating just a plain rectangle to use for cutting out 4x6 cards and that does not work either. I’ve checked some of the tutorial resources without any resulting epiphanies. Maybe I’m just not savy enough to spot what I’m doing wrong.

I tried to attach the aforementioned rectangle but I got an error saying ‘Sorry, but we couldn’t determine the size of the image. Maybe your image is corrupted?’
Thanks in advance if anyone has any ideas.

PS: I’m also d/l’ing Inkscape as I post this to see if using that instead will solve my issues.

PPS: Ok, this is odd. I installed Inkscape and then opened the rectangle file and then saved it again without doing anything to it. This time the GF interface was able to show it on the workspace and automatically chose ‘cut’. What gives?!

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Can you zip and upload an example file that won’t upload? Should be pretty easy to figure out.

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Thanks for the reply. Im on a Mac so I’m not sure what I’d need to zip up a file. I’ll upload it to my games window box to zip up shortly and see if that does it. I’ll include both the original file and the copy I saved after loading in inkscape.

EDIT: Huh. I just discovered that Mac finder has native zip ability already. Never knew… (215.7 KB)

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Should be able to right click the file and select Compress.

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Thx. Every day that I learn something new is worth waking up for.


Welcome to the fun house.

You are exactly where I was when I wandered in here, the community is like the best accessory for your glowforge. The tutorial thread is a great source of information also! After a few fundamentals the fun really begins. Exploring different materials is a great adventure. :sunglasses:


In looking at the code, I’m pretty sure that you had “Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities” enabled when you saved the SVG.

Here is the way that I save my SVG files. They recommend using Save, Save As or Save A Copy rather than export. I export a lot of mine but you have to go into the preferences to set it up correctly.

SVG Profiles: 1:1 is fine

Type: Convert to Outline (the UI won’t recognize type, setting convert to outlines transforms real text into outlines which the Glowforge can read)

Image Location: Embed (you can choose linked but you’ll have to upload any raster images separately, so it’s easier just to embed them straight into the file)

Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities: UNchecked - this injects a bunch of proprietary Illustrator code into the SVG and freaks the Glowforge processor out.

CSS Properties: Not a big deal, but I use presentation attributes. If you ever upload a SVG directly to the forums, presentation attributes will preserve it pretty much (though a zip is much better)

Decimal Places: This is precision of the points that make up your design. I design in inches, so I use 4 decimal places. This could be the difference between a point being at say 4.1 and 4.149, which could be a pretty big difference.

Responsive: UNchecked - this is another big gotcha. Responsive is for web designs - it basically scales the design up and down according to a “viewbox” - we don’t want this.

If you can’t see all of those options, then click “More Options” - it will say more options instead of less options.


Thanks for looking at the file.
AFA saving, I didn’t use ‘export’. I used ‘Save as’ and the option box was very small, without any of the things in your screenie. It only asked file name, location, and file type, of which I chose just ‘SVG’. No way to show more options. The only way that option box you show pops up is if I choose ‘save a copy’ and when I do the ‘preserve illustrator…’ option is unchecked. The ‘Responsive’ option WAS checked so I wonder if that was the problem if those values were defaulted to but hidden in the plain ‘Save’ and ‘save as’ option.

BTW, did the second file (the post-inkscape one) show the same things?

EDIT: ‘saving a copy’ and only unchecking the ‘Responsive’ option made the file uploadable.

Oh yes, screen legibility, both in understanding the features and in mere visual recognition are crucial. There is so much info in such small areas. I use a laptop a lot for designing and it really slows me down when I get to the small screen.

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I didn’t look at the Inkscape file.

I can only go off what was in the code for the original file, which was a ton of proprietary AI code that gets saved along with preserve Illustrator editing.

I’m not sure why you wouldn’t get the options with Save As. It should basically be the exact same functions without -copy attached to the file name. The SVG options should always pop up after you give it a name and file location.

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Well thanks again for helping out. :+1:

I’d gotten the Creative Cloud sub to Illustrator under the assumption that it would be easier to use for newbies such as myself, being a ‘polished’ commercial product, and thus helping to minimize the learning curve of using the GF. If it turns out to have no more ease of use than Inkscape I might as well save my money and put it toward materials.

Any thoughts about the differences between the two programs and wether or not either is more ‘newb friendly’ than the other?

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I’ve been a “hobby user” of Illustrator for probably 15 years. I just recently tried Inkscape for the first time. I was surprised at how different it was, and how challenging to do similar tasks. The two programs seem to take different approaches to do the same thing. I think my problem was being so entrenched in Illustrator’s way of doing things. If I was starting fresh today, I’d probably use Inkscape only. As far as I know it is fully capable of anything I want to do, it’s free, and it even has some cool extensions I can’t get in Illustrator. Not being trained in either, you wouldn’t have to wrap your mind around the differences between the programs.


Illustrator isn’t newbie friendly, but neither is Inkscape. Both require some time invested to learn the software, but once you do, they do the job well. Illustrator is easier for a power-user. If you plan to stick with designing for laser long term, I’d stick with Illustrator. (Worst thing you can do as a newbie is to switch back and forth between the two, so pick one, and learn to use that one.)

We have many tutorials for using either program, and some that will make it easier to learn to use both, so some light reading that might help you along:

Laser Design Basics

Glowforge Interface Tips

Getting Perfect Alignment

Vector Files Made Easy

Correctly Save a File as An SVG for the Glowforge Interface

The Matrix (for 2D vector programs)


Thanks again everyone.

Thanks, everyone, for the help in this thread. I’m glad you were able to get the file uploaded successfully. I’m going to close this thread - if the problem reoccurs, go ahead and post a new topic. Thanks for letting us know about this!