New user where to begin?

Hello. I just received my glowforge pro and am pretty much starting from scratch as far as how to use it. I’ve played around and done some basic engraving on some wood and coasters but am wondering which software is beginner friendly for engraving logos and things with more depth than just lettering or clip art. Any help is appreciated! TIA!


Take a stab at these:

And then browse the forum. There are lots of resources around software, materials, etc. Some things you wouldn’t even think to ask! My current favorite software is Affinity Designer (which I believe is on sale right now - normally $49), but everyone has their own preferences. You’ll find plenty of that discussion already around.


Christy has good advice, Affinity Designer is now with an extended free trial, but I suggest trying for just a few days and then purchasing, as it’s 50% off for a limited time, That means it’s a one time purchase of $25 for all of your OS X computers (personal, not business), or the same price for all of your personal Windows PCs. Heck, if you run both Mac and Windows, cover them all for $50, with no subscription fees!

Same 50 percent off also applies to affinity Photo and to Publisher. ($25 each per platform, after discount). They also have an iPad version, which is a bit less. (But get the pc or Mac version first)

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Oh, that reminds me. I should get Publisher!

I’m a few years into mine (not for a business, just a hobby) and I’m still doing fine with Inkscape (free) and Fusion 360 (as good as free). I have NO basis for comparison to other tools so I’ll bow to those who have used a lot of different stuff; but I’ve found both of these tools to be approachable and useful at every step of my learning and experimenting so far.

Welcome to the forum and good luck!


As others noted, Inkscape is a great program (and free!)–I had CorelDraw already, as sometimes used it for other things, but turns out only had the student version, which did not allow certain functions which are necessary for editing/moving nodes with SVG files–and I didn’t have the extra $ to pay Corel, so happy to use Inkscape.

So for cutting anything, a good program for SVG creation/editing is a must, such as Inkscape.

For other file types, use what you’re comfortable with. I’d already been using Photoshop, so that’s my main go-to for files for artwork to be etched.

And I learned a lot after trying the free or buying files, and then editing them to learn what to do. And lots of trial & error. If you like boxes, you can get extensions for most software for “laser box maker”, as well as for living hinges, so you don’t have to recreate the wheel, so to speak…

Thank you!!

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