This is not as easy as it is made out to be

So this is two days straight that I have been trying to use this machine. nothing. tried Inkscpe, can’t get anything transferred over from Inkscape to the Glowforge work area. a different message comes back every single time that I have to outline text or stroke or fill and instructions are not very specific…anywhere. I am so frustrated, literally in tears. try to upload an image and nothing shows up. tried to even follow the tutorial on engraving on a cutting board. I even purchased Microsoft office just because that is what was used in that specific tutorial. made my image…and text…literally exactly the same as in the tutorial. and nope. won’t work. I literally have only been able to upload everyone else’s designs or from catalog. hell, I really have had no success using from free laser designs. every time there is a different problem.


Have you successfully cut one of the pre-loaded designs?


There are some basic concepts that might help you to understand how to create your own designs…they are laid out in a brief tutorial here:

Once you read through that one, there are plenty of Inkscape specific tutorials in the Matrix here:


I am sorry you are so frustrated. There are many people reading your post that felt just as confused and lost, but believe me you will get the hang of this and there are people here to help. As Jules suggested, read through the tutorials. In my case I had to read through a few times until things started making sense. You are probably running up against the text issue (Inkscape text must be converted to a path and then the text is engraved). Start with the first three prints as suggested after setup, then proceed.


I sure understand your frustration. Hang it there, though…it will come to you and it will be an amazing revelation and you’ll be making cool stuff in no time. I was the same way when I started out while waiting for my Glowforge. It will happen…take heart.


Start with something really easy to get some success. Type some text in Word, save it as a PDF, you should be able to pull that in easily, engrave it on something.

Get an account at, create some basic shapes. Save them as an SVG file. They should also pull right in easily. From the SVG file, you’d be able to cut, score, and engrave.


I feel your pain. I was in the exact same boat, and had pretty much decided that I had bitten off more than I could chew…But I’m here to tell you, there are some frickin’ geniuses on this forum, and every one of them are super helpful. Just taking a few hours to read through some of the posts helped me tremendously. And there are more than a few video tutorials on the forum that were instrumental in getting me on the right path. I’m about three months in, and I am only beginning to scratch the surface of being comfortable setting up files, and only beginning to create my own.
Hang in there, you’ll be glad you did.
p.s. the whole text thing really had me frustrated in the beginning, too. Took me a while to discover that you have to imbed your text in the svg file before the GF will allow you to use it.


This one I wish I had found months ago…


I did cut the very first three. I did the box, a gift of good measure keychain, and I also did coffee grip. when I upload from the catalog, its fine. But when I try to create something or use an image or a font or anything really from any where else. I get error message after error message. saying there isn’t any printable items or your text is not printable or what not. I even followed the tutorial on personalizing your cutting board. I even got Microsoft Power Point Just so I could follow the instructions TO THE TEE!! And in the tutorial, at the end, it shows the person clicking on HOME at the top of PowerPoint Screen and then clicking on download as PDF, and I try to do that, and I click on home at the top of PowerPoint and download as a PDF is not an option. So I did it a million different ways as to saving my work and none of the ways is useable. It even says that it was saved a a PDF file on one of the ways I saved it. but Glowforge workspace said Nope. Nothing was printable. Literally cried tears today. After sitting at this computer day after day after day, I have not done one single thing successfully that was not uploaded from the catalog. I found a forum where someone shared a file to a spirograph, and everyone was saying thank you for sharing…still a no…no items were printable. so discouraged. 3 long days. still no success.

You have the army of three years of veterans at your back. Let’s break it down and fix the workflow. You will get it… The best way to work through this is to just post your design in the forum. We will note what needs work and get you to it. We have all been there with you at one point or another.

The Glowforge works very well with basic SVGs. Just some simple tweaks, and you will be making some great stuff.


Yes!!!those exact words came out of my mouth! LITERALLY! I said I bit off more than I could chew. this is a designers toy, not a little ole Me toy! LOL I have calmed down quite a bit now though. And I will not stop. So you guys might get to see me in my Real Deal Feelings and tears before I get there…And it seems like its waaaay more than three months from now. But thats ok. I spent way more time just watching everyone from afar creating, making, and loving this thing before I even got the nerve up to even think about having one. So, I am continuing on my journey! and yes! There are some real live genius’s on this forum community. And they sometimes make me feel so simple! But I love how they just jump out and become so helpful to everyone. Really, in all honesty…that is a lot of what has me still hanging on!!!


@MANDYpalmer83 aww man, you’re breaking my heart. We were all in your shoes and you can and will get this, I promise! Cry, throw a few things, but keep trying. Thing will eventually “click”, I promise. Please don’t feel obligated, but if you’re up to it, download this little file. It has a very simple cut and and engraving and it should open in the middle of of the screen in the cutable area. You should be able to set the heart to engrave and the word to cut. If that works works, at least you’ll know things are working OK and it’s just a learning curve and we can help you get over that. :slight_smile:

Just right click, save link as. Then unzip and upload the svg file (1.8 KB)


Thank you, Thank you! I will be onto checking those out too! I printed your(Jules) suggestion out, because I think I need to study that like I am getting tested for SATS all over again. I have my tears under control now and I am starting to back the truck up. I might have just nose dived into something that I thought I would just catch right onto. When in fact, having a measly little Cricut is nothing compared to this, this,and is something I will probably laugh at sometime down the road. (Actually, I silently already do) But I am taking a step back and starting over with all of the advice I have so far, and go from there! Thank you again everyone!


OK, let us just break this down into a few simple steps and find out where stuff is not working for you.

You’ve said Inkscape and Glowforge - both of those things are great starting points!!

Start the glowforge, put some draftboard in it.

1.1) Fire-up the in your browser, so you’ve got it on the print page
(you may need to low a design from your catalog to get there).
1.2) Make sure the glowforge page has no current design on it. Ctrl-A will select everything, Delete will zap everything.
1.3) So before we go any further, you should no have the glowforge print screen on the window, with no thumbnails down the side.
1.4) You should also see top-right that the glowforge is online and a scan of your laser bed

1.5) Open inkscape and draw a simple rectangle near the top left of your drawing page.
1.6) Save it as an SVG file (the default) called “test1.svg” in a known folder (could be My Documents)

1.7) Open File Explorer
1.8) Go to the directory where you have just saved the file
1.9) Drag and drop that file onto the glowforge window
Just in case:
Hold down the left mouse button the file
Move the mouse down to where the browser window icon is on the taskbar at the bottom of the screen
Hold the mouse there - and the browser screen will pop up
Move the mouse over to the middle of the browser, where the drawing area of the screen is
Release the mouse button

If we’ve got to this point successfully then we should see
a) The GF print screen, with your rectangle in orange
b) On the thumbnails on the right you should see your rectangle as well

Assuming that all works we know we can get files from Inkscape to Glowforge.
Now, text is slightly kinky. As you’ve discovered, GF doesn’t handle text directly, so you have to go through a slightly more complicated process for text.

2.1) Go back to inkscape, delete the rectangle
2.2) Select the text tool and click on the drawing area near the top left
2.3) Type in a single word
2.4) If you want select font and size and stuff.
2.5) Now, click on the Select tool (the arrow)
2.6) Click on your text again
2.7) Up on the menus, select Path, Object to Path
2.8) YOu will see no difference to your text but…
It has changed, instead of being characters you can edit, it is now SVG lines
2.9) Save this as above and do the Drag and Drop to the Glowforge app

This time what you should see is your text in the print area and the thumbnails
Probably you will see it marked for engrave, but possibly as cut.

Final bits:

3.1) Go back to Inkscape.
3.2) Select the text, then on the colour bar at the bottom select BLUE for the outline (with Shift-Mouse Click)
3.3) Select “X” for the fill - (with mouse click - no shift)
3.4) You should now have an outline of your text, with no fill.
3.5) Drag and drop that in the glowforge and now you should see it as CUT rather than ENGRAVE.


  1. GF cannot handle text “as is”
  2. You must convert text to paths
  3. Filled text will engrave
  4. Outlined text will cut

If you get stuck, ping me - I am around all day (UK time)


This can be changed once in the GFUI, but it’s a good habit to get into when designing files.


Matthew, I’m so sorry for the frustrating time you’re having! Team Glowforge is cheering for you. We’d offer to help, but frankly the amazing people in this thread have got your back better than anything.

I’m going to watch this personally, and I know some of my colleagues are too. Please report back to us with anything that’s not working. It’s especially helpful if you can take a screenshot (prtscr on windows, then ctrl-V while you’re posting here) or write down exactly the error message, and include the file that was causing the problem.

You’ve got this - and it’s going to be amazing!


I am checking that out now! I forgot that that was one of the things I said I was going to watch once the machine got here. Thankyou Thankyou!

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THANKYOU!!! I am starting with this in the AM. THANKYOU SO MUCH! Your time, your attention, IS GREATLY APPRECIATED!

I will try this in the morning!! THANKYOU!!!

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Ok…so now that I posted this huge comment on a COMPLETELY different forum…and my jaw hit the floor…and after I looked for a way to delete it in complete desperation…I will paste it here… where it belongs!!! I am so tired!..Sorry for the length!
Okay… so 1st of all…I would REALLY like to take the time to go through here and personally thank EVERY SINGLE SOUL that replied to this thread…BUT I WOULD BE HERE ALL NIGHT!! Quite literally! And I am saying that with a tear in my :eye:Eye! And I have not just disappeared… I have been reading, and exploring, and watching video after video, and reading more. So much that I can count at least 3 times that I woke up with my face to my keyboard. And I am not even kidding. I kept telling myself “Mandy,just go to bed” (Because my name happens to be Mandy…I am just hiding behind my hubbs username because that is the email we used to get this sucker…I guess I could have let that one out of the box before the emotional break down…but since I like to keep things entertaining…):joy::joy:.

So…anyways to continue on…I finally drug myself to the couch with an imprint of this keyboard on my face at like 4am…and was back up at 9am…back on here. So it is now almost 3am…and now me and my BFF just got finished “No Waffle” and I learned a few things with in the first few minutes. BUT… back to the THANKYOU’s…I am serious. And I have actually gotten some shapes and some hearts and some silly little things over to the GF workspace with NO FRIKKIN ERROR MESSAGES!!!:clap:t2::clap:t2:

And I will go ahead and apologize upfront…(And its just because I Like to keep things fun) But in the midst of all this “Oooohhhing” and “Ahhhhhing” over this sexy machine, after never once owning a iMac ever in my life, and only touching Pc’s my whole entire life, and just recently within the past year switching from Android to Apple, I am also trying to master this Alien of a machine in front of me that they have a million names for. iMac, Mac, Apple, MacOS…what ever the hell you want to call it… So… I thought I would just clue everyone into my brain this past couple of…however long its been now😂.

So…with that being said… I hope to get some actual rest tonight. Really I am so grateful just for making me feel better. Even though I don’t have creation after creation running down an assembly line outta this bad boy yet (Because, literally that is the image I pictured in my head!HAHA)… I actually feel more accomplished then I have yet. THANKYOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!EVERYONE! Seriously I am touched by all of the responses! I am gonna let all these run on sentences and paragraphs take a rest now!!!