Useful programs to use

I just purchased my Glowforge! I am super new to all this! Can anybody help me? What programs do you use to design? Any tips?

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Lots of choices, it all just depends on what you want to do.

Best way to get started is to click on the Support link here and start reading the tutorials, setup and troubleshooting tips. That will get you started thinking in the right direction.

Glowforge Support (Tutorials and Setup)

After that, there are a couple of Beginner tutorials that will flesh out the Design process.

There are a lot of other tutorials that are specific to various Design programs once you decide which one you want to use.


I personally recommend Inkscape. It’s free and there are tons of helpful videos on Youtube. It is a bit of a learning curve but if I can use it anybody can too.


My primary programs are Gimp for raster graphics and Inkscape for vectors. Each will to the job of the other not as well. So they are frequently used in tandem.


Adobe Illustrator is what I currently use for designing my products. It’s definitely not free (app starts around $20.99/mo), but I’ve had the best luck with it out of the bunch.

I use silhouette studio to design and I love it!


I second the vote for Silhouette Studio. You can download it for free from their website. I was already in the habit of using it for my vinyl cutter, but I still think its way easier to use than Illustrator. I’ve used Photoshop for years but using Illustrator feels like trying to write with my left hand.

Once you have the design finalized you can export as an svg. If your file is set up properly you can cut and engrave from the same file as well.


Im fairly new as well and I am using Inkscape. I am watching tutorials on youtube from TJ FREE, there is a playlist for inkscape with over 60 videos.


“Logos by Nick” on YouTube also has a lot of good info on Inkscape. He also has a $15 class that gives you lifetime access to a whole bunch of additional content, plus direct access to ask questions.

Inkscape is on-par with Illustrator, it just comes down to which you prefer. Many pros choose Inkscape, even if they have access to Illustrator (he is one of them.) That doesn’t make it “better,” however.

Affinity Designer comes in close behind those two, is a lot cheaper than Illustrator, and is quite adequate for use with the Glowforge.


If you want to learn how to use these different softwares—-I recommend visiting these three websites. has some type of agreement with local libraries. If you have a library card you might be able to take free classes.

With keep giving them a new E-mail address and the classes will be $10- 15 a piece. is my favorite.

There are thousands of online software classes available at all of these educational websites. Many of these courses are 10-20 hours long.

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