What software is everyone using?

Hey all, less than a day in and I can’t really find anything I can use that I like. Inkscape was never my thing and illustrator is just ridiculous with their annual plan.

I’d prefer to work on my Mac but can certainly use my iPad for designs as well.

Really just looking for drag and drop DTP or something similar to design business card type things etc.



I’m a newbie and will be watching this thread.


Affinity Designer is inexpensive and works well on both Mac and iPad. I find it more user friendly than Inkscape, but still pretty powerful, and it’s getting better with each update. :slight_smile:


Just take the time to get to know inkscape. It’s not that hard and you can do all you’d need to with it.

It’s worth the time to learn it.


I use Silhouette Studio Business. I have this BC I have a Silhouette. My idea is focus on one application that works for both.

That said, If it were not the case, I would focus on Inkscape as that is a default around here and your likely able to get some really clear and quick help.

Unless its technically constrained, I bet it meets your needs well.

I do however use Vectornator on my ipad when I want a vector image from that platform.


Technically you could design business cards in Word (or Google Docs if you want truly free) and output a PDF to send to GF.


I second Affinity Designer


Inkscape and Gimp.


Some great mentions here. I would recommend doing a YouTube search for videos on using the various ones. Like Inkscape … there are so many very helpful videos out there. A quick search, watch a couple of minutes, and you have your answer to what you’re trying to do.


I use Illustrator. It’s definitely been a learning curve though!

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I have been using Inkscape since I first opened it a few months before before my Glowforge arrived. I understand that it was not always friendly to Mac but from what I hear the first actual v1.0 version is far friendlier to both Mac and newcomers.

Yep so I’ve tried 1.0 on my Mac and even resizing the window or a text box performs like I was using a 15 year old PC. My Mac is the latest version with all upgrades, SSD, 64GB RAM etc. there’s no reason for that poor a level of performance.

I’ve been using Vectornator for iOS but wanted something for the desktop.

Thanks all!


Inkscape for me. I have also played around with Affinity Designer and it works well.

I think the key with something complex like Inkscape is to just start with the basic tools: Circle, Square, Text. As your needs expand, you will find yourself asking if Inkscape can do X. You type “Can Inkscape can do X” into the magical Google and someone will have a tutorial or video on doing what you need. Same with Affinity Designer.

If the redraw issues in Inkscape bug you, then I would give Designer a look.

Inkscape is modeled on Illustrator, which is undeniably the industry standard. They both offer advanced features that most Glowforge owners won’t need, but if you’re the type that enjoys learning - or adapts easily to - pro-level tools, you can’t go wrong with either.

Never had an issue with Inkscape on my 2013 Mac Pro. Well, 1.0 is not working as well as previous versions, but has some improvements that have me open it occasionally (I keep both installed.)

For free software it would be tough to beat Inkscape.


Thanks to all for the input, I’m downloading Affinity now and will play with it,

Also, I was wondering what you all would recommend for printing say a family photo onto a wooden jigsaw puzzle? Is it even possible to get the gradients? What would I use software wise to prep from photo to SVG best?


I use inkscape and a few other 3d programs like fusion 3d, blender, tinkercad and back in the day i used sketchup.

Photo prep work is best done in Photoshop, Affinity Photo or Gimp if you want free. (Raster software, not vector software) It’s absolutely possible to get the gradients. @jbmanning5 has a great PS action, don’t think it works in Gimp or Affinity tho?

He used to have an online service where you could upload your photo and he’d prep it for $5, and he was also working on a version of his action for Affinity Photo, but now that he’s all famous and overwhelmed with puzzle orders he probably doesn’t have much time for those projects anymore!


If you are doing a raster photo then you need dots or other dithering. The place for variable power is when you want actual differences in physical depth as you would find in a relief carving. In such images white is not touched and black maximum power. Snapshot photos are very bad at this as they record light and not distance so a person’s face will end up high on the side that is lit, and low on the side that is not and thus look very strange.

Dithered images concentrate dots in dark areas ( all of the same depth) and less concentrated in light areas and since they are all the same darkness (in theory as the specifics of the wood varies) it is that variable concentration that creates shading.