Silhouette Cameo: Installing the software and shapes

Silhouette Cameo: Installing the software and shapes

Last week I did my first Cameo tutorial, but I still haven’t gotten to telling you about my first experience with it!  So now I’ll share my first contact with the software, my first cuts, and the problems and fixes I encountered during my first use.  Once all that is out of the way, I’ll give you a quick tutorial on one way to re-stick your mat.  I’ll do all of this across a few posts so that you don’t get overwhelmed by one really long post.  They will probably not be all today, but spread over the next few days.

Installing the Software

The software was really easy to install, even though it didn’t work on my Surface (Win 8).  I’m hoping that their customer support is as awesome as everyone says (spoiler – it is), but for now at least I still have the desktop (Win 7).  There is a cd that comes with the software or you can download the software from their website.  The silhouette comes with 50 free designs, which is pretty cool.  Note that to get those designs you need to hook your cameo up to the software and then download them, so don’t worry if they don’t show up right away.  I downloaded the software from the website, so this may not be true if you use the cd.  There is a premium version of the software, but I don’t know if I need it just yet.  I am sure that I will want to do more than just what you can do in studio, but for now I’ll work with what I have.

Connecting your Online account with your software

First you need to create an account at their shape store.  Once you’ve done that, go to File – Download Pending Orders.  Your library will pop up on the left and a screen will pop up on the right prompting you for your email and password.  You also have the option to remember your password and to automatically check for pending orders when the program opens.  I have both clicked, this way if I purchase something online it will automatically download and I won’t have to wonder if I’ve downloaded the files or not.

Downloading the free shapes

This was really easy.  Just go to File-Preferences and choose advanced in the pop-up window.  Then hit “Restore the Standard Designs”.  I had already registered my Silhouette before I did this, so you may need to do that first.


Here is a sample of the free shapes you receive.  Everything but the flourish was included in my free downloads. (Please Note: These were the designs I received with my cameo.  Your designs may vary.)

free designs

Purchasing Shapes

Even though the cameo comes with a number of shapes, they are all pretty basic and I wanted to do a project that would be a complete project to start with.  Plus, it came with a $10 gift card to buy files, so it was only reasonable that I take advantage of all the wonderful projects already there!  I don’t expect to be doing to much purchasing of projects, but I figured why not.  The Silhoutte Online Store was really easy to browse, and you can even browse within the studio software which I thought was pretty cool.  I purchased 3 projects and 1 sketch for a total of $6:


3D orchid shadow box


3D birch shadow box


6 flourished small tags and a Flourish Sketch

As you can see, I made all three of the paper cuts, but I’ll only be going through how I made the tags.  You can visit the Ashbee Design blog for detailed instructions on how to make the other two.  Most of the designs are $1 or less, but the 3D ones are a bit more complicated and so are fairly priced a bit higher.  I also really like that you can purchase commercial licences for some of the designs right through studio, which were also reasonably priced.

Once I purchased the shapes and connected my software to my online account, they downloaded right into my Studio software package.

Ok, I think that’s a good stopping point.  For the next post I’ll walk you through working with the tags in the software.


This post is part of my First Cuts Series!  Want to read the rest?  Here’s the whole group of them!

Silhouette Cameo: The Unboxing
Silhouette Cameo: Installing the Software and Shapes
Silhouette: First Contact with the Software
Silhouette: First Cuts
Silhouette: Trouble Shooting

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20 Responses to Silhouette Cameo: Installing the software and shapes

    • Yay! I’m so glad that you found it helpful. 🙂 I remember trying to figure out the free shapes thing, and every time I thought I had figured it out, I realized that I hadn’t!

  1. Thank you so much for creating this site. It it so helpful. With your guidance I was able to download my free items!

    • I’m so glad you found it useful! Good luck with your silhouette creations, I’m sure you’ll be hooked as quick as anything.

  2. I’m just wondering if you have any suggestions as to why my 50 free shapes won’t download? I can’t seem to get it to work!

    • The first thing I would check is that you’ve registered your machine and that you are logged in. I have my program set up to log me in automatically, but I think you manually log in where you check for new downloads. If all else fails, don’t hesitate to contact customer support. They’ve always been super helpful and are pretty good at trouble shooting these types of issues.

  3. Hi I just received my cameo 2 and the cd for software will not install keeps crash and sayin do I want to modify/ repair or delete! Help?

    Is this easy to use? Seems so difficult just now!

  4. Also…I filled all boxes to register the machine and it wouldn’t hightlight register button would only give option to do later or say I had already registered even though I haven’t and would like to! X

  5. Hi! I downloaded some fonts from the silhouette website, I can see them in “my fonts” in my file, but when I click them they do not work. They also do not show up in my fonts window when I click my drop down. HELP?!?!?

  6. Hi! I purchased some new fonts from however they are only showing in “my fonts folder”. When I click on them to use, nothing happens. They are not showing in my fonts drop down window. Is there another step that I do not know of to actually download or install them to my computer? I am a Mac user…
    Thank you!

    • Hi Darcie! I’ve done some research for you (since I typically don’t purchase fonts from silhouette), and here’s what I’ve come up with.

      The fonts that I purchased from Silhouette automatically showed up in my Font Style option, under the text style drop down menu for Silhouette. When I right click, there was an option to install the font, but it does nothing for me.

      I can only access the font through Studio and not on the rest of my computer.

      When I searched to see if the .ttf or .otf file existed on my computer (to self install), I was unable to locate it. I’m pretty sure Silhouette encrypts their download files so only Studio can access them.

      I’m on a PC, and not a mac, but I figured at least I’d look around. Are you able to find it in the Text Style Window in Studio but not other programs like myself?

      Sorry that this isn’t super helpful. I’ve asked with the Silhouette Facebook Group I’m part of and will let you know if I find anything else useful You may also want to ask Melissa from Silhouette School (in addition to emailing the silhouette support team – they are actually quite helpful), as she has a mac herself and is a fount of knowledge.

  7. Hi, I am looking into buying a Silhouette Cameo and my computer does not have a place for the cd that comes with it to install on the computer. You mentioned just downloading from a website. So you do not have to use the cd at all? Also is this machine better than a cricut? I just go into making scrapbooks and also wanting to do the vinyl crafts and fabric detailing.. Thanks

    • HI Danielle! Yes, you can download the software from the website. The link for that is here:

      You can actually install it ahead of time to play around with. If you’re looking at the differences between the SIlhouette and the Cricut, I would look at both pieces of software ahead of time. My basic recommendation between the two is that if you’re interested in creating your own designs, I find the Silhouette better. If you’re interested in cutting thicker materials (and you don’t mind that you HAVE to be connected to the internet to cut), the Cricut is better.

      I have both the Explore and the Cameo. You can see my 5 part series on the Explore here:

      I honestly think both are fantastic machines that have different strong points. Personally, I much prefer the software that comes with the Silhouette – there is more that you can do when it comes to designing within the software. You can import designs into the Cricut Design Space, and there are some design options there, but I just find it clunky and missing many of the options that Silhouette has. If you’re working mostly with designs you buy, you probably wouldn’t have the same issues.

      That being said, the Cricut is a much quieter machine. The Cameo sometimes sounds like R2D2 with a cold. The Cricut, not so much. The Cricut can also cut much thicker items. I frequently cut 5/6oz leather on my machine, and my Cameo can’t even handle a 3/4oz leather.

      There are some little differences as well. I like that the Cricut software arranges your cuts across your sheets after you design (so if you’ve got 4 colors of vinyl, it will auto fit them and tell you when to load each color). But… I find it really hard to change the placement of those pieces with any precision if you’ve got a smaller piece of vinyl you’re trying to fit the design on. And with the Cameo, I can leave the paper loaded and run it through multiple times. While the Cricut has a multicut feature, once it’s done with a sheet it spits it out, so if you’ve got a pen that died half way through, it’s more difficult to replace the pen and do a second draw.

      Anyway, that’s probably more info than you were looking for, but I thought it might be helpful. Good luck on your upcoming purchase (which ever you choose) – you’re going to have a blast with it!

  8. Kristy

    Thanks for the information. It is really helpful. I will look into them both more, most likely will get the silhouette since it allows me to make my own designs. I saved your website for future references.

  9. good day
    in regards to restoring the pre-loaded designs, i got a new laptop and reinstalled the cd on it, i kept my old account and downloaded all the designs that i have bought, but i cant seem to retrieve the 50 free designs i have followed your steps( preferences, advanced and then restore preloaded designs but it doesnt work, i am from south africa and we don’t have on line support at this point you are my only help. do you have any advise.

    thank you
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  10. Hello! Thank you for the post. Curious if you ever were able to download Sil studio on your windows surface? I have a windows surface 3 and have not been able to download the program. It goes to the setup wizard and once I click install, it just goes away! So frustrated! Thanks!

    • Yes, I do have it installed on my surface. I’m not really sure why it would be doing that for you. It sounds very annoying!

  11. I hAve a surface 2 and the software gives me this message “this app can’r run on your pc”, what can I do to make this work?

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