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Silhouette Studio Designer Edition vs. Basic, Business Edition, Designer Edition Plus (Plus a Review)

If you're wondering what the differences are between Silhouette Studio Designer Edition vs. Silhouette Studio Basic vs. Business Edition vs. Designer Edition Plus - look no further.

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I get asked for an honest Silhouette Studio Designer Edition comparison vs. Studio Basic all the time, so I figured it was time we hash it all out.  A few things before I go into the differences between the basic Silhouette Studio and the upgraded versions.
  • All Silhouette machines come with the basic Silhouette Studio.  Silhouette Studio can be downloaded free from the Silhouette America website. The same can be said for the occasional updates that are released from Silhouette America either to update the features, fix bugs, or make the software program more stable.
  • All upgraded versions of Silhouette Studio are a one time purchase. They will go with you whether you update to a newer version of the software or move to another computer
  • Silhouette Studio - even in its basic form - is a very powerful software program allowing Silhouette users the ability to create their own design, import a wide range of file formats, and use fonts on their computer all without the need for an Internet connection.
  • And finally...there's a difference between and update and an upgrade. An update is what Silhouette America releases from time to time to fix bugs, add new features and make the software more stable. An upgrade is what you have the option to purchase - Designer Edition, DE Plus or Business Edition. All upgrades are a one time purchase and will go with you every time you update your software.
Alright now let's talk about Silhouette Studio basic software vs. the various upgraded versions. 

Silhouette Studio vs. Designer Edition

The Silhouette Studio Designer Edition comes as a 16 digit license key. Entering that key into Silhouette Studio via the Help menu will open bunch of cool features and functions to the basic Silhouette Studio.  The retail cost for the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition is about $50, but you can usually find it cheaper.  That's a one time paid upgrade.

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Most notably with Designer Edition the user can:
  • Import SVG, GSD and DXF files 
  • Add custom fill patterns
  • Advanced knife and eraser functions - ability to change the size and shape
  • Ability to create custom rhinestone designs
  • Select objects by line or fill color
  • Access advanced sketch pen option
  • Nest designs into the smallest possible area automatically using the nesting feature limiting waste 
  • Transfer properties of one shape to another using the Transfer Properties tool
  • Use the shear tool to 'italicize' designs and text
  • Add a shadow effect with the Shadow tool 
  • Access improved rulers and grids
Sometimes when listed for sale, you will see DE listed as "Silhouette Studio Designer Edition for Scrapbooking"...don't let this confuse you! It's the all the same as the regular Silhouette Studio Designer Edition.

My honest Silhouette Studio Designer Edition Review: Totally worth it for all Silhouette machine owners!

Silhouette Studio Designer Edition vs. Designer Edition Plus

Designer Edition Plus includes all features of Silhouette Studio Designer Edition as listed above PLUS... the ability to:
  • Import embroidery file types (PES, DST, EXP, JEF and XXX)
  • Unlocks advanced rhinestone features
  • FlexiShapes
  • Conical Warp
  • and more!
If you already have Designer Edition and you want to upgrade to add the DE Plus features you only need the Plus upgrade at a pro-rated price.  Click here to get the Designer Edition to Designer Edition Plus upgrade

To go from basic Silhouette Studio to Designer Edition Plus you will need the full upgrade.
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My honest Silhouette Studio Designer Edition Plus Review: Only worth it if you want/need the ability to import embroidery files. The advanced rhinestone features leave me underwhelmed.

Silhouette Studio Business Edition Upgrade

Silhouette Studio Business Edition software upgrade includes all of the Designer Edition features, Designer Edition Plus Features and additional functions that those running a Silhouette business may find helpful. 
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Business Edition features include:
  • All Designer Edition Features
  • All Designer Edition PLUS Features 
  • Ability to cut with multiple machines simultaneously
  • Ability to add auto weeding lines
  • Save as PDF/SVG/JPEG
  • Tiling Feature
  • Advanced nesting features
  • Ability to open Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw file types
  • ...and more!
There are several different ways to upgrade to Business Edition and depending on how you're upgrade, you only pay for the additional features:

My honest Silhouette Studio Business Edition Review: Perfect for any Silhouette user who wants to unlock all of the features in Studio! Also, for any Silhouette based business owners who want/need the ability to cut with more than one machine simultaneously - the Business Edition upgrade is totally worth it! But know...the advanced nesting features and auto weeding lines leave me more frustrated than they should.

To see a full break down of what features each upgrade has, check out this Silhouette Studio Upgrades Features List tutorial. 

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I receive a small commission. That's what helps fund Silhouette School so I can keep buying new Silhouette-related products to show you how to get the most out of your machine!

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  1. I found this to be VERY insightful!! Thank you for the review. :)

  2. Thank you for this review. My husband and I have recently decided to start a small business and I was overwhelmed with all the options to choose from, but this has made my head stop hurting! Thank you!

  3. Does the business edition allow you to run the program from more than one computer at a time?

  4. What can you do with the embroidery files?

  5. I have been wondering if upgrading to the business edition is worth it. You have answered my questions. Thank you!

  6. I'm new! Do any of these versions come with "clipart"? My 9 year old is trying to get into something similar to publisher for making things on his own with glowforge

  7. If you upgrade to Business Edition you can export as a SVG which has the ability to be used with laser engravers:


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