Make-The-Cut Hot Keys Plus Reasons #10, #11, #12

Oops! Been a while since I posted about Make-The-Cut! Now that the Denver Retreat is complete and I’ve had a chance to catch up on the umpteen To Do items that were postponed because of the retreat, I can now get back to this site and the 25 reasons to check out MTC! Now that Andy has released a new beta 4.0 of MTC, the list is growing, so expect it to be at least 30 reasons by the time I have the MTC User Manual completed and our new Zing is released!

But first… I have a hot key list for MTC now ready to share. This will go into the user manual, but since it’s mostly complete, I wanted to go ahead and make it available to all of my readers. Here’s the link:

MTC Shortcut Keys

And now for three more reasons to check out MTC:

Reason #10 Rhinestone Feature

MTC’s Rhinestone window provides an automatic way to outline your vector shapes or do a horizontal fill using the circle size you choose, along with the spacing. Additionally you can preview the results before accepting and also see the circle count in this same window:

Video of Rhinestone Feature in MTC

Regarding the tweaking of the designs, MTC has short cut keys set up for top (T), bottom (B), right (R) and left (L) alignment, as well as equal vertical ([) and equal horizontal (]) spacing. I also really like the new Esc hotkey to unselect all images.

Reason #11 Path Thinning

Path thinning is the same thing as Center Line Tracing in KNK Studio and other vector programs. It converts a thick line shape into a single line, such as shown above in the image of the glasses. This can greatly simplify some rhinestone designs, especially lettering, as shown in the video below. It can also be handy when pens or markers are going to be used for drawing images and/or lettering.

Thin Paths Feature in MTC

Reason #12 The Font Name Is Automatically Listed in the Layers List

How many times do we forget the name of the font we used in a design? Well, MTC has a solution for that! When you type new text, the name of the font will be assigned as the name of the layer! This was a brilliant feature to include in a program that is used by those who love to collect the thousands of free fonts available on the Internet!

Click on the image to see the fonts names that were assigned for each text I typed:

Speaking of collecting fonts, here are some of my favorite sites to grab free fonts:

If you’re ready to take the plunge to Make-The-Cut, here’s the link to MTC in my own store:

You will receive an activation pin for registering MTC and your registration number will work for all of your computers. Other videos for MTC are now available at this link:

MTC Support

And the first detailed on-line User Manual will be available within about 3 – 4 weeks!

All Sort of Tidbits

I’ve had a number of items on my To Do list for a few weeks and today was a great catch up day for making some miscellaneous videos.

Item Number 1: I’m going to once again BEG all of you to change a particular setting in Windows which hides your files extensions. Trust me… your “computer life” will be improved if you can see those little letter combinations which follow the name of a file. Sometimes, in a folder, you might find 5 files or more ALL with the exact same name! But they are vastly different files and even though you can usually figure out the type of file by looking over at the Type column, it’s MUCH faster to just see that file extension in the file name! In a prior post from almost two years ago, I explained how to do this in XP. But it’s a little bit different finding the setting in Vista or Windows 7, so I’ve made videos for both:

Showing File Extensions in XP

Showing File Extensions in Vista or Windows 7

Item Number 2: For those of you who haven’t back up your ACS/KNK/DM/GE license files, here’s a quick video to show you how to do it. For those with a dongle, it’s a good idea to have them backed up on a flash drive and even on a different computer, although you should be able to pull them from your installation CD. However, on ACS Studio, I believe the license files are now stored on the dongle itself. For those with dongle-less versions of the software, backing them up to another location on your C Drive is important in case you install an updated version of the software, which will wipe out your license files!!! If you don’t have them backed up, then it could be a 1 – 3 day wait (more over the winter holidays) before they can be regenerated if you lose them! So, make sure you copy them into a back-up folder. Again, I have made videos showing this for the different Windows operating systems:

Backing Up License Files in XP

Backing Up License Files in Vista or Win 7

Item Number 3: Now for something more fun! I recently read about a way to freeze raster images so that they cannot be inadvertently selected or moved. This is useful when you are manually tracing an image or editing a vector image that it still on top of the original raster. I made a quick video showing how to do this:

Freezing a Raster Image

Item Number 4: This is something I’ve been aware of since writing the first KNK User Manual, but somehow then forgot about it. In many of my videos you’ll see me select all images of a particular color by double-clicking the color on the Job Palette. It works fine… most of the time! But sometimes, for whatever reason, I will double click and it will just not select anything. There’s another short cut key which does the same thing: hold down the Shift key and click on a color on the Job Palette… same result. All images of that color will be selected. This is the new way of selecting by color I plan to always use.

Item Number 5: Another recent discovery that I think I already knew but had forgotten. Most of you know the usefulness and, in my opinion, the necessity of using a mouse with a middle scroll wheel for zooming in and out in the software. However, you may not have realized that pushing that middle scroll wheel will put you into the Panning mode so that you can pan around on your screen as necessary. Pushing it again will turn panning off. VERY handy!

Customizing Hot Keys

KNK/ACS/KNKGE/DM offers the ability to set up your own hot keys (menu and tool shortcuts) to make your use of the software faster and easier. I’ve been aware of this capability since writing the first KNK user manual over 3 years ago, however, it’s only been in recent months, since using the single-letter alignment short cut keys (T, L, B, R, C, and E) in rhinestone designing, that it dawned on me just how incredibly useful it would be to set up more of these single strokes for other functions that I use repeatedly. So, I started making a list of my most-used functions and matching up letters for the hot keys that would be easy to remember, such as:

A for Array
D for Cutting Defaults
E for Export
F for Fit Object to Path
G for Delete all Guides
I for Install Fonts
N for Notes
O for Outline
etc etc

So, to encourage all of you to do the same, I created a short video showing how to do this:

Setting Up Hot Keys

I also created a list of suggestions. Note that in same cases I’ve listed several options, so that you can decide which assignment would make the most sense. For example, where I used “F” for Fit Object to Path, you might prefer to use “F” for Flip or Install Fonts. The idea is for you to pick what is most useful for your work AND will be easy for you to remember.

Suggestions for Single Letter Hot Keys

And then, so that you can have your own cheat sheet to use until you have your new hot keys memorized, I created a form with the 26 letters of the alphabet listed, along with the other available keys you can use to set up additional shortcuts. Note that Ctrl 0 – 9 are available, along with the keys: Home, End, Page Up and Page Down. However, in some releases of the software, Ctrl 4 and Ctrl 5 have already been assigned to Layout>Arrange and Distribute>Align to Selected>Equal Vertical Spacing and Equal Horizontal Spacing, respectively. I have decided to release those two and assign V and H to those functions instead, because they are SO very useful in rhinestone pattern tweaking. : )

Custom Hot Key Cheat Sheet Form

Next, if you also want the complete list of ALL shortcuts in the software, then here’s the latest list that I have and use in the releases of the user manuals. If you know of any others not on my list, then please let me know. I like to keep the list current:

All Software Shortcuts

Finally, here’s a list of my all-time favorites:

Favorite Short Cut Keys in KNK Studio

Whew… enough on the hot keys? If not, then let me know what I missed! 😛

Cropping Vector Images

Say thank you to Rayleen for today’s post! She sent me a similar file to the one above (on the left) and needed to crop a certain section so as to fit an existing size project.   I recreated my own version of the file and I think this could easily be something that you might encounter when trying to modify existing files.  The situation is this… you have a rectangular image that you would like to use but it must be converted to a square image to work in your application.  You can’t just resize it because it will distort the image and change the width of the outer portions of the frame:

So, you would like to crop it in a similar way that you do with photos. Basically, you would like to just cut out a portion of the image to use. This is amazing simple to do by just using any shape tool, arranging the shape over the part of the image you wish to crop, and then applying the XOR weld.

In this situation, you want to go one step further, which is to create a perfect square crop and maximize as much of the existing image as possible. So, watch the video and you’ll see how it’s done:

Cropping Vector Images

and here’s a link to the file I used in case you want to try it out:

Valentine Mesh

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

More Designing Tips in Klic-N-Kut Studio

The main purpose of this video is not so much about the Easter egg, but rather to illustrate a great assortment of tools and hot keys available in KNK Studio… functions you will be able to use elsewhere in your design work with this wonderful software. Some of these have been covered in other videos and the usage of them in this video will be a reminder. But there are also a couple of new things I show.

While watching the video, take note of the following functions:

  • Tranformations: used to distort images -I use it to convert an oval to an egg shape. As a reminder when using the functions in this window, you get different results if you also hold the Ctrl key versus the Shift key versus no key. Try it out!
  • In Polygon editing mode, select any two nodes and then press “I” on the keyboard to insert nodes
  • Similarly, in Polyarc editing mode, there is a Divide icon in the Smart Bar which allows you to insert a specific number of nodes along the path between any two existing nodes.
  • Use the Stroke and Fill tools to thicken any open path and then use the Basic Weld tool to convert to a closed path.
  • Select an image and place the cursor over the center. Hold down both Alt and Ctrl keys on your keyboard and drag the center. A copy of the image will be created and you can only drag the image horizontally or vertically to keep it aligned with the original.
  • When Object A is on top of and extends beyond Object B, use the AND Weld tool to trim the excess from Object A to fit Object B.
  • When moving an object on the screen, hold down the Shift key while using the arrow keys on the keyboard and the object will move much faster than if you only use the arrow keys alone.

    If you have ANY questions about the use of these functions, be sure to post. And here’s the link to the Easter Egg Video!

  • The Hottest of the Hot Keys!

    If you’ve never browsed Appendix A of the KNK Studio, KNK Studio GE or the Design Master User Manual, then you should take an hour, sit down with your favorite “hot” beverage and play with these “hot” shortcuts! Note that it took 3 pages in each of those manuals to cover all of the hot keys in this program! That, in itself, should get you excited about the possibilities of finding some real jewels to make your designing and image manipulation life easier! 😛 Also note that there are plenty of unused keystrokes remaining that YOU can use to create any additional hot keys not covered already. I have a tendency to just add icons to my custom toolbar, as needed, but there is ONE very handy hot key that you might be interested in adding and it’s listed at the end of my list below.

    My list contains the ones that have truly made my life better. Naturally everybody’s needs are different, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see YOU have a different list of favorites. The purpose of my list is to get you to check out these particular hot keys and see if they aren’t worth taking note and practicing. Remember that it only takes 3 weeks to make something a habit.

    Ctrl-A : Used to select ALL objects (great when you’re not sure the marquis-select has truly captured the entire screen

    Ctrl-D: Used to make a duplicate of whatever is selected. You can control where that duplicate is automatically located under Options>Klic-N-Kut Setup>General Preferences (or for those with DM, it’s Options>CraftROBO Setup>General Preferences)

    Ctrl-F and Ctrl-B: Used to move objects to the very front or the very back. When dealing with paper piecing patterns and you have Fill turned on, it’s nice to be able to move the individual pieces to a location (an order) that matches how you would glue them to your layout. Note that Ctrl-U and Ctrl-L will move them one level, up or down, at a time when there are more than two objects involved.

    L, R, T, B: I LOVE THESE FOUR…. no extra Ctrl or Alt or Shift keys involved. Simply select two or more objects and typing those keys will align the objects all to the Left, Right, Top, or Bottom, respectively!

    Alt-7 : A BIG favorite since Ifirst got hooked on KNK Studio – this function, when applied to two or more objects, will center them. This is great when creating frames for welding.

    Alt-S: Toggles Fill… useful when you forget there’s actually a spilling can icon up on your Smart Bar that does the same thing! lol But hey, I forget and find myself using it, so it’s worth listing. 🙂

    Alt-W: A new one I had forgotten… toggles guidelines on and off… again, a great choice when you’re tired of viewing your guidelines, but not quite ready to just delete them all.

    O: when in the node edit mode, select a node, and then type the letter “O”… it will turn the path for that node into a perfect circle! This is great when editing an auto-tracing and you receive slightly less than desirable results with small items such as eyes, wheels, button noses, flower centers, etc! Definitely test this if you’ve never tried it before.

    I promised you my FAVORITE made-up key stroke and I think it might be “A : Unselect All Objects.” I’m frequently teaching new KNK owners how to “click away” and many don’t quite get it when I use that term. By setting the letter “A” to be the opposite of Ctrl-A, I keep it simple to comprehend, quick to remember, AND easy to execute. Note that Shift-F3 is also “Unselect All Objects”, however after a year, I just cannot seem to keep that keystroke at the tip of my fingers! Thus, i find a simple “A” to be MUCH easier! 🙂

    Oh… and before I go… the instructions for how to set up a custom hot key are at the end of Appendix A. Think about what might make your KNK Studio experience much better! 🙂