What you MUST do BEFORE exporting your Silhouette Library V3.6 or earlier

What you MUST do before exporting your Silhouette Studio Library V3.6 or earlier version.

So far, I’ve avoided the Silhouette cloud by staying in my happy little pre-cloud V3 of Silhouette Studio. However, the new features in V4 are just too tantalizing to ignore, and the time is rapidly approaching when I should switch to using V4 in my tutorials for y’all. So, I’ve spent the last week or so jostling Silhouette software between two computers, experimenting to try and get my non-cloud library to play nice with V4. Right now, I’m straddling the two versions.

As part of that process, I loaded up the Silhouette Studio software onto a second computer, exported my library from the first computer, and then imported it into the second computer. Now…  exporting and importing a library is a simple process in V3:  File > Library > Export Library on the old computer, and then File > Library > Import on the new computer. Out of one, into the other, super easy. What I didn’t know is that there is something I should have done before exporting. And skipping that step mangled my library.

What you MUST do before exporting your Silhouette Studio Library V3.6 or earlier version.
How to find out which version of Silhouette Studio you're running.Before exporting your library V3.6 or earlier—whether for a regular backup or to prepare to update to a more recent version of the Studio software—you must reindex your library to make sure it’s properly cataloged. If you don’t reindex before exporting, you could find that your files have been renamed and reorganized after you import the library again, with nothing where it once was.

Here’s how to reindex the Silhouette Library V3.6 or earlier:

In Silhouette Studio…

  1. Go to the ‘Edit’ menu (PC) or ‘Silhouette Studio’ menu (Mac)
  2. Select ‘Preferences’
  3. Select ‘Advanced’
  4. Select ‘Reindex My Library

And that’s it. Your library has been reindexed and you’re ready to export.

What you MUST do before exporting your Silhouette Studio Library V3.6 or earlier version.Note that we’re talking about reindexing here and NOT about resetting. They are two totally different things. Do not mix them up.

When you RESET your library…you’re resetting the library back to the original software installation settings…in other words you end up with an empty library. Your design files are completely removed. They are lost and gone forever (unless you have them in a backup folder somewhere else).

When you REINDEX your library…you don’t lose anything. Your files remain safe and sound in the folders and subfolders you’ve stored them in. The software simply does some internal catalog housekeeping to straighten things out behind the scenes. When the reindexing is complete, your library will look like nothing has happened. It has, though, it just all happened out of sight.
,,,

What you MUST do before exporting your Silhouette Studio Library V3.6 or earlier version.My story…

The Studio software installed just fine on the second computer, but the library import was an Epic Fail. Yes, “Epic Fail” deserves those capital letters.

The folders and subfolders I’d set up were all still there (Yay!), but the files within were all mixed up (OMG). Here’s what the first two rows of files were supposed to look like:

What you MUST do before exporting your Silhouette Studio Library V3.6 or earlier version.I had renamed my files so all the airplanes were together, all the angels were together, all the arrows were together, etc. I had also added CU to file names I had commercial license to use, and added an S to files from the Silhouette Store.

My digital patterns were similarly organized. In subfolders for Dots, Stripes, Gradated, Textures, etc., I had changed each file name to start with its color, so every subfolder started with all the blacks, then blues, then browns, and the rest of the colors following alphabetically. Here’s a screenshot of my Gradation subfolder. You can see how this arrangement would make it really easy to choose a gradation of a specific color.

What you MUST do before exporting your Silhouette Studio Library V3.6 or earlier version.

After importing, my library was a jumbled mess. For some reason, I didn’t take a screenshot of it—I was too busy hyperventilating, apparently ;^) —but imagine if you will…  Most names (95%?) had been changed to either “Untitled” or back to the original file name from when I downloaded the file. As a result, my poor airplanes, angels, and other files were randomly scattered throughout the library, and my patterns were no longer organized by color.

When you have 800+ files in a folder, finding what you need when things are randomly organized…  Ugh, my heart sank at the thought of how much time that would take.

Reindexing the library after importing didn’t fix things…even though the Silhouette Studio manual said reindexing would resolve library corruption issues. No, the library had to be reindexed *before* exporting to *prevent* the issues, instead.

Once the new software version replaces the old one—as happens when updating—there is no old version to go back to to reindex and export again. If this happens, you’re hooped. The only option is to start from scratch and rename everything again. Luckily, I was able to go back to V3 on the first computer, reindex the library, and load that version onto the second computer, so my story has a happy ending. Lesson learned.

It’s surprising how much of a secret this is. I read a lot and follow a lot of Silhouette blogs, but no one had advised to reindex the library before exporting. Silhouette America says nothing about it on their software update page or in the manual. So how is one to know? I happened to trip over a link to it in a footnote to a Silhouette America blog post. The link led to a page that I haven’t been able to navigate to through other parts of the website. Strange, strange, strange. But once I reindexed my library and imported the indexed library, everything was back to normal.

Hope your journey to V4 isn’t as exciting as mine.

effCheers!

–Eff

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12 thoughts on “What you MUST do BEFORE exporting your Silhouette Library V3.6 or earlier

  1. This post came just when I needed it– Im buying a new iMac this weekend and so grateful to have seen your article. Thank you SO much for passing your knowledge on!

  2. Ahh! This was exactly what happened to my library after I had to set up my old notebook again :-(
    At least now I know why this happened, so thank you for your post!

    1. I’m sorry to hear this happened to you, Claudia. This post comes too late for you, but I hope it helps save someone else the grief.

  3. OMG I wish I had seen this BEFORE I did the change. I have got such a mess till it is not funny. I’m having to go thru 16,000 or more designs and refile them. Talk about a jumbled mess. And to make matters worse when I first started the change it failed about mid way thru and I had to start all over, which duplicated a bunch of files. Did this about a month or so ago and still trying to get the mess straight. Thanks for the heads up just wish I’d gotten it sooner.

    1. OMG… 16K files all a-jumble? My heart goes out to you. I wish you’d gotten it sooner, too. I posted about it as soon as I discovered it, but it’s been around for quite a while. Silhouette should have had this information front and center on their software update page. It would have saved a lot of heartache, judging by these comments and the email I’ve received. Good luck to you as you re-org it all.

  4. Thanks so much for the advice. Most helpful for the newbies. However, I think for most of us using Silhouette for years- this got missed and my hundreds of purchased designs (that I probably spent hours organizing into labeled files) is one big giant library now. Luckily I save ALL my designs (set up in the design page) to a thumb drive and have those as labeled files. I learned to do this long ago- after so many desktop/laptop crashes.

    1. Actually, it’s not the newbies who need this info so much as us folks who’ve been around since the pre-cloud days. We’re the ones running the old software that needs to be reindexed. Anyone new to the Silhouette in the last 15 months or so will automatically be on the cloud, and this reindexing thing won’t be an issue for them.

      Saving externally is the key, though, isn’t it? I save the designs I create outside the library on my hard drive and then backup regularly onto an external drive, so those have always been immune to any library/computer issues. As for the patterns and designs in the library…for years I’ve faithfully exported my library regularly to an external drive as backup so if something did go ka-flooey with my computer, I wouldn’t lose much. Or so I thought. That’s the frightening revelation through all this: that if I had needed that exported library tucked safely away on the external drive, it wouldn’t have worked because it hadn’t been indexed before exporting. Egads.

      So, yeah, with that bomb, I’ve come to the same conclusion as you… that I can’t count on Silhouette to have my back with the exported library, so it’s best to store individual labeled files outside the library, either on an external drive or regularly backed up to one. Now comes the fun of making that happen, because not only do I want those files out of the library, but I want them organized in folders, and *with* thumbnails to make them visually searchable as they are in the Silhouette library. That’s taking some finagling, a little creativity, and time, but it’s doable. That’s what I’m working on now.

  5. I am so frustrated since updating to v4. I had my files organised into groups so that I could find things easily, now I have two libraries, neither of them are the same and I am unable to move files as I used to do. I didn’t ever want my files to be stored in the cloud, but I’m stuck with it. Thank you Silhouette!!!

    1. I feel your pain. I *really* *really* *really* hope Silhouette brings out the option to stay out of the cloud. So far, I’ve managed to do it, but what a pain it was to get here and there are still downsides. Just make it easy, Silhouette!

  6. Thank you so much for this. I’m getting ready to move my library. I have the business ed. and question is does that work the same way? I’ve tried to export my files for back up but realize that it would be a mess if I had to restore. So am I correct in my understanding: if I reindex my library, I can then export my files to usp thumbs. Can I do them one or two subfolders at the time? Sorry if this sounds confusing…I’m confused but pretty much stay that way..

    1. It can be confusing… :^) So. Here’s the dealio. First, find out which version of Silhouette Studio you’re running. You can find that out by looking at “About…” under the “Help” menu at the top on the right side. If you’re running Silhouette Studio V3.6 or earlier, reindex the library (instructions in the blog post above), *then* export it (instructions above). The exported library is in a format that doesn’t allow you to look at or move individual .studio folders/subfolder/files…it all looks like gibberish, which is normal…it’s all in computer-speak…the Silhouette software knows what to do with it. When you export your library, it’ll ask you where you want to export it to, and that’s when you can tell it to put it on a thumb drive. The library export stuff works the same whether you have the Basic Edition, Designer Edition, or Business Edition—so no worries there.

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