How to use an SVG file with the Brother Scan N Cut

While I don’t own a Brother Scan N Cut (yet!) I know that a lot of my customers do. This tutorial will show you how to use the SVG files included with a lot of my design collections to cut your appliqué shapes.

For this tutorial, I am using the Express Yourself designs to start cutting the letters needed to spell “Sarah”. Click on any image to view a larger version.

How to use SVG files with the Brother Scan N Cut to cut your appliqué shapes

Step 1

You will need to use the Scan N Cut Canvas software. This is online software so you will need a good Internet connection.

Go to:

If this is your first time using the software you will need to create a free account. Otherwise, enter your Login ID and password and click Log In.

Brother Scan N Cut Canvas

Step 2

On the Canvas Project tab, click New to create a new project.

Brother Scan N Cut Canvas

Step 3

Click the Import SVG/DXF/FCM file button.

Brother Scan N Cut Canvas

Click Choose File… and navigate to the SVG file containing the shapes you want to cut. For Express Yourself, the SVG file name tells which letters are in each SVG file. Then click on OK.

Brother Scan N Cut Canvas

Step 4

Scan N Cut Canvas will automatically fill all shapes with black. Because I include an appliqué fabric placement box in most of my SVG files (it helps to show you where to position the fabric on the cutting mat), chances are the only thing you will see is a black box on the screen.

Brother Scan N Cut Canvas

You need to get rid of the shapes you don’t want to cut, starting with the appliqué fabric placement boxes.

Click and drag a box to move it, revealing the shape underneath it, and then delete the box.

Brother Scan N Cut Canvas

You can use the appliqué fabric placement box to find the size of fabric needed for the shape.

Click and drag the box covering the shape you want to cut and move it to reveal the shape (and to make sure you have the right shape!). Now right click the box and select Properties…

Brother Scan N Cut Canvas

A popup box will appear showing the dimensions of the shape, height first then width.

Brother Scan N Cut Canvas


Pay attention to where the shapes are on the mat. The appliqué fabric placement boxes are designed to help you position your appliqué fabric on the cutting mat to ensure the shape you are cutting is covered by fabric. It’s easy to use the grid lines on the mat to position your fabric.

The cutting mat has a no-cut margin of about 0.1″ all around, shown by the dotted red line in the image below. While you still have at least one of the appliqué fabric placement placement boxes on the screen, click and drag to select all shapes and then move them so that the appliqué fabric placement box is aligned with one of the grid lines.

Brother Scan N Cut Canvas

I moved these shapes to the top left hand corner of the mat on the screen.

Brother Scan N Cut Canvas


When you have removed all the appliqué fabric placement boxes, now you can remove any letters or shapes that you don’t want to cut.

Brother Scan N Cut Canvas

Step 5

Now you need to download to your computer a cutting file that can be used by the Brother Scan N Cut cutting machine.

Click the Download button.

Brother Scan N Cut Canvas

You are presented with two choices:

  • Download to PC: you will need to copy the file that is downloaded onto a USB stick that can be inserted into your Brother Scan N Cut cutting machine.
  • ScanNCut Transfer: this option allows you to use WIFI to transfer the cutting file directly to your Brother Scan N Cut cutting machine. Since I don’t have one (yet!) the option is not available to me.

Brother Scan N Cut Canvas

To download a cutting file which can be copied onto a USB stick and used in your Brother Scan N Cut cutting machine, click the Download to PC button.

Brother Scan N Cut Canvas

The file you download will have a .FCM extension. It will more than likely end up in your Downloads folder.

Step 6

To save the project so that you can use it again, enter a project name and then click the Overwrite This Project (Save) button.

Brother Scan N Cut Canvas

A popup will appear to indicate that the project has been saved.

Brother Scan N Cut Canvas


  1. Thank you so much! I’ve owned a Scan N Cut for a couple of years. However, I do not use it nearly enough! 🙂

  2. Thank you for these instructions. I have purchased several of your designs and can’t wait to use them on my new Scan N Cut! This will help! I love your emails and videos. They are so informative and interesting.

    I hope your daughter’s healing and recovering is moving along well. Youth helps with this process. It takes a lot of strength on both the part of the person and the caregiver to be successful.

  3. Thanks so much for your step by step instructions. Hopefully I can do this soon and then refer back to it.

  4. Thank you so very much for the step by step instructions. What software are you using to make you cut files.

    • Cheryl,
      I start out in CorelDraw and digitize in the BERNINA Embroidery Software. I then export the placement lines as SVG files – this needs the full version of CorelDraw, not the essentials version that is included with the BERNINA Embroidery Software.
      Sarah 🙂

  5. What would you use as a preparation on the back of your fabric before using a Brother Scan N Cut? I don’t want to have to try a variety if you could please recommend exactly what works best with the machine (quilting cotton fabric). Thank you.

  6. Thank you so much for the tutorial. I have owned my ScanNCut machine for a couple of years and now I feel very confident in using it.

  7. Thank you, Sarah. Your directions are so very clear.

  8. Great tutorial! It was good to learn about the black space representing the fabric placement and finding the letters underneath it, otherwise I would have thought ? I had made a mistake!. Thank you!

  9. Thank you so much for the detailed instructions. I own a scanNcut, but barely use it because I don’t know enough to do so. These instructions should help.

  10. Loved the tutorial, do you list on your website which patterns have the SVG files added?

  11. Thank you for the very clear instructions for using my machine.

  12. I think I can do this! Instructions are very clear, thank you.

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