Cricut Basics: The Keypad

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Article Courtesy by Heidi Anne Giebel

Though using a Cricut isn't complicated, a little bit of instruction can go a long way.  Here are a few tips for understanding the Cricut keypad:

There are several buttons on the Cricut keypad and it can be quite confusing. Part of the problem is that each cartridge has its own unique overlay for the keyboard.  Luckily (by design!), the overlays have several standard buttons that show up on each one.

To begin, the two most important  buttons or keys are the load paper key and the unload paper key.  They will both be found on the bottom right of the keypad.

The two buttons on the bottom left of the keypad are the shift and shift lock buttons. If you look at a page in your cartridge manual , you will see the main image in a colored section on the left of the page. Above it you will see a corresponding image or layer of the main image, depending on which cartridge you are using. Both images are also printed on the keypad buttons in black (default image) and grey (shifted image). To cut this corresponding image or layer, you will need to hit your shift button as well as the main cut button. If you wish to cut the corresponding image multiple times, hit your shift lock button.

The six buttons on the top left of the keypad are your function keys or creative feature keys. These buttons will allow you to cut all the special functions on the cartridge, such as tags, cards, charms, borders and much more depending on the cartridge you are using.

So, for example, if I wanted to cut a charm of a seahorse, I would press the charm key and then the seahorse key. To add the layer, I would then press the shift key, the charm key and then the seahorse key. Hint: When using the shift key, it must be pressed before the feature key and image key to achieve the cut desired.

The paper save key will allow you to save paper by automatically placing multiple images closer together on the mat when cutting.

The real dial size key allows you to cut your images in the true size you program in to the Cricut. For example, I want to cut a 3” butterfly using Everyday Paper Dolls. If I set my dial to 3”, it will cut the butterfly in proportion to the size of a 3” doll. So, if I used the real dial size key then my butterfly will actually be cut at 3”. I’ve shown you what I mean in Design Studio; see the example below.

The space key enters an empty space when you are typing in your cuts.

The backspace key will delete the last entered key press, erasing it.

The clear display key will clear the screen on your Cricut but not what has been programmed in. The reset all key will clear out what ever you have programmed into the Cricut. Tip: hit the reset all key in between your cuts to ensure you do not cut the same image twice.

The repeat last key will cut the last image you programmed in.

The sound on/off key will turn off the chirping noise that the Cricut makes when you are hitting the keys.

The load last key will load your mat and move your blade to the precise spot where the Cricut made its last cut.

The set paper size key is used with paper that is smaller than 6” x 12” for the original Cricut or smaller than 12” x 12” for the Expressions. To use the set paper size key, load your paper and move your blade to the top corner of the paper. Then you can hit the set paper size key and the Cricut will cut your images using the smaller size paper.

All of these buttons can be puzzling at first, but the more you experiment with them the more familiar they will become to you.


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