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Working with layers in Brother Canvas Workspace

The beginner's guide to the Layer panel.

how to use the layer panel in canvas workspace

Canvas Workspace is the editing software for the Brother Scan N Cut cutting machines. It’s a user-friendly program that allows you to get amazing results without putting a lot of effort. The user experience is straightforward!

In today’s post, we are going to guide you through the Layer panel in Canvas Workspace. This article is part of The Ultimate Brother Canvas Workspace Guide, our growing library of resources about Brother Canvas Workspace.

On this article:

Why do I need to work with Layers in Canvas Workspace?
How to open SVG files in Canvas Workspace?
How to open the Layers panel in Canvas Workspace?
How to select layers in Canvas Workspace?
How to hide layers in Canvas Workspace?
How to lock layers in Canvas Workspace?
How to group layers in Canvas Workspace?
How to organize layers in Canvas Workspace?
How to cut by layers in Canvas Workspace?

 

Why do I need to work with layers in Canvas Workspace?

 
In digital design, we use layers to separate different elements of an image. Every layer hosts a single component of the complex composition. This system is frequently associated with software like Adobe Photoshop.

If you are crafting with multicolor cut files, you must learn to differentiate and edit layers. It’s key to avoid wasting vinyl or cardstock by cutting elements that won’t have a specific color in the final craft.
 

How to open SVG files in Canvas Workspace

 

 

To open your SVG files in Canvas Workspace, follow these steps:

  • Click on the “SVG” icon that you will see on the left toolbar.
  • A new window will appear. Use it to browse your device until you find the file you want to use.
  • Select the file and open it on your canvas.

 

How to open the Layers panel in Brother Canvas Workspace?

 

how to work with layers in canvas workspace

To open the Layers panel in Canvas Workspace, you have to click on the Layers icon. You can find this icon in the right toolbar. It’s the one that is highlighted in blue on the image above.

The Layers panel will allow you to have an overview of all the layers of your design. It’s also the place to go if you want to edit any parameter related to those layers.
 

How to select layers in Brother Canvas Workspace

 
how to work with layers in canvas workspace

 

There are two ways you can select a layer in Canvas Workspace: by clicking it on the Layers panel or by selecting it on the image. Once you have selected a layer, it will be highlighted in blue on the Layers panel. You can see an example in the image above.

 

how to work with layers in canvas workspace

When a layer is selected, you can edit some aspects related to it. The first choice you can make is if you want to cut that layer with your Scan N Cut machine, or if you’re going to draw it. (It’s possible to use this kind of device for drawing. You just have to place a particular marker in the place where the cutting blade usually goes). Press the blade icon to see a small menu with both options.
 

How to hide layers in Brother Canvas Workspace

 

To hide a layer in Brother Canvas Workspace:

  • Select the layer you want to hide.
  • Go to the Layers panel.
  • Click on the eye icon that you’ll see beside your layer. When you hover with the mouse, you will see the message “toggle visibility.”
  • As you can see in the right image from above, the layer won’t appear in the composition. Please bear in mind that this does not mean that it’s not part of the file anymore. If you press the eye icon back, the layer will appear again. 

 

How to lock layers in Brother Canvas Workspace

 
how to work with layers in canvas workspace

If you secure a segment, it won’t be part of any changes that you make when editing the rest of the design. This option can be useful if you want to experiment with the size or the position of some layers, but you don’t want to modify some elements that are already in place.

To lock a layer, check the squared box at the end of the row. If you hover with the mouse, you’ll see the message Toggle Lock. Once you have clicked on the square, you’ll see a small lock appear inside of it.

Please note that the layers that you lock are still visible. If you don’t want to see them, you also have to hide them.
 

How to group layers in Brother Canvas Workspace

 
There is no need to apply the same edition process to every layer at a time. To save time and effort, you can easily group the layers in your design. There are two ways you can do this.
 

Grouping layers in the Layers panel

 

To group your layers at the layers panel:

  • Place all the layers you want to group. You can easily drag and drop them around the layers panel with the mouse.
  • Select all the layers that you want to group.
  • You’ll find the Group button at the bottom left corner of the Layers panel. Click on it, and all your layers will become part of the same group.

Please note that grouping your layers does not mean that they lose their independence. It just allows you to apply the same settings to all of them at the same time.
 

Grouping layers in the canvas

 

To group your layers in the canvas:

  • Click on the first layer you want to select.
  • Press Shift on your keyboard. Keep it pressed while you select the rest of the layers you want to group.
  • Press the Group icon at the bottom left corner of the Layers panel.

Now, all the layers that you selected have become part of the same group.

How to organize layers in Brother Canvas Workspace

how to work with layers in canvas workspace

 

Once you have grouped all the layers of your design, you can easily manage these new groups you’ve created. First of all, it’s useful to rename the layer groups. To do it, double click on the row where the group begins. A text box will appear. You can write a new name there.

 

how to work with layers in canvas workspace

 

You can also hide and display the content of every group. Look at the small arrow beside every group’s name. When the content of the group is closed, it will point to the right. If you want to see all the layers that are included in that group, click on the arrow. A dropdown list with all these layers will appear. If you click on the arrow again, the list of layers will be hidden.

Please note that, in this case, the elements on those layers will still appear in the canvas. The only thing that changes is that the layers panel is easier to manage now. If you want to hide the layers on the canvas, you have to press the Eye icon.
 

How to cut by layers in Brother Canvas Workspace

 

Once you have finished editing, it’s time to cut your design. The primary purpose behind editing by layers is to be able to cut in different materials (e.g., red, purple, black, blue, and yellow image for the balloons of the examples).

Before you cut, make sure that the only visible elements are the ones that have the same color as the material. You can hide the rest of the groups by clicking on the Eye icon beside the group’s name.

To export your layers:

  • Click on File in the upper menu.
  • A dropdown menu will appear. Select the Export FCM File option. Your layers selection is ready to be transferred to the cutting machine.

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