Scan It Saturday – Converting Different File Types In Brother Scan N Cut Canvas

May 10, 2014 — 87 Comments

I’ve had a LOTof questions about importing and exporting different file types for use with the Brother Scan N Cut so I thought that I’d do an explanation of the file types and how to use them with the Scan N Cut Canvas so that you can refer back to it whenever you need to.

Firstly it’s important to know that the only file type that the Brother Scan N Cut cutting machine recognizes is FCM. If therefore you wish to use any other file type, like an SVG, GIF, PNG, BMP or JPEG, you will need to convert it into an FCM file first.

One of the easiest ways to convert a basic image is to print it and then scan it but sometimes this isn’t possible because either you don’t get the result you want because of the picture quality, or you’d prefer to convert it digitally to save paper etc so this post is more about the digital conversion route.

To convert files digitally you will need to use the Brother Scan N Cut Canvas which I talked about during last week’s Scan It Saturday. It’s the only software that will convert to and export in the FCM file format.

The scan and cut canvas will import and convert the following file types – JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, SVG and FCM however there are some ‘restraints’ on each which I’ll explain as we go through this.

Before I begin, I should explain that I am using the Windows 7 operating system. You may need to consult your computer’s help files to see if any of the computer based menu instructions that I talk about differ; I’ll try and suggest alternatives that I know about but don’t have experience of all operating systems however the actual Scan N Cut Canvas operations should be the same no matter what OS you are using.

I’ve split the overview down into each file type(s) group so that you can refer to just the one you need.

They will run as follows –

  • Image Tracing – JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP
  • Image Converting – SVG
  • Image Importing FCM

The process for saving and exporting is the same in all cases so this will be covered on it’s own at the end.

Ok, ready? Ok, I’ll wait while you grab a fresh brew ….

Sorted! Here goes :)

Converting (tracing) a JPEG, GIF, PNG or BMP image file into FCM cutting files

  • Sign In to Brother Scan N Cut Canvas.
  • Start a new project and give it a name.
  • Now, either: Click on the image trace button (it’s the third button along that looks like a leaf in water) OR Click on the Project menu and choose “Image Tracing…”

You will then be presented with this options box.

Scan It Saturday - Brother Scan N Cut Canvas - Converting Files For Use With The Brother Scan N Cut - Image Tracing Options Box

Scan It Saturday – Brother Scan N Cut Canvas – Converting Files For Use With The Brother Scan N Cut – Image Tracing Options Box


Here’s an explanation of what these mean/do.

Outline/ColourOutline traces the outer most edge of (each part of a design) is traced. If for example you have a red apple with a black outline, all colours are combined into one and treated as a silhouette around which a cut line is formed. Colour – When an image consisting of multiple colors is traced using the colour detection method, a cutting outline is created for each area of colour. Each pattern part can be selected separately and moved in the edit screen. After rearranging the parts in the screen, each part can be cut out from paper or fabric of different colors to create a project with a rich color scheme. You can see examples of the two types of image tracing options on Page 10 of the Brother Scan N Cut Canvas help file PDF.
Remove Background – If your image is on a colored background, you can remove this during the conversion process and just trace the shape.
Number of colours – The number of colours in an image is reduced and then the image is analysed for cutting lines according the the Colour conversation process described above. This gives you a way of adjusting how many colours the conversion process will try to locate and simplifies your design (if you decrease the number) or makes it more detailed (if you increase the number).
Notes – Some important import/export notes.
Preview – Gives you a preview in the box on the left showing the outline that will be the cut line in blue. This gives you the chance to change things before you commit the conversion to the virtual mat.
OK/Cancel – Either continue with, or cancel, the conversion process.

To get the image into this conversion section just click on the ‘Browse…’ button (might say ‘choose’ in some browsers) and locate the image that you want to ‘trace’ (convert).

  • Click Preview.

After you have twiddled with the options and found the combination of settings that you like…

  • Click OK

Your design will now be loaded onto the virtual mat for you to save, download or edit some more. I’ll not be covering additional editing here though as this post is purely about converting.

Here is an example of a frame that I designed in the conversion process.

Scan It Saturday - Brother Scan N Cut Canvas - Converting Files For Use With The Brother Scan N Cut - Image Conversion Box Example

Scan It Saturday – Brother Scan N Cut Canvas – Converting Files For Use With The Brother Scan N Cut – Image Conversion Box Example

To get the landlocked areas traced you will need to use the Colour option. If I had not selected this I would have only had the outline around the outer edge.

When tracing some image types you may find that you end up with a double cut line on the land locked areas. Brother are aware of this and inform me that it is totally normal.

Here is what I mean …

Scan It Saturday - Brother Scan N Cut Canvas - Converting Files For Use With The Brother Scan N Cut - Image Conversion Box Example 2

Scan It Saturday – Brother Scan N Cut Canvas – Converting Files For Use With The Brother Scan N Cut – Image Conversion Box Example 2

See how the line appears thicker and I can select it independently of the main design. You will need to select and delete each of these before saving and cutting otherwise the machine may try to cut this line twice and it will ruin your design.

You can now move on to save and download your file (see the section later in this post).

Converting an SVG image file into and FCM cutting file

I’ve had lots of questions about SVGs over the months and they are a great way of accessing a wealth of amazing designs but they will need converting before you can cut the design on the scan n cut machine.

SVGs (scalable vector graphic) are written in a computer language, rather than being created from pixels. This means that they can be increased in size (on screen) or converted for cutting very easily and with no loss of line quality. This, in my mind, makes them perfect for using with cutting machines.

Anyway, here’s how to convert them for using with your Scan N Cut.

  • Sign In to Brother Scan N Cut Canvas.
  • Start a new project and give it a name.
  • Now, either: Click on the SVG icon (it’s the fourth button along; the one with SVG written on it) OR Click on the Project menu and choose “Import SVG/FCM file…”

You will now get an import box specifically for SVG and FCM files.

Scan It Saturday - Brother Scan N Cut Canvas - Converting Files For Use With The Brother Scan N Cut - SVG FCM Options Box

Scan It Saturday – Brother Scan N Cut Canvas – Converting Files For Use With The Brother Scan N Cut – SVG FCM Options Box

As you will have noticed, there are some notes below the file locator box. After further investigation I have found that there is a maximum original file size of 2MB and/or 300 ‘lines/shapes’ for each SVG file that is going to be converted and/or exported and cut. Going over that limit will result in an error message and the conversion not being completed.

Some of you have experienced this already (and have contacted me) with some of the designs from Birds Cards, unfortunately there is no easy way around this and the only way that I know of to test whether they will work or not, is to try and convert it.

To continue.

  • Click on Browse (might show up as Choose… on some browsers).
  • Locate the SVG file and click OK.
  • Click OK in the Import SVG/FCM file box.

Your design will now be loaded onto the virtual mat for you to download or edit some more. I’ll not be covering additional editing here though as this post is purely about converting.

The picture below shows one of the SVGs that I created and then imported and converted for the recent Scan It Saturday Corner Bookmark post.

Scan It Saturday - Brother Scan N Cut Canvas - Converting Files For Use With The Brother Scan N Cut - SVG Conversion Example

Scan It Saturday – Brother Scan N Cut Canvas – Converting Files For Use With The Brother Scan N Cut – SVG Conversion Example

If your SVG has any shading or colouring, like mine had, then this will transfer onto your virtual mat but will make no difference to your cut on the machine.

You can edit each part of the design separately.

You can now move on to save and download your file (see the section later in this post).

Importing FCM files into Scan N Cut Canvas

If you have created a design on your Brother Scan N Cut, or want to play with some of the pre-installed designs from the machine that don’t show up in Canvas, and want to bring them into Scan N Cut Canvas for further editing or adding to your online library then you will need to follow this process …

  • Save the design from the machine onto a USB stick.
  • Insert the USB stick into your computer.
  • Follow the same process as shown above for loading SVG files.

This will then load this design onto your virtual mat and you can now edit, save or export.

Saving And Exporting An FCM File For Use With The Brother Scan N Cut Machine

If you wish to export your design for cutting on the Brother Scan N Cut you will need a compatible USB stick. If you are not sure, here is a list of those that Brother have tested as being compatible with the machine – USB Compatibility List

To save the design that is on your virtual mat, first make sure that it has a name in the Project Title box.

Scan It Saturday - Brother Scan N Cut Canvas - Converting Files For Use With The Brother Scan N Cut - Saving An FCM File

Scan It Saturday – Brother Scan N Cut Canvas – Converting Files For Use With The Brother Scan N Cut – Saving An FCM File

Then either:

  • Click on the “Overwrite This File” button. It’s the second one along with the downward facing blue arrow. If you overwrite a file, it will do exactly that – all of your changes to that file will be saved.


  • Use the Project menu and click on either “Overwrite this project” or “Save as another project”. Obviously the second option here is for when you have added to or edited a design and you want to keep the old file but save the changes as a new cutting file.

Once your file has saved you will get a confirmation message.

Just click the OK button to return to your virtual mat.

Accessing the FCM files on your USB via the Brother Scan N Cut Machine

Now that you have successfully mastered these steps like a crafty ninja you’ll be wanting to cut the design on your machine so here’s a quick run through on how to do that.

I’ve made the assumption that you have saved your designs onto a compatible USB stick. If not, you’ll need to do so before going onto the next step.

  • Turn on your machine
  • Insert the USB stick in the USB slot at the side of the machine.
  • Click Pattern
  • Click the button at the top of the screen that says Save Data.
  • Click on the large button that has the three pronged USB symbol.
  • Browse the files on your USB stick to locate the file you want and tap it on the screen.
  • Click Ok.
  • Click Ok.
  • If your design has multiple separate parts to it and you want to resize it then you will need to Unify (group) it before you move on. Consult your instruction manual for details on how to do this.
  • Your design is now ready to cut or draw on your machine.

Closing Thoughts

Right, it might feel like you’re brain is fried if you’re not tech savvy, mine certainly is from trying to make this as easy to follow as possible, but try it a few times and you’ll have nailed it in no time :)

I am 100% sure that I will have created more questions than I have answered so please feel free to use the comments section below this post in order to ask away and I will do my best to answer all unique questions.

I hope that this helps all of you scan n cut users out there. Please feel free to share a link to this post on Facebook, Twitter or whereever else you feel that people would like this info.

There’ll be no follow on post today as it’s taken me a while to put this together but I have a few plans for the coming weeks so please look out for those :)

Thanks for reading, see you next Saturday for more scanny fun!

J :)

Online Brother Scan N Cut Workshop

87 responses to Scan It Saturday – Converting Different File Types In Brother Scan N Cut Canvas

    Terry England June 27, 2019 at 2:03 am

    Hi John, hoping you can help. If I’ve designed patterns on Canvasworkspace and saved as FCM files can I then export out to create a PDF version. Is there a conversion software required – if so is there anything you recommend?



      Sadly not. You would need to transfer them into some software like Sure Cuts A Lot in order to export as a PDF. Not sure why you would want to do that but that would be the way that I suggest.


        Terry England June 27, 2019 at 9:42 pm

        Thanks for the reply, after a lot of trials I found I could screenshot input into Inkscape sharpen up the lines then save as a PDF. It’s a bit long winded but it enabled me to keep the exact measurements I needed to to keep the pattern pieces consistent for both the cut shapes and the PDF.



    Hi John, When trying to convert a jpeg file, in canvas I get a message that says the image cannot be saved or edited only cut and pasted. I went ahead anyway. When trying to resize, I tried grouping but when I tried to resize, the image stayed the same size but that selection box? resized. It worked once quite by accident but for the life of me I could not do it again. I am absolutely new at this and haven’t even unpacked my scan n cut. Any tips would be much appreciated. Love your videos.

    Liked by 1 person


      Thanks for getting in touch June. What you describe sounds normal to me. As you say you are a beginner I’d suggest signing up for my online course. All of the basics of the machine and Canvas Workspace are covered. You’ll find a link in the most recent blog post.



    Hi John, wow I’m a little late to the party but I have a question. I just purchased a SNC and I’m playing in canvas, I found an image on line and it had multiple layers to it. I remove all the top layers so now I think I have one layer. I want to now resize the image but can’t figure out how to do so. I also want to save it but again cant figure out how to do that either . Any help you can lend would be great. Thanks!



    Hi John, I hope you still reply to posts this old, I have only just come across you! I am using the scan n cut for a university project, and am having a really big problem. I have made my SVG file in Illustrator which corresponds to my artwork that I want cutting (made in Photoshop) I have made my Illustrator and Photoshop file identical in size and positioning down to the mm. When I import the SVG into the canvas it all reads fine, as accurate as it is in Illustrator. However. When I then open up this .fcm file on the scan n cut, and begin cutting, it’s as if the cut file has shrunk by a good cm! I am completely new at this scan n cut and have had no luck finding answers so far.. I really hope you can help.

    Thank you.



      Very odd however I think that I may have an answer for you.
      I just ran some quick comparison tests and was able to recreate your issue.
      The issue seems to be in the way that Illustrator saves files when exporting compared to saving.
      If you choose ‘export’ there is a definite size difference when importing into canvas the degree of which also varies depending on whether you are exporting an asset or an artboard.
      I then tried the ‘Save As’ option instead, choosing SVG as the SVG Profile to save as, it didn’t matter whether you saved the artboard or the asset you got an accurate size when importing into Canvas for both.
      I therefore assume that this would be the same for the machines too.
      So, ‘Save As’ instead of ‘Export As’ and this will hopefully solve your issue.
      Let me know how you get on.



        Hi, thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly. This is really strange because I haven’t been exporting it, I have been saving as an SVG anyway..
        I did wonder if it was anything to do with the actual settings of the scan n cut. I noticed in the settings theres options for blade adjustment and seam allowance. My seam allowance is saying 1/4 in”. I have no idea what this is actually relating to but I did wonder if that was the reason. Or if there was another setting that would be causing this?

        Liked by 1 person


        I don’t believe there is any other setting that would alter the size. Just double check your settings in Illustrator and do a couple of test exports with a square to find the right ones.



    Hi John could you please help me iv’e been using scanncut canvas and iv’e always been able to download my files to a usb stick but now it asks me to save it to my computer but i don’t know what to save it as ( in which program )at first i tried adobe but it wont let me save it to my usb as it says its not reconised



      If you follow my link to YouTube I explain what to do now. In short however you just simply click on the button to save it and it will download automatically to your downloads folder. You can then move it from there to your USB stick.
      J :)



    Hi John!

    I have a question that I am hoping you can answer…I have had no issues until very recent with my scan n cut canvas…I discovered Inkscape yesterday and decided to play around with it so I set my image and saved it as an Inkscape svg file….when I try to open it in scanNcut canvas it gives an error code that I can’t find anywhere ERRS09. I have tried other versions of Inkscape, saving it as other svg types, and tried simple images with still no luck…any information is greatly appreciated!!

    Thanks ~ Kassy~



    Hi John, Just wanted to update you about the problem I was having with my USB stick. Apparently, it needed formatting and now it works perfectly.



    No I haven’t. I wanted to speak to you first in case I was doing something really silly. I will try and contact them. Thanks anyway.

    Liked by 1 person


    Yes – it’s a brand new usb stick. When it didn’t work the first time, I even erased the original file and went through the whole process again with a new cutting file but still the same message. I just don’t know what I’m doing wrong! The machine has been sitting in the box for far too long and I’ve finally decided that I must get to grips with it but I’ve come to a stand still.



    Hi John, I am experiencing real problems in transferring converted SVG files into my Brother Scan and Cut. I have followed your instructions and the FCM file is definitely on my USB stick (on the compatible list from Brother) but when I insert it into my machine, I keep getting the message “USB media is not inserted. Insert USB media”. I have tried it again and again with different SVG files but still get the same message. HELP?



    Hi John, hope you can answer this one, no matter what I do I cannot get a SVG file to open in canvas as it just keeps displaying error message errS09. I have no idea what that means and I have spent hours and hours trying all different types of SVG files to open in canvas. I’m not very techy minded and this is totally frustrating me!



    hi John IO have got my scan n cut now but having real problems in downloading svg files I have looked on you tube and it says if a download wont workm in scan n ut canvas download inkscape I have done that but when I try and download a cutting file from svgcuts .com and open the file in inkscape it says unable to find file I really want to be able to do this but don’t know what to do please help from Sue



      All files from svgcuts are compressed/zipped. They need to be extracted before you can used them. Your computers help files should explain how to do that.
      You don’t need Inkscape for that.
      Have you seen my video on YouTube about this topic?



    can anyone tell me where the link is for the scan n cut cutting setting as I cant find anything I want to cut mirror card and centura card



    hi john I am getting the scan n cut soon but I have been looking on line for svg files but when I download them and go into the scan n cut canvas that I downloaded it wont download them I have been on the web site that you have on your blog and the svg goes to my computer but when I go into the scan n cut canvas it does not find them please help as I am not very computer minded and need some advise so I know how to download svg to scan n cut
    thank you

    from Sue



    Thank you John for your hard work. Help is so wonderful if I am struggling with something. Writing good tutorials are hard work!

    Liked by 1 person


    how do you maintain score lines when converting svg files to SnC format? I’ve tried. The main body of the design will re-size, but the score lines stay where they are.

    Liked by 1 person


    Hi John thanks for the very informative tutorial. I am very excited as an owner of the SNC, the Canvas takes my crafting to new levels.

    Liked by 1 person


    Hi John. I cannot get ANY SVG file to import into canvas even the simplest and smallest, either from the web or from inkscape. (tried drawing a single circle, and even that didnt import) It will import FCM files but not any SVG. I get the ERROR S10 every time. Any idea what error S10 is trying to tell me?



      Error code S10 means that you are using a file type that cannot be converted. This can sometimes happen if you have downloaded an SVG that is compressed/zipped. You will need to unzip these files so that they can be used in canvas.



    I’ve register on canvas now it wouldn’t let me log in.



    Bonjour, merci pour toutes vos explications surtout celle de l’utilisation de la clé USB, mais j’ai un petit problème, quand je sélectionne un fichier fcm, sur l’écran de la scan n cut, une partie grise apparait et m’empêche de découper sur toute la page. Avez-vous une idée du problème. Merci par avance. Vereau



    Hi John thanks for this and all your hard work. Can I just ask this please. I sold my Silhouette Cameo but I still have all of my cut fies,can I convert these to the FCM format and if so how do I do it. Hope you can help.



    Im not sure? if it is what should I do??
    thank you so much for help :)



    Hi John,

    Your explanations are great! Im still stuck though as Im useless with computers. Ive downloaded a simple paper bow image from Birdscards. Im saving it but its saying this file type cant be used…………….when Ive downloaded an image were or how should I save it?

    thanks in advance




    Awesome post and so well explained thank you. One question, can GSD files be converted?



    Thank you so much for this!!! I now feel confident about creating my own images!!!



    Hi John, How do I scan with the mats that i have as they are 12×24 and will not scan



    Hi John thanks for getting back to me,yesI do right click and still no joy. My computer still cant see the USB stick.More than fed up with it.I may try again latter.Keep up the good job.
    Jackie Lewis



      If it’s between your USB and computer I’m afraid that I can’t really help with that. I’d consult you’re computers help files on using removable media storage.



        Hi again John,
        Thank you for replying so soon..Yes I think it’s a problem with my computer,will let you know when I’m up and away. Jackie Lewis


    Sandra Miaskoff May 12, 2014 at 7:36 am

    Hi John, thanx for your great explanations. I have one question.
    If I draw something in the canvas suite program, does that have to be converted or can I just put it on the USB stick and download it onto the scan &cut?
    Thanx again.
    Sandra Miaskoff


    june stackhouse May 11, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Thanks john its great you and everyone else thats doing post about the snc and how to get patterns its great im sick and it gets to much so its great to go back to the page where you left off so thanks again john



    Thanks John i love this post



    Hello John, could you help me please. When I try to download your images to the USB stick the computer says what programme do I want to save it in,its anything but the USB stick.I have a cruzer edge16GB. and I have Windows 7.Don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Any help would be more than great.


  32. May 10, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Hi John I am having trouble with my scan & cut getting it to recognise any of my mats, i have cleaned out under neath & still no better .I have today managed to get a mat recognised so i am not going to unload this as a last resort Thanks for your help Maureen Pope



    Thank you so much . You sure make it fun to learn. You have answered my questions.



    Thanks John, what would we do without you, probably pulling our hair out as well as everything else. Your hard work is much appreciated.


    Jean Sherrington May 10, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Please help! Still cant get my Scandisc cruze 8gb to work.Am so frustrated-really didnt expect to have this problem.By the way,I was so excited with the first scancut that I bought a second one.So dedication on my part is obvious.


    Shirley Freeman May 10, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Brilliant. Thanks John. That is definitely one for keeping for when I get around to playing with the canvas. You put an awful lot of time and effort into this.
    Best regards,



    Hi John
    I asked the other day if you had a contact for brother as my machine would not accept any mats. after a lot of searching I found a customer service contact and I am pleased to say they were very good and soon had the problem sorted. The reason it would not accept the mat was there something stuck on the scanner and ask me to follow the instructions in the book for cleaning the scanner. It was easy to do and thought I would let you know the out come in case any one else gets the same problem.
    Thanks Denise


    pixelsprincess May 10, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Thanks John. I know what hard work it is to put something like this together. Bit of labour of love there too do I detect? Much appreciated.



    thanks for taking the hours and hours and hours to write this!! Sitting here with my coffee it’s a bit much to wrap my brain around, but will definitely give it a step by step try later! Enjoy your blog, thanks for all of the sharing!



    Thanks John, but see am2406 has now added her video which I was going to steer you to, its brilliant and Ive been able to convert all the SVG’s that I hadn’t previously been able to. SueL



    sorry wrong link posted it should be the troublesome SVG video look at my youtube channel applelover53 to see the correct one.



    Morning, Mmmmm think I will have to read this a few times LOL. very well explained though, thank you.


    Janet Steventon May 10, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Thank you so much john. I can’t wait to try this I am going to print it out and laminate it for my wall. You are brilliant jan xx



    Hi John. Brilliant tutorial, thanks for putting this together. Is there a way of contacting you privately, as I have seen something that might be useful, but don’t think I’m allowed to put the link here. SueL



    Thanks John – life seems a lot easier when you explain things!!!!! Sue


Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. A Change And A Catch Up – Introducing SVG Saturday « Gentleman Crafter - July 26, 2014

    […] the files. You can of course still use the SVG files (a guide to converting them can be found here) so really it’s a double bonus for you Scan N Cut […]


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