ScanNCut Print to Cut Tutorial – Learn How to Fussy Cut on Your Machine

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The ScanNCut Print to Cut Activation Card (for DX machines only) has been out for a while now but to be honest, we didn’t rush out and buy it. It was only because we were getting a number of emails from our readers who were having difficulty getting clean cuts that we decided we needed to make the purchase.

(Scroll to the bottom of this post for links on where to buy the Print to Cut activation card.)

I’m glad we did because I am loving it and it arrived at just the right time because only a few days before, we had bought some Etsy fussy cut digital images to use in our journal making. These were going to be the perfect test.

The pack we purchased was from Eclectic Eggplant and here is a link to Victoria’s Spring Garden Fussy Cut pack that we used in this tutorial. She does have some really lovely items for sale.

fussy cutting with the scanncut

What will work for this?

The one thing to remember before we begin is that Canvas Workspace can only do so much. So for this to work, you really need images that can be traced easily. You will figure out what images can be easily traced by a bit of trial and error and after a while, you will intuitively know what will work and what won’t. The ones we purchased were made to work well with cutting machines as they have a border around each of the images. If you can find images like this, they will work the best.

Essentially, if you go with individual images that are isolated (ie have a white surrounding background) and/or have a border then you will more often than not have great success.

What’s the difference between this and regular scanning?

Now you might be thinking at this point, is it worth it? I mean the machine can scan your image in and cut around it anyway. The difference between the scanning option on your machine and what this card can do is:

  1. The card works in Canvas Workspace so you don’t need to scan your pages through the machine in order to trace and cut them. You just open the digital file for the image directly into Canvas Workspace.
  2. You can resize the image. This means that whatever image you have that you bring into Canvas Workspace to be traced can be resized before you cut. So the flower images that I am cutting in the tutorial below can be larger or smaller if I want.
  3. It kind of just works better in my opinion. You get a cleaner more even cut around the edges.

Ultimately, I think Brother should have included this for free as part of Canvas Workspace, but even so, I still like it for all the above reasons.

So let’s begin.

You can start by watching the step-by-step video below or scroll down for the written instructions.

(Can’t see the video? You may have an adblocker installed.)

Step 1: Activate the Print to Cut Card

When you purchase the ‘Print to Cut’ Activation Card, you will find an activation code inside. (Links to where you can buy the Activation Card are listed at the end of this post.) I’ve covered mine up in the image below but where the arrow is pointing is where it will be.

To activate it, open up Canvas Workspace (I’m using the Desktop version) and click on the HELP option from the top menu.

From the pop-up that appears select the ‘Premium Function Activation’ option. You can then enter the activation code.

Once you’ve activated the card, we can start setting up to fussy cut.

Start by selecting Artboard from the right-hand menu options. You will see an option called ‘Artboard Size’. Select that and from the drop-down choose the size of your printer paper. In my case, because I am in Australia I went with ‘A4’. If you are in the US, you would probably choose ‘Letter’.

You will also notice a ‘Registration Mark’ option. You will only see this if you have activated the Print to Cut card correctly. Make sure this is checked.

You will now see that you have a template with registration marks on your screen. Select the ‘Image Tracing’ option from the left-hand menu.

Select the ‘An Image in the Computer’ option.


Find the image on your computer you want to use for this process and double-click to open it in Canvas Workspace.

For my image, the Image Tracing function did a beautiful job of finding the outline of the flowers. If yours didn’t come out so well, you can play around with Advanced Options to get a better result. Once you are happy with the result, click OK to continue.

Ensure that you have the ‘Paste the image on the drawing area’ option selected.

The image will now appear on the mat. Just move it to fit it within the template area.

Click FILE from the top menu and select the ‘Export PDF File’ option and then ‘Images Only’.

Save the PDF file to your computer.

Now that you have the PDF file saved, you will need to print it. Open the PDF and select the FILE-PRINT option. You will get a pop-up appear allowing you to select the printer options. I am using a Mac so the printer options look like the image below. Yours will look different if you are using Windows but the basic options still apply.

Now this next part is critical. You will need to ensure that the SCALE option is set to 100% otherwise you won’t get a good result. Also ensure that the Paper Size option matches the paper size you selected in Canvas Workspace. For me it is A4.

You can also change print quality if you like.

Once your page is printed, you need to create the cutting file. Select FILE from the top menu and select ‘Export/Transfer FCM File’

print to cut scanncut tutorial

Choose whichever option suits you. If you are using a USB to save the file select ‘Export FCM File’. If you are transferring the file directly to your machine via wifi, select ‘Transfer FCM File via the Internet’.

Now we need to head over to our ScanNCut machine.

Select ‘Retrieve Data’

print to cut scanncut tutorial

Since I transferred my file via the Internet, I am selecting the Computer option. If you used a USB, insert the USB into the side of your machine and select the USB option.

The cutting file will now appear on the screen. Click OK to continue.

The machine reminds you to load your mat with your PDF printed image. Click OK once you have done this.

Click ‘Please Select’.

Click ‘Cut’.

Click ‘Start’ to begin cutting.

Your ScanNCut will now cut around your images.

The final result!

We are having so much fun with this, it has made our lives so much easier when looking for die cuts for our projects.

Where can you get the Print to Cut for CanvasWorkspace activation card?

I’m not sure what it is with Brother but they seem to go out of their way to make it difficult to find their products but since we are getting a few people ask I have added a list of retailers here although at this point I am having trouble finding a US retailer that sells them online. If anyone knows of one, leave a link in the comments area below and I will add it here.