KNK Studio or MTC… When To Use Which Program

Since purchasing and learning Make The Cut several years ago, I’ve relished in having both it and KNK Studio at my disposal. On several occasions I’ve referred to the two programs as the “perfect software combination” because each program has its own particular merits. The purpose of this post is to provide some guidance for when to use Make The Cut for your designing/cutting and when to use KNK Studio. For those of you who own both programs, this should very helpful. For those of you who own one or the other, this post will provide you some information on what you might be missing by not owning both.

To begin, here’s a quick table I put together to show, in my opinion, which program excels in specific areas. Click on the image to make it larger and then you should also be able to zoom, as needed.


To learn more about the differences, I’ve detailed some of the features that would impact customers I’ve taught or helped.

Basic Facts

  • Both programs can be used to design what you need. Therefore, it’s not a requirement to own both; it’s just enjoyable to own both!
  • Both programs have specific features that make one more preferable to use over the other, depending on what the user needs at the time.
  • Files created in MTC can be exported as PDF, EPS, or AI to import into KNK Studio. Then just a few menu clicks will have the programs ready to edit. File created in KNK Studio can be copied and pasted to MTC. There are videos which cover this available here.


KNK Strengths:

  • Customizable Interface – You can modify toolbars or create new ones with icons for your most commonly used functions. Add guidelines at any location and even have angled ones. You can set the grid spacing to whatever you choose and the horizontal and vertical spacing of the grid need not be the same. You can even create your shortcut keys or change the existing ones.
  • Works better with color – You can select shapes by color, cut by color, hide by color, and add colored borders of any thickness, to your shapes for printing. There’s a palette of almost 200 colors readily available at the bottom of the screen plus the option to add more using an eyedropper tool or by manually entering color values.
  • Superior segment and node editing – Know how you sometimes get those little unwanted bumps or notches in your curves? In KNK Studio it’s just a matter of clicking on either side of the imperfect segment and then clicking the curve icon to smooth it out. KNK Studio editing also allows multi-node selection and a terrific method for manual tracing imported rasters.
  • Professional cutting options – For those needing some of the professional cutting functions, KNK Studio offers automatic weeding, power weeding (additional cut lines within the weeding area), defaults for mirror and cut by color, nesting, and repeats.
  • Kerning feature for text – While MTC does have a shortcut for reducing or expanding the spacing between letters, KNK Studio goes one step further and users can select any letter and then move all of the letters to the right of that selected letter. This makes for a much easier and faster spacing of your letters in a title.
  • Easy toggle between metric and inches – Customers outside of the USA have as much need for a metric interface when designing and editing, as we Americans have a need for Imperial. Users can set up KNK Studio in metric and even create a shortcut key to toggle between inches and mm, if desired.


MTC Strengths:

  • Superb Auto-tracing – MTC has an easy-to-learn and extremely powerful pixel trace function that opens up a world of free cutting files for any user. It also has several features missing in KNK Studio: preview of results before accepting settings, multiple tracing methods available in one window, and a special tracing feature for images with transparent backgrounds.
  • Easy to use layers and page functions – The Layers Bar in MTC makes it easy to organize the shapes within any given file. It’s also easy to add pages within a file for further organization of big projects. While KNK Studio has both features, they are not easy to learn and adapt to one’s needs.
  • Fun designing features – MTC has lattice, rhinestone, jigsaw, conical warp, and stretch object to path which are, like other features in the software, easy to learn.
  • Easy print and cut – This is where MTC really shines! All of the KNK’s can make use of this feature and it’s so much easier to learn and faster to use due to auto movement to reg mark locations. The user just needs to tweak the alignment device a few steps to make sure it’s dead center on each mark. Also, based on how PNC was designed, users have the option to print from other programs or even add registration to an existing printout.
  • Importing of more popular file formats – MTC can import GSD, WPC, and files. TTF, OTF, and OPF fonts can be opened without prior installing into Windows.
  • Easy installation onto a new or reformatted computer – MTC has been a lifesaver for quite a number of KNK Studio owners who have been locked out of the software due to registration issues.
  • MTC can be installed on Macs (version 10.6.3 or newer), however only the Maxx, Maxx Air, Zing, Groove, and Groove-e models will cut from the Mac version.

If you interested in testing Make The Cut, you can download the trial version from here. To purchase an activation pin, click here.

If you do not own KNK Studio, you can purchase the dongled KNK Studio GE to use for designing and then copy/paste files from KNK to MTC for cutting. If you are a recent buyer of a Maxx Air, then you can purchase the dongle-less KNK Studio Maxx version and cut to your Maxx Air directly. To purchase, please contact KNK USA at 800-268-3672 or send a message to them at this link.

User manuals and tutorial videos for both KNK Studio and Make The Cut are available at my site. Please email me if you have more questions about the two programs and how either could improve you designing experience.