The various features in LightBurn are accessed through the menus. The various features in each menu are listed and explained here.
Clicking "New" in the File Menu will clear any current project and create a new one. You can also press Ctrl+N / Cmd+N.
Clicking "New Window" will open a new instance of LightBurn. This can be used to run jobs on multiple lasers at the same time or quickly jump between projects.
Please note that if you change LightBurn's settings while you have multiple windows open, the settings in whichever window is closed last will be saved to the preferences file and will overwrite any changes you made previously in other windows.
This will open a list of the most recently opened files to choose from.
To open an existing or saved file, click on “Open” in the File menu or press Ctrl+O / Cmd+O.
You can import any supported LightBurn files into the file you are currently working on. Click on “Import” in the File menu or press Ctrl+I / Cmd+I LightBurn supports importing the following file types: svg, ai, pdf, dxf, hpgl, plt, png, jpg, bmp, tiff, gif, webp.
Add or view project comments through this menu. (Ctrl+Alt+N)
To save a project click on “Save” in the File menu or press Ctrl+S / Cmd+S. Type the name you want the file saved as in the dialog box that opens up.
To save a file with changes, but still keep the original file intact, click on the “Save As” icon in the File menu.
Generates and saves the GCode (the code that gets would normally be sent to the laser cutter) for the project as it currently stands. (Alt+Shift+L)
This option will only be enabled for devices that communicate via GCode.
To export a file to a different file format, click on “Export” in the File menu (Ctrl+X / Cmd+X). LightBurn can export to SVG, AI, and DXF formats. Bitmaps are only exported in SVG files, and text is automatically converted to simple shapes in all export formats. (Alt+X)
If you have objects selected, only those will be exported, otherwise it will export the entire content of your project. If you have exactly one bitmap selected, you will also be given the option to export as PNG or JPG.
Print (Black only)¶
This menu item (Ctrl+P) outputs a black and white document to be sent to a printer or built-in "Print to PDF" tools. This document is saved exclusively in black/white.
Print (keep color)¶
Similarly to above, you can use Print (keep color) to send to a physical printer, or to a file, your design for review, markup, etc. The export is sent with the same colors as selected in the [Color Palette]. This can also be triggered by Ctrl+Shift+P.
Save Processed Bitmap¶
Exports a copy of a bitmap that you have edited in LightBurn with the edits.
Save Background Capture¶
If you have a camera connected, this function saves a screenshot of the camera feed.
Open prefs folder¶
Opens the folder containing your LightBurn preferences in your file browser.
Allows you to export your preferences as they currently stand.
Allows you to import preferences from an exported copy.
Load Prefs Backup¶
Allows you to import preferences from a list of (automatically saved) versions.
To exit LightBurn, click on the “Exit" in the File menu or press Ctrl+Q / Cmd+Q. You will be prompted to save your file if you have unsaved changes.
To undo the last editing action done on the current file, click on "Undo" in the Edit menu or press Ctrl+Z / Cmd+Z
To Redo the last editing action done on the current file, click on "Redo" in the Edit menu or press Shift+Ctrl+Z / Shift+Cmd+Z
To select all objects in the current file click on "Select all" in the Edit menu or press Ctrl+A / Cmd+A.
Selects the opposite of what you have currently selected. E.g. if you have one object selected, it will select every object except that one. (Ctrl+Shift+I)
To one or more objects from the current file, select them and click on "Cut" in the Edit menu or press Ctrl+X This will put the object on the clipboard, and remove it from the current file.
To copy one or more objects, select them and click "Copy" in the Edit menu or press Ctrl+C / Cmd+C This will put the objects on the clipboard, but leave the original object alone.
To duplicate a selection in place, select one or more objects and click "Duplicate" in the Edit menu or press Ctrl+D. This is an "in-place" copy and paste operation all in one, bypassing the clipboard. This means if you already have something on the clipboard, it'll still be there after using Duplicate. The duplicate is placed directly on top of the original.
To paste an object from the clipboard click "Paste" in the Edit menu or press Ctrl+V. This will place a copy of the clipboard contents in the current file. Note that LightBurn can paste text or images copied to the clipboard from other software.
Paste in place¶
To paste an object from the clipboard click "Paste in place" in the Edit menu or press Alt+V. This will place a copy of the clipboard contents in the current file in the same spot that it was in the original file.
To delete an object select it and click "Delete" in the Edit menu, or hit Del. This will remove the object from the current file.
Convert to Path¶
This converts a built-in shape object, like a rectangle, ellipse, or text, into lines and curves that can be edited. Click on "Convert to path" in the Edit menu or the right-click context menu, or enter Ctrl+Shift+C. The original shape information is lost, so you won't be able to change text with the text tool after using this.
Convert to Bitmap¶
This converts selected vectors into bitmaps (rasters/pixels). (Ctrl+Shift+B)
In order to Fill a shape with your laser, the shape must be a closed loop, where the starting and ending point are the same. If the start and end points are very close, but not quite connected, "Close Path" will move them together. Click on "Close path" in the Edit menu or press Alt+C.
Close paths with tolerance¶
Works similarly to close paths, but allows you to set a tolerance for "close" points, so that it doesn't join parts that are far from each other.
Auto join selected shapes¶
Looks at the start and end points of all the selected curves, and if any of them are close enough, connects them together into a single shape. Useful when importing DXF files, which don't contain connectivity information. Click on "Auto join selected shapes" in the Edit menu or press Alt+J.
Optimize Selected Shapes¶
Attempts to fit the selected shapes to arcs and lines within a specified error tolerance. Useful for reducing the point count in a shape, or recovering arcs from software that exports them as many small line segments. (Alt+Shift+O)
This will delete duplicate items within the drawing, for example if two squares are identical and one on top of the other, this will delete the extra square. This helps to minimize erroneous moves and double-cuts. (Alt+D)
Select Open shapes¶
This will select all open shapes in the document.
Select open shapes set to fill¶
This will select all the open shapes that are set to fill in the document.
Select all shapes in current layer¶
This will select all the shapes that are set to cut in the current layer of the document. Note that if some of these shapes are grouped, the system may have to un-group them in order to select them.
Select contained shapes¶
Will select all the shapes that fall entirely within the shape you have selected.
Offers you various ways to refresh or replace bitmap images in your project. Handy if you have made some edits to a bitmap in a different editing software, and you want to replace the old version you have open in LightBurn.
Replace Image To Fit¶
Clicking on "Settings" in the Edit menu will open the Settings window, where you can change general user settings and preferences.
Opens the Device Settings window, for editing LightBurn preferences specific to the chosen laser.
Opens an editor that allows reading and writing firmware settings from supported controllers.
This is mostly an internal tool for LightBurn developers that shows the bounds of shapes being drawn.
Convert to cut (debug)¶
Also an internal tool for LightBurn developers - It converts the selected shapes into the cuts that would be sent to the laser, and makes a new shape from the result. This is not how you produce gcode / cuts for your machine, it's just a debugging tool for the LightBurn developers.
Many of the tools in this menu are also available as icons in the tool toolbar that by default, is on the left side of the workspace. See Creation Tools for more information.
Click on "Select" to select objects in the workspace, or to access menus and toolbars.
Click on "Draw Lines" or press Ctrl+L to draw straight or curved lines in the workspace. Click + Drag to make curved lines.
Click on "Rectangle" or press Ctrl+R to draw rectangles in the workspace.
Click on "Ellipse" or press Ctrl+E to draw ellipses in the workspace.
Create a regular polygon with a variable number of sides (triangle, hexagon, octagon, etc). (Shift & drag)
Click on "Edit Nodes" or press ++ctrl+~++ to edit nodes of objects in the workspace.
Click on "Edit Text" or press Ctrl+T to create or edit text in the workspace.
Allows you to click on a place in your project, and have your laser move to that point in real life (works best with absolute coordinates/end-stops).
Opens up a window that provides you with various information about objects as you hover over them in your scene. Things like line length, start and end point, etc.
Create QR Code¶
Allows you to create a QR code containing various information such as: Wifi details, contact info, links, text, raw content, etc.
Used to create new shapes that are offset from the current selection, inward or outward.
Fuses multiple shapes together into a single outline.
Adds two closed paths together into one mass so that all their intersecting lines disappear.
Select an closed path you want cut, and then also select another that you want to cut out of the first and then click Boolean Difference to do so.
Select two closed paths and click Boolean Intersection to remove all the areas that don't overlap.
Gives you a preview of the Boolean functions described above, to help you choose the correct one.
Select the shape you want cut and also select another shape, then select Cut Shape. The outcome will both what you would get from a boolean difference and a boolean intersection. This also works on open paths (unlike the boolean operations).
Allows you to edit a bitmap image in various ways, such as brightness, contrast, image processing mode, negative, etc.
Opens the image tracing tool where you can trace the content of a bitmap image into vector graphics.
Apply Path to Text¶
If you select a shape and a line of text, this command will attach the text to the shape, so the text follows the path. This allows you to make curved text. (Read more here)
Apply Mask to Image¶
Select a closed shape and a bitmap, and this function will cut the bitmap to fit the shape. See how to use this tool effectively here.
Click on "Group" or press "Ctrl + G" to group the selected objects in the workspace.
Click on "Ungroup" or press "Ctrl + U" to ungroup the selected objects in the workspace.
Automatically groups shapes within other shapes that contain them.
Click on "Flip Horizontal" or press "Ctrl + Shift + H" to flip the selected objects in the workspace horizontaly.
Click on "Flip Vertical" or press "Ctrl + Shift + V" to flip the selected objects in the workspace vertically.
Mirror Across Line¶
Select objects and the shift select line to mirror them about, and then click "Mirror Across line" or press "Alt+M".
Rotate 90° Clockwise¶
Select objects and click "Rotate 90° Clockwise" or press ".".
Rotate 90° Counter-Clockwise¶
Select objects and click "Rotate 90° COunter-Clockwise" or press ",".
Two-Point Rotate / Scale¶
Select object and click "Two-Rotate / Scale " or press "Ctrl/CMD + 2". Click the point you will rotate about, then to only rotate, move the mouse to the second point. To scale hold shift while rotating. For more information see Two-Point Rotate / Scale
Click on "Align Centers" to place the center points of the selected objects directly on top of each other.
Click on "Align Left" or press "Ctrl + Shift + Left arrow" to align the selected objects in the workspace to the left.
Click on "Align Right" or press "Ctrl + Shift + Right arrow" to align the selected objects in the workspace to the right.
Click on "Align Top" or press "Ctrl + Shift + Up arrow" to align the selected objects in the workspace to the top.
Click on "Align Bottom" or press "Ctrl + Shift + Down arrow" to align the selected objects in the workspace to the bottom.
Click on "Align H-Center" to align the selected objects in the workspace to the center of the horizontal plane.
Click on "Align V-Center" to align the selected objects in the workspace to the center of the vertical plane.
Provides various methods of evenly spacing objects across various axes.
Click on "H-together to move shapes like distribute, but keeps shapes together
Click on "V-together to move shapes like distribute, but keeps shapes together
Exports selected objects to a file, copies that file path, and opens SVGnest.com so you can upload the file and nest your objects.
A little like simple nesting. Select some shapes and click one of the directional docking buttons, and LightBurn will "dock" all your shapes together in that direction, moving them together until they touch. See Docking for more information.
Move Selected Objects¶
Offers various places to move the selected objects to, such as page centre, laser position, upper left, etc.
Move to Page Center¶
Click on this to move selected objects to center of page
Move to Upper Left¶
Click on this to move selected objects to Upper Left of page.
Move to Upper Right¶
Click on this to move selected objects to Upper Right of page.
Move to Lower Left¶
Click on this to move selected objects to Lower Left of page.
Move to Lower Right¶
Click on this to move selected objects to Lower Right of page.
Move Laser to Selection¶
Offers various ways for you to move the laser to parts of the object you have selected, like the top left or centre of it.
Grid / Array¶
Click on "Grid / Array" to create an array or grid of objects in the workspace. A window will open allowing you to enter the parameters for the array or grid. For more details, see here.
Click on "Circular Array" to create an array or grid of objects in a circle in the workspace. A window will open allowing you to enter the parameters for the array. For more details, see here.
Copy Along Path¶
Click on "Copy Along Path" to make copies of your selected shape(s) along a path. First, select the object(s) you want to copy, then select the path to copy along. Then select "Copy Along Path". You can create a certain number of copies or set the space between copies. By default, the orientation of your copies will stay the same, but the "Rotate" option will cause the shape to rotate along the path.
Create Rubber-Band outline from selection¶
Creates an outline on the current layer encompassing all selected parts.
Click on "Break apart" to break selected object into individual parts.
Push forward in draw order¶
Click on "Push forward in draw order" or use "Page up" key to move the selected object up one level in the draw order. Usefull when trying to see objects on the screen.
Push backward in draw order¶
Click on "Push backward in draw order" or use "Page down" key to move the selected object down one level in the draw order. Usefull when trying to see objects on the screen. "Ctrl-PgDn" or "Ctrl-PgUp" will send an object to the very bottom, or very top of the objects on the screen.
Push to Front¶
Moves the selected object to the top of the drawer order.
Push to Back¶
Moves the selected object to the bottom of the drawer order.
Note: Drawing order changes only work in wireframe (outline) rendering mode, not filled. In filled rendering mode, the display order will always match the layer order.
Lock Selected Shapes¶
Locks selected shapes from being edited in any way.
Unlock Selected Shapes¶
Unlocks selected shapes to allow them to be edited again.
Laser Tools Menu¶
The Laser Tools menu is the new home for utilities that interact with the laser.
Print and Cut¶
This sub-menu lets you run the Print and Cut wizard, set the targets, enable the different Print and Cut modes, or reset it.
Calibrate Camera Lens¶
Open the camera lens calibration wizard. For more information on setting up the camera, see here.
Calibrate Camera Alignment¶
Open the camera alignment calibration wizard. For more information on setting up the camera, see here.
This will open the rotary setup dialog box. Use this to set up your rotary attachment.
This will open the auto-feed setup dialog. Use this to set up the auto-feed table controls for Ruida controllers with an auto-feeding table.
Opens the Focus Test generator tool. Requires a machine with a controlled Z-axis.
Opens the Interval Test generator tool, though this has been largely replaced by the Material Test generator below.
Opens the Material Test generator tool, which lets you generate and run test grids with varying settings.
Opens the Center Finder tool, used to locate the center of a circular object in a few simple steps. see Center Finder
Reset to Default Layout¶
To arrange the windows and menus back to the original default layout, click on "Reset to Default Layout" You can use the Window menu to toggle windows and menus on or off.
Click on "Preview" or press "Alt + P" to open the preview window. It will show the current laser project and includes information on cut distance, rapid moves, and total time estimate. Cut lines are in black and traversal moves are red. You can toggle the display of traversal moves on or off, as well as shading by power level.
Zoom to Page¶
Zooms so that the full workspace is in view.
Click on "Zoom In" or press "Ctrl + =" to zoom in the workspace.
Click on "Zoom In" or press "Ctrl + -" to zoom out in the workspace.
Zoom the view to completely contain the current selection. (Ctrl + Shift + A)
Allows you to change the appearance of objects in your scene from wireframe or filled modes.
Choose the language you would like to have LightBurn use in this menu.
Shows your LightBurn Version, copyright and attribution information.
LightBurn Support Forum¶
Links to our online forum where you can get help from our support staff and the community.
Quick Help and Notes¶
Click on "Quick Help and Notes" or press F1 to access hotkey list, general usage notes and version information.
Click on "Online Documentation to access the documentation for LightBurn.
Links to a PDF copy of our documentation, if you prefer reading pages over online text.
Online Video Tutorials¶
Click on "Online Video Tutorials" to access the tutorial videos.
CorelDraw macro setup help¶
Links to documentation about installing the LightBurn macro for CorelDraw
Generate Support Data¶
Generates encoded data that is handy to provide to our support staff when you are seeking help with a problem.
Camera Selection Help¶
Helps you select an apropriate camera for your laser cutter.
Check for Updates¶
Click on "Check for Updates" to make sure you are on the most recent version.
Launch the license dialog, where you can enter your license key, or see the status of your trial period or license.
Enable Debug Log¶
This is for the developers, turn on the log by clicking on "Enable Debug Log". The log file will be written to your "My Documents" folder on Windows, or Documents on Mac, and is cumulative - each time you enable the debug log it will append to any existing log, so it's a good idea to delete it after you're finished.