Help! My PC thinks SVG files should be opened with Internet Explorer!

A Windows 10 guide especially for people using Silhouette Studio.

Computers are weird, am I right? Sometimes they want to open up files with the strangest programs. One that I see come up a lot is SVG files, which are graphics … but Windows computers want to open them up with Internet Explorer. SVG files will even have the Internet Explorer icon on them.

So what’s going on here? Well, Windows likes to associate one program with one file type, so it’s always ready to open the appropriate program when you double-click on a file. Almost every time, Windows has a built-in program that can handle any type of file (though you can change that using this guide). SVG files, which are now used a lot for vector graphics in cutting machines like Silhouette Studio, actually started out as a web file format. So Windows still figures, “Heck, guess we’ll just say Internet Explorer will handle that.” Then Windows dusts off its hands and pats itself on the back for a job well done. Which is great if you’re using SVG files on the web, but not so great if you’d like to use them in Silhouette Studio, or Inkscape, or any other image editing program.

What we need to do is go in and tell Windows exactly what program we want it to associate with SVG files. You can make this any program you want: Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, Inkscape, Silhouette Studio, or one of dozens of other graphics programs that can handle SVG files.

Since most of the time I get this question it’s from a Silhouette Studio user, I’ll use it as an example here. But you can follow these steps for any other program on your computer as well. (Note: I’m using Windows 10 here, but a very similar system worked on Windows 8 as well. I can’t vouch for Windows 7 or before, since I haven’t used those versions for a while.)

First, you’ll want to right-click on any SVG file. That will bring up the panel on the left. From there, click on “Open with,” then on the littler panel that pops up, click on “Choose another app.”

This panel will pop up next. Use the scroll bar on the right to go all the way to the bottom of the list of possible programs you can use, and click on “More apps.”

You’ll get a list of even more options, but Silhouette Studio still won’t be there just yet. Scroll down again, and on this list, click on “Look for another app on this PC” at the very bottom.

Your computer may have installed Silhouette Studio in a different place, but odds are it put it in the same place it put it on mine. From the “Windows (C:)” option on the left-hand menu, navigate your way through these folders:

  • Program Files (x86)
  • Silhouette America
  • Silhouette Studio

Eventually, you’ll get to a folder that contains the “Silhouette Studio.exe” file, with the familiar blue Silhouette logo next to it. Click on that little guy.

At this point, Silhouette Studio may automatically open up. It’s because you’ve told it to open this one particular SVG file with Silhouette Studio. But we still have a couple of steps to go, because we want every SVG to open with Studio in the future. So close Studio down, and go back to the SVG file you were working with originally.

The SVG file will still have the Internet Explorer logo. BUT NOT FOR LONG!

Once again, right-click on the SVG file, click on “Open with,” then click on “Choose another app.”

This time, Silhouette Studio will show up in the very first list of possible programs! In the previous steps, we’ve told Windows, “Hey, did you know that this program is an option for this file type?” So from now on, Windows will offer it in this list.

Now you’ll want to click on “Silhouette Studio.exe,” and also click on the box next to “Always use this app to open .svg files.” Click OK, and you’re done!

From now on, your SVG files will all have the familiar Silhouette icon, instead of the Internet Explorer icon. And if you double-click on any SVG file, your computer will open it up in Silhouette Studio!

If you’d rather associate SVG files with a different program, you can do that too! Programs like Adobe Illustrator will usually find their way into the list of possible options on their own, but other programs like Inkscape may need to be hunted down and manually added to the list, like we did here with Silhouette Studio.

(Side note: This trick won’t work for Cricut Design Space users or Brother Canvas users, since those programs run in a web page; this association change can only be made with programs that are installed to your computer. But the files will still work fine in those programs.)

Now go and show your computer who’s boss!

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