This guide is intended for the tech newbie or tech challenged individual who might have less experience using a broad range of computer software programs and/or file types.
Every program or app has its own little idiosyncrasies that are learned only through trial and error and experience. So fret not if you're feeling a tad frustrated, it just takes a bit of time and patience to get the hang of things!
I'm going to start with a brief explanation of how files work, because I often have customers who say "I've clicked on everything and can't get anything to open (or work)". Yikes, frustrating indeed.
The very first obstacle is that tricky little zip folder. Unfortunately, no matter how you click, those files are not going to cooperate properly until you extract (unzip) that folder. You can learn about that here.
Once you have the folder unzipped, your files are ready for use. But it is helpful to identify what file formats you have and understand what those files do before randomly clicking on all of them. Learn that here.
Double click to Open it?
This is the most commonly practiced method of opening a file. However, this isn't always the right way, and it may not be working for you, depending on what you are trying to accomplish.
When you double click on a jpg or png file, it is the default photo viewer program on your computer that will open those images (same for any other image file format). That's nice, but the photo viewer program is really only meant to view the image... it doesn't do anything other than show you the image. If you want to actually do something with that image, you'll need to open it inside a program that has the tools you need, to do the thing you are wanting to do.
For file formats that are saved for a specific software program, like MS Word, Excel, Illustrator or Photoshop, double clicking the file icon will only open it if you have that specific program installed on your computer. Double click a .psd file and you don't have Photoshop?... it's not going to open. These are called native files, and they belong to only one specific program, meaning you have to have that program in order to open them or find an alternative program that is compatible. For example, Photoshop files can be opened with the free online app Photopea (but not by double clicking the file icon in the folder).
Opening SVG Files
Typically when you double click an svg file icon it will open in a web browser window. That is, unless you have a vector based software program installed on your computer AND it has been set as the default program to open such files when double clicked. To open an svg file you typically want to first open the software you will be using, for example, Cricut Design Space, and then import the file into the software. SVG files are only compatible with certain software programs so you can't open this one just anywhere.
TIP: PC computers will often default to showing SVG file icons as HTML, this is normal and doesn't affect the file. You can read more on that here if you want to learn more about identifying and managing this issue.
Opening JPG or PNG Files
To use a jpg or png file for design work you will first need to open the software you want to use, and then insert the image into your open document. For example, if you want to work in MS Word you would open a blank document and then use the menu commands to 'insert image file'. You would do this in a similar way using any other program although the commands to do so might vary. Both jpg and png files are compatible with almost all software programs.
Opening PDF Files
To read or print PDF files you will need a PDF reader and then you can just double click the file icon to open it. The most popular option is the free Adobe Reader which is easily downloaded. Google docs can also open PDFs as well as most web browsers and there are many other free tools available as an alternative to Adobe Reader. NOTE: PDF files can only be edited if the creator has enabled editable text fields or if you have a PDF editing program rather than just a PDF reader.
Opening files in free Online Apps
There are many free online design programs available, Pixlr, PicMonkey and Photopea are just a few. To open files here you need to first open the program in your web browser. The program will then operate the same way as if it was an installed program on your hard drive. Each program will have slightly different commands for opening files but typically it will be from the menu bar File>Open or File>Place.