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10 Best Laser Engraver & Cutter Software of 2024 (Free & Paid)

by Winnie Li Updated on January 02, 2024

For a laser engraving and cutting machine, you need to use two types of software. One is the control software in which you import the design files and then engrave or cut using the laser cutting machine. It has the ability to direct the machine and get the work done; therefore, it is known as laser control software. This type of laser engraver software is a must for every machine.

The second type of software is design software. It allows you to design your own cutting and engraving patterns. If you already have the design, you don’t need the design software. You can just import it into the laser control software and start your work. But if you want to design something on your own to make a unique and attractive product, you need to use design software.

Both these types of software play a very important role and help you create the best items. Your ability to make various products and control the machine depends on these. 

Therefore, we are going to introduce 10 of the best laser engraving software of 2024. We will mention the features, pricing, difficulty level, and everything else you need to know.

In This Article

  • 5 Best Design Software for Laser Engravers & Cutters
  • 5 Best Control Software for Laser Engravers & Cutters
  • Laser Engraving & Cutting Software FAQs

5 Best Design Software for Laser Engravers & Cutters

Design software is a must if you want to take laser engraving and cutting to the next level. Here are a few free and paid software options you can try.

1. Adobe Illustrator

laser engraving and cutting design software: adobe illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is one of the pioneers in the design industry. If you want to create vector graphics, it is the first option you can think of. However, it is a bit complicated, and it requires proper training or learning before you get started.

But once you learn everything, you can make anything you want. It gives you complete freedom and extraordinary tools that can make anything from scratch.

With Adobe Illustrator, you can design laser cutting files with perfection. It is an ideal tool or software for professional work. You can turn your imagination into reality, and the sky’s the limit. If you have Adobe Illustrator, it is more than enough for your design needs.


  • Free-hand drawing of objects and items of your choice
  • Complete tool set to make exceptional vector graphics
  • Edit objects and create them from scratch
  • Combine multiple objects for laser cutting
  • Replicate existing items and create vector graphics
  • Export files in laser cutter-compatible formats, such as SVG, DXF, etc.
  • Image formats can also be exported for raster or vector laser engraving


Adobe Illustrator is a bit expensive. It costs $20.99 per month. Although it is a bit expensive, it is worth it. With the tools and the features that it offers, you can take your creativity to the next level.

2. Inkscape

laser engraving and cutting design software: inkscape

If you are disappointed after looking at the price of Adobe Illustrator, don’t worry; you can use Inkscape. It is open-source and free laser engraving and cutting design software for vector graphics. It is quite similar to Adobe Illustrator and has every tool you need to create exceptional graphics for laser cutting files and other purposes, but still, it cannot reach the level of Adobe.

You can download the software for free, and there are no hidden charges. It gives you all tools, features, and options for free. For laser cutting designing, it is a perfect tool. You can design everything from scratch. Whether you need simple cuts or intricate engraving and cutting patterns, everything is possible in Inkscape.


  • You can create designs from scratch or edit anything
  • Complete tool set to make exceptional vector graphics
  • It supports various formats that are compatible with laser cutter control software
  • It also offers an XML editor, which is quite helpful for expert designers
  • Contains multiple drawing tools to design vectors without any hassle
  • You can create clones of objects to make your work easier
  • Fill and stroke tools for laser engraving
  • Supports grouping of objects, layers, and z-order operations


It is completely free, and you can use it for a lifetime. However, you can donate to contribute to the development of the software and the efforts of the developers.

xtool p2

xTool P2 55W Desktop CO2 Laser Cutter

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3. CorelDraw

laser engraving and cutting design software: coreldraw

Many designers consider CorelDraw as the best option for their laser-cut and engraving designs. If you visit the laser-cut files library, you will see the CDR format, which is made by CorelDraw; however, not all laser cutter control software supports this format. But you can export files in SVG.

CorelDraw is an alternative to Adobe Illustrator. It has some extraordinary and distinct features that people love. It is a bit easier to learn, but you still need proper guidance or training for it. You can create almost any type of vector graphics in the software. For laser engraving and cutting, it empowers you to make the design of your choice.

The best thing about CorelDraw Graphics Suite is that you can edit your photos with perfection. You can make vector drawings from any image.


  • It is a complete graphics Suite that offers you all tools and features
  • Ideal for making dollhouses, boxes, and other laser cutting items that are assembled afterward
  • Any sketch or vector graphics can be made. It also offers a LiveSketch tool
  • Precise and accurate designing


The graphics suite costs $439 per year, which is quite expensive. But it has a different set of tools and features that make it ideal for various purposes.

4. DraftSight

You’ve heard of SolidWorks, one of the best 3D design software out there. DraftSight is a 2D design software from the same developer, Dassault Systems. It is best known for vector drawings, just what you need for laser cutting.

One of its standout features is the image trace function that turns regular images like PNG, JPEG, or BMP into vectors. So, you can take an existing pattern and get it ready for the laser cutter without starting over.

There is also this neat 'hairline' option for line widths. That’s perfect for laser cutting because it matches the laser’s single pass size. Basically, DraftSight makes everything simpler and more precise for your laser-cutting projects.

laser engraving and cutting design software: draftsight


  • Lets you create, format, and convert various 2D designs
  • Image tracing to seamlessly create vector files
  • Hairline feature for specifying certain line width
  • Supports multiple vector outputs: PNG, BMP, DWG, SVG, EPS, DXF


Price-wise, it’s on quite the expensive side. The professional version starts at $249/year. 

5. Affinity Designer

laser engraving and cutting design software: affinity designer

Affinity Designer was launched as an alternative to Adobe Illustrator by Serif. It shares numerous features with Illustrator; working and creating vector files is the top similarity. It can also work with a variety of image formats plus the toolbar is customizable too.

It’s more intuitive and user-friendly with the slider controls for sizing and zoom. Also, you can work on multiple artboards at a single time and apply custom grids and guides to them. The support for raster images, needed for laser engraving, is also present.

What’s additional is the plug-ins support. There’s a plugin to convert designs into G-code for laser cutting. Also, you've got this undo feature, which is a lifesaver. Made a mistake? Just undo it. Saves heaps of time and stress.


  • Intuitive slide controls
  • Ability to work on multiple artboards
  • Supports multiple image formats
  • Special plugins for laser cutters or engravers


For use on Windows or Mac devices, you need to pay a one-time fee of $69.99. For iPads, it’s $18.49.

5 Best Control Software for Laser Engravers & Cutters

1.  LightBurn

LightBurn is the father of all laser engraving and cutting software. It is because of its compatibility with almost all laser machines and advanced features that experts love. You can make simple sketches or vector graphics, such as names and objects, from scratch.

You can edit designs, create layouts, and make various changes to the existing graphics. The most important thing about LightBurn is the optimal result. You get the best results for engraving and cutting as it allows you to take complete control over the machine. Even if you are using any laser engraver with a rotary attachment, you can use it with perfection.

lightburn laser software

LightBurn has advanced features that many other tools and software lack. It is a complete laser control software and CAD design tool. It is the best for all your laser engrving and cutting projects.


  • Supports almost all formats for laser cutting and engraving
  • You can create and edit vector shapes, objects, and designs
  • Full control over speed, power, passes, brightness, and other options to make the engraving and cutting better
  • Compatible with a wide range of desktop and commercial laser cutters and engravers


LightBurn is not a free tool, but it is quite affordable. You only need to pay $60 to $120 once, depending on the license you select. After purchasing, you can use the software for a lifetime.

xtool s1

xTool S1 Enclosed Diode Laser Cutter

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2. xTool Creative Space (XCS)

XCS is the go-to software for xTool laser machines. It is one of the laser cutting and engraving software that’s free to use across all operating systems. Plus, with one personal account and cloud storage option, you can sync your information across devices.

xtool laser software

With XCS, you can either tweak existing designs or create new ones from scratch. It lets you add shapes, style your text, and do a bunch of other things like grouping, aligning, and reflecting, all with just a few clicks. It’s also handy for minor image edits, like cropping and sharpening, or even removing objects.

The cool new feature? xArt, an AI-generated image tool. You give it a prompt, and its AI algorithm whips up a variety of images and artworks.

For machines with a camera, like the xTool M1, you can pull vector graphics from these images and tweak them to your heart’s content. XCS also supports extras like rotary attachments.

And there's more! The latest version of XCS now comes with a flame alarm and sensitivity adjustment features, making it even better for all your laser-cutting needs.


  • Works across all platforms and syncs data through cloud storage
  • Can import laser machine-captured images
  • AI feature for generating AI artwork
  • Supports rotary attachment and other machine accessories
  • File recovery option in case of an unexpected shutdown
  • Supports fire alarms
  • Provides access to a collection of 1000+ projects


Free for a lifetime; no need for a monthly or yearly fee. Plus, it gets updated regularly with new features.

3. Imag R

imag r laser engraving software

Imag R is a web app designed for laser engraving. For one-time users, it is free but you will have to see ads. If you want to create an account, you need to get the Imag R license, which costs $10 a month.

The software usage is simple. Just upload your image to the site, and you'll have access to all the basic editing tools. You can crop, resize, add text, and apply materials. For more detailed work, there's an advanced settings option where you can adjust brightness, grayscale levels, contrast, and sharpness. Once you're done editing, just download the image, and it's ready for laser engraving.

An offline version of Imag R is available that comes with extra features like background removal, a slicer, and a puzzle maker. However, it’s paid and requires a subscription of $11/month.


  • Online app that works across platforms
  • Allows for all basic edits: cropping, resizing, and styling
  • Prepares images for laser engraving with advanced adjustments


Free for single online use without cloud storage. For account creation or downloading the offline version, you need to pay the subscription fee.

4.  LaserGRBL

LaserGRBL is an old laser control software. It is quite basic and suitable for laser engraving only. You cannot expect much from it.

It is open-source software that you can get for free. It offers some basic options that are good for engraving on objects. It is compatible with a wide range of laser machines.


  • Easy positioning of the image
  • Gives the status of every point or pixel of the image
  • Offers exceptional engraving results
  • Suitable for beginners


LaserGRBL is free, and you can download it from the official website.

5. LaserWeb

laserweb software for laser cutting

LaserWeb is a free and easy-to-use laser cutting software. You can run it on any operating system, whether it’s Windows, macOS, Linux, or even Rassberi Pi. However, it needs an internet connection to work.

What's cool about LaserWeb is that you can mix and match different file types in one project. You can use images or drawings from formats like JPG, SVG, PNG, and DXF; it turns them into G-code, which is what the laser cutter needs to understand your design. Plus, like XCS, it has compatibility with machines with a preview camera.

Another unique feature is its job cost estimator. This is great for anyone who wants to keep track of how much their projects cost.


  • Converts design into G-code for laser cutting/engraving.
  • Job Cost Estimator helps in budgeting and invoicing for projects.
  • Efficiently converts designs into G-code for laser cutting/engraving.
  • Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) for precise design placement.


For use on Windows or Mac devices, you need to pay a one-time fee of $69.99. For iPads, it’s $18.49.

Laser Engraving & Cutting Software FAQs

What is laser engraving software?

Laser engraving software is a specialized tool that prepares designs for engraving. It dictates the laser engraver, indicating which areas to engrave and the power and speedlevels required, etc. It also generates grayscale image height maps, which are essential for creating detailed 3D laser engraving.

How does laser engraving software work?

Laser engraving software converts your simple design file into specific instructions or codes, which guide the laser's engraving path. This includes setting the trajectory, depth, intensity, and speed of the laser as it moves across the material.

What software do laser cutters use?

Laser cutters are compatible with a range of software. Most are designed to be compatible with their manufacturer's native software, Lightburn is one popular option, which supports almost all laser cutters. Other common options are XCS, LaserGRBL, and Imag R.

Is laser cutting software the same as laser engraving software?

Yes, laser cutting and engraving often use the same software. However, the settings and cutting paths differ for each operation. For cutting, the line width is crucial, while for engraving, grayscale settings are more important.

What’s the role of design software in laser cutting and engraving?

Design software is where you start. You need a design file – a shape, graphic, or artwork. This software lets you create these designs with various tools and features.

What’s the best laser engraver software for beginners?

For beginners, xTool Creative Space is one of the best options. It is completely free and there are a range of user-friendly features. Plus, it has got a new AI image generation support.

Is Lightburn the best laser software?

Yes, Lightburn is indeed one of the best laser engraver software on the market. It is supported by most of the laser cutters and engravers we see in the market.

What is the easiest laser engraving software?

For design creation, Adobe Illustrator is an easy-to-use option. For preparing laser engraving files, XCS and Lightburn are both user-friendly choices. They offer intuitive interfaces and versatile features.

What is the free laser engraver software?

LaserGRBL and xTool Creative Space (XCS) are two free laser engraving software options. They do not require any monthly or yearly fees, and there are no hidden licensing costs, making them accessible for users on a budget.

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