Laser Engraving Software: What It is and Why You Need It

Many assume that laser engraving is a craft reserved for large businesses or individuals with years of technical training. The truth is, however, that laser engraving is a very accessible skill that almost anyone can learn. In fact, with the right laser engraving machine software, becoming proficient in etching beautiful designs on an array of materials has never been more achievable.

What Is Laser Engraving Software?

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With the right laser marking software, users can create designs, configure them to communicate with their machines, and apply the appropriate laser power settings. Laser engraving software operates as an essential intermediary between the user's imagination and their engraving machines.   

What To Look for in a Laser Engraving Software Solution

As laser engraving machines continue to rise in popularity, tools that can make the most of what laser engravers can do are in high demand. Software developers have recognized this demand and are creating laser applications at record speed. A quick internet search for the best software for laser engraving produces so many results that it can be impossible to weigh your options or even know what features are best for your needs. The truth is that it depends on a few factors: 

  1. The nature of the user's laser cutting projects
  2. Current operating system compatibility
  3. The user's budget

Types of Laser Engraving Software

Laser engraving software comes in various price ranges and with an array of features. Before diving into your available options, it will be helpful to define some key terms:

  • Computer-aided design (CAD) software aids in creating the project's designs. 
  • Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software translates the designs into coding language.
  • Control software allows for effective communication with the laser machine.
  • Raster files contain pixelated images.
  • Vector files contain images composed of paths and lines. 


LightBurn software hits all the crucial points. It works great with both vector and raster images, is affordably priced, and is a native application for macOS, Windows, and Linux. Further, LightBurn has a user-friendly interface and, as a CAD, CAM, and control software, supports all stages of graphic design and execution so that you won't need any additional software for your projects. LightBurn is also compatible with common vector graphic formats and raster images such as PDF, PNG, AI, JPG, SVG, GIF, and BMP.


RDWorks is a free laser engraving software that has been gaining popularity due to its attractive price point and wide range of CAD capabilities. RDWorks offers powerful functionality in most points and lines critical in design software, with support for AI, PLT, DXF DST, and DSB vector files. RDWorks' user-friendly interface is compatible with Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10/11.


AutoCAD was created in 1982 by veteran software developer Autodesk and is compatible with macOS, Windows, and Linux operating systems. The learning curve for this CAD software is steep, and it can take some time to learn all the ins and outs. AutoCAD is intuitive, expensive, and used predominantly in professional industries such as engineering, construction, and architecture.    

Why Do You Need Laser Engraving Software?

Both professionals and hobbyists rely on laser engraving software to translate their designs into tangible products. While most additional purchases beyond your laser machine are optional, you cannot use a laser engraver without software. The good news is that a reputable laser cutting machine company will equip its customers with the required software for its products. More good news is that if you're unsure if you will like a specific paid software, many companies will offer a free trial. Some entirely free software options exist as well. LaserGRBL, for example, provides a photo laser engraving software free download. 

Create Your Own Vector Shapes and Settings for Custom Designs

The positions of the nodes that create a scalable vector graphic (SVG) can drastically affect the composition of lines and curves that form an image. A higher number of nodes equals a more complex graphic, and altering the position of just one node can have a dramatic effect. With software equipped with node editing, users can manipulate these nodes to customize any design to their hearts' content. Also, because you can scale SVG file formats without negatively impacting the image quality, you can change the shape and the size of your graphics while keeping the integrity of the original image. 

Choose the Image Format That Works Best for Your Needs

Each laser engraving project is unique and works best with a particular image format. What works great for one project may not be ideal for another. For this reason, ensuring that your laser engraving software is compatible with various graphic images is essential. For instance, with its myriad pixels, a raster file works wonderfully for engraving beautifully detailed photographs. Alternatively, vector files work great for logos or images that need to be scaled.

Ensure Highly Accurate Results

Because you can view your project on your laser engraving software's interface before the laser interacts with the material, you will know what every single project looks like beforehand. A high-caliber engraving software will also allow you to adjust the settings pertaining to laser speed, the number of passes, the cut order for the various components, image brightness, contrast levels, and more. From a design standpoint, this amount of control is critical to guaranteeing the accuracy of your final result.

Invest in the Right Laser Cutter Software

Laser engraving is an exact and artistic craft that can create intricate designs. Because a laser engraving machine is an investment in this art form, you owe it to yourself to obtain tools that will allow it to operate at its full potential. The laser cutter software you choose will significantly impact the items you produce with your laser engraving machine. At OMTech, we help take the guesswork out of selecting the best laser cutter software for your engraving projects. Visit our website today to see how OMTech can pair you with the software that best fits your needs.