Cutter Reg Marks

Script for Adobe Illustrator
Latest update 9/27/2021, version 2.2

The script automates adding registration marks (dots) in cut files for flatbed cutting plotters. A client request for large-format prep led to this script, as I grew tired of adding registration dots one-by-one. The script is designed to satisfy that particular client’s requirements, but surely other users have similar needs. All feedback is welcome, such as how changes to the script could adapt it to other workflows.

NEW as of 4/28/2021: alternate version for Tekcel CNC Sign Cutting Machines.

  • Choose layer on which to add marks
  • Layer created if needed
  • Offset the marks relative to artboard or contents of selected layer
Cutter Reg Marks screen
Cutter Reg Marks

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Script adds five registration dots as shown.

How-to Video

How to use the script

The script creates five registration dots that flatbed cutting plotters use to align cuts to the printed content. The marks created are 1/4" round dots colored 100% black.

The interface has one section with all options:

Add marks to or create layer — enter the desired layer name on which the marks will appear. If a layer of the entered name does not exist, it is created atop all other layers.

Place marks in margins — marks are placed around the artwork but if content is close to particular artboard edges, this option allows the choice to favor either top/bottom or left/right. Use whichever margin has more room. For top/bottom, the odd (fifth) mark is placed in the top margin two-thirds from left. For left/right, the odd mark is placed in the right margin one-third down from the top.

Offset, X and Y — the distance marks are placed from the selected reference (set below). Each axis, X and Y, may be set to different values. When the selected reference is a layer (see below), X and Y position aligns with the content depending on which margins are favored: top/bottom ignores the X offset; left/right ignores the Y offset.

Inches, points, or mm — the measurement units the offset value represents.

Relative to — the reference from which marks are placed. Artboard places the marks inside the artboard area, the value of the Offset away from the artboard edge. Layer places the marks outside the selected layer's contents, the value of the Offset away from the contents.

Layer — when Relative to Layer is selected, choose the layer that is the reference. All elements on the layer determine its bounding box, away from which the marks are placed.

Randomize position — if enabled, marks are not precisely aligned, rather shifted one point in various directions. I am told this is necessary, but it seems the odd (fifth) dot is sufficient to indicate right-reading, the apparent reason for non-aligned placement. I’m no expert at large-format cutting, so all feedback regarding this topic is welcome, and perhaps it will improve the script. For placement that is more random, dots may be repositioned as needed, or for more than five dots, copy dots the script creates to arrive at the number and positions desired.

Each time processing begins, the options are preserved, and the next time the script is launched, the options are restored to the last values used.

Cutter Reg Marks

License details included in download

Alternate version for Tekcel CNC Sign Cutting Machines

Same functionality as the standard version of the script, but creates marks recognized by Tekcel sign cutting machines. Places 10 mm round dots top left and bottom right, and one 10 mm square bottom left.

Cutter Reg Marks Tekcel

For help installing scripts, see How to Install and Use Scripts in Adobe Creative Cloud Applications.

IMPORTANT: by downloading the script you agree that the software is provided without any warranty, express or implied. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Always make backups of important data.