Universal Overlay FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is Cricut® changing to the universal keypad overlay?

A: Changing to the universal overlay is part of our commitment to creating the easiest-to-use cutting machines and cartridges on the market. A universal overlay that works with all new cartridges means that there’s just one overlay to learn, organize, and store—instead of a specific overlay for every cartridge you own.

Q: What cartridges use the universal keypad overlay?

A: All cartridges launched after August 1, 2013 will be compatible with the universal overlay. As a result, these cartridges will not be packaged with a specific overlay.

Q: Why is the new cartridge packaging smaller?

A: Because cartridges launched after August 1, 2013 will be compatible with the universal keypad overlay, they will not be packaged with a keypad overlay. This means the cartridge packaging can be smaller. Smaller packaging allows us to keep cartridges at an affordable price point. Less packaging is also more environmentally friendly.

Q: What does the universal keypad overlay look like?

A: The universal overlay is the same size as a cartridge-specific overlay, but has a consistent arrangement of numbers and letters, instead of the varying shapes and letters of older overlays.


Q: How does the universal keypad overlay work?

A: The universal overlay works in the same manner as the older keypad overlays: Each key corresponds to a specific shape or letter on a cartridge. Some keys can be used with feature keys or the shift key to make more cuts.

Because the universal overlay does not change from cartridge to cartridge, you will need to use each individual cartridge’s included handbook to reference the specific keys that create each shape. You can also access the handbook online at cricut.com.

Q: With the universal keypad overlay, some of the boxes in the cartridge handbook have a gray X in them. What does this mean?

A: Some images require more layers than others. The boxes with a gray X indicate keys that are not used for a particular image.

Q: Where can I purchase the universal keypad overlay?

A: You can purchase the universal overlay from authorized retailers and at cricut.com.

Q: Do I need to purchase the universal keypad overlay if I have a Cricut Expression® 2 or a Cricut Mini® machine?

A: Only the Original Cricut®, Cricut Create®, and Cricut Expression® machines that currently require use of a keypad overlay will need the universal overlay.

Q: If I have already purchased cartridges, can I continue to use them with the original overlays that came with them?

A: Older cartridges should still be used with their cartridge-specific overlays and the included cartridge handbook.

Q: Going forward, will I need to purchase a universal keypad overlay for each new cartridge I buy? 

A: Once you purchase the universal overlay, you will be able to use it with each new universal format cartridge you purchase. If you buy an older cartridge that is not in the new universal format, keep the overlay that comes with it and use that.

Q: Will older cartridges and handbooks be converted to work with the universal keypad overlay?

A: All cartridges introduced after August 1, 2013, will use the universal overlay. However, older cartridges will not be converted to the new format at this time and will continue to use the cartridge-specific overlays they were packaged with.

Q: If I lose the overlay for one of my older cartridges, can I use the universal keypad overlay instead?

A: The universal overlay would not be formatted to work with an older cartridge, so the handbook instructions would not be accurate.