How to Link Cartridges with the Cricut Explore

Although you can’t use the Cricut Explore without the internet, you can still use cartridges in the Cricut Explore Air 2. In this article, we will discuss how to link cartridges with the Cricut Explore Air 2 and answer any questions.

We also have a guide on how to link cartridges with the Cricut Maker.

Tired of dealing with cartridges? Sign up for Cricut Access to get access to hundreds of thousands of images!

Here’s How to Link Your Cartridges to the Explore

  1. Navigate to and sign in to your Cricut account
  2. Once you’ve logged in, click again on the green account button and select “Cartridge Linking” from the drop-down menu
  3. Insert the cartridge firmly into the port on the Explore machine. Make sure your Cricut Machine is turned on and connected to your computer.
  4. Once the cartridge is detected, you will be prompted to link the cartridge to your account. Click “Link Cartridge.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I link cartridges to more than one account?

Cricut cartridges can be linked to only one Cricut account.

Can I unlink a cartridge after it has been linked?

Once a cartridge has been linked, it cannot be unlinked. Keep this in mind when buying used cartridges.

Can I move a linked cartridge to another account?

Cricut cartridges cannot be moved to another account.

I linked my cartridge to Cricut Craft Room or older software. Can I still use cartridges in the Cricut Design Space?

If you already linked your Cricut cartridges to another piece of software, they are automatically available in your Cricut account in Cricut Design Space. There is no need to re-link them.

I linked my cartridge to my Gypsy, how can I link them to my Cricut Account?

Once you’ve linked your cartridge to your Gypsy, you cannot link your cartridge directly to your Cricut account. However, you can link your Gypsy to your Cricut account through the Cricut Craft Room.

View other common questions regarding linking your Gypsy.

I linked my cartridges, where can I access them?

Once you’ve linked your physical cartridges to your account, you can find them in Cricut Design Space under “My Image Sets” in the Insert Images window.

Can I still use physical cartridges in the Cricut Explore without linking them?

No, in order to use your cartridge with the Cricut Explore, the cartridge must be linked.

If I linked a cartridge, can I still use the physical cartridge in other machines?

Yes, if you linked a cartridge to your Cricut account, you can use the physical cartridge in other machines such as the Cricut Expression and Cricut Expression 2

How to Link Cartridges on the Cricut Explore - Shareable

71 thoughts on “How to Link Cartridges with the Cricut Explore”

  1. The features of the Explore and the Explore Air are great. My concern is that since you can’t use the cartridge or Gypsy directly with either machines. If PC went out of business or stopped supporting the software, you will not be able to use the machine. It would be different if the software was client software where updates were automatically pushed to your machine. But, internet based software only gives me the willies. Just some bad experience with software companies in the past that put out seemingly great software only to either stop supporting it or go out of business.

    What are your thoughts about this risk?

    • It is a risk that a company may go out of business, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon with Provo Craft. They have been a main competitor for a while.

    • How do you add swooshes and tails to words in Cricut Design Space when using fonts such as “salt and spices”?

      • I had this problem. Go into devices on your computer. Locate your cricut and right click for troubleshooting. Mine had to download the device driver. I was then able to link cartridges with no problem.

      • So with the Explorer Air 2, you at Lee basically being penalized for buy cartridges so you will have to pay a monthly fee for Cricut Access service.

        I think I like the old way better.

        The hell with Air and Maker items.

        • There is plenty of free files. Pictures and fonts out there. I have the same concern because I am tech challenged. My saving grace is I have an IT son in law.
          My thought, try making stuff with someone else’s to see if you are comfortable.

    • yes sign into your account at they have linked cartridges on left menu when they come up just print screen by right clicking mouse or the options on your browser. You can also print all registered too.

      • I have a explorer air one and I cant figure out how to link my cartridges can u plz help me

  2. How long has it taken for someone with over 30 cartridges linked on their gypsy to uplink to Cricut Craft Room?. I feel like my Mac and gypsy have been unlinked for over 2 hours now. Is that normal? Please help with some feedback. Thanks

    • I have over 75 cartridges linked to my gypsy and after reading these comments, I believe I’ll stick to my old Cricut Expression. I really wanted to upgrade to the new Air2, especially with the HSN special price.

      • I have the Explore Air 2 and just bought a bunch of new cartridges on eBay. Just found out you can only link a cartridge once and wanted to share with my daughter-in-law who was given a brand new Cricut Expression for Christmas. I’m now going to have to buy her some cartridges for her machine. It’s sad that you cannot unlink a cartridge and then re-link it to another Cricut. Guess that’s how they make the big bucks, so they say.

        • It said above that you could still the use the cartridge in the original Cricut and Expression even though linked to your Explorer Air 2

          • Please, please help I just bought a new explore air 2 but I can’t link them to my account. When I’m logged in to my account it doesn’t give me the option to link my cartridges. WHY??

        • Your cartridge can be loaded on your computer and you can use them from there and you can still use your cartridges over and over again I have the Cricut air and I used all my cartridges from the old cricut

  3. Have a new Explore One Machine and bought a digital cartridge but cannot find anywhere how to link it to my Design Space. Does anyone have any help?

    • I am having that same problem to me if I know they have made this so difficult I would not have put the money out on this machine if you find out how to work it please post it

    • When you buy the digital version of a cartridge, it will be added to your My Cartridges list instantly and appear in bold.If needed, sign into your account. Make sure you sign into the same account that you use to log in to the Cricut Craft Room® design software.

    • I believe the digital automatically link to your Design Space account not to the machine that way you can use them with most machine as long as you are logged into your Cricut account. Check on the Cricut site or call the phone number on the site and they can tell you for sure.

  4. Having trouble linking my cartridges. At the top of the page, there is a box that says “please wait” with a circle that keeps spinning (as if the computer is thinking). But this please wait box never leaves the screen and will not allow me to proceed . Has anybody else experienced this?

    • YES! I am experiencing this trouble right now and am trying to search for an answer. The more searching I do the more discouraged I am about this whole machine. I don’t like that you have to be online to use it. I’m considering returning it. Please post if you’ve had success figuring it out!

      • If you try to return the machine be very adamant to speak to a supervisor. I just purchased an air2 bundle and have dozens of cartridges I wanted to link but my daughter linked them to her machine 2 years ago and we did not know at the time I could not use them if I upgraded. When I called about returning the machine because it was useless to me I was told that if I had plugged up the machine and used it it was registered to me and useless. I was finally able to speak to a supervisor and they agreed to take the machine back but I hAd to pay shipping. I guess that is better than than being out $300.

  5. I bought a cricut explore today and was wondering can I do all of my things from my phone and my computer or only from my computer I’m new to this and was wondering! Thanks

  6. For those that have the please wait and can’t link there cartridges, you need to update your firmware in machine settings . This will allow the please wait to go away

  7. What is firmware? why was I not told this through CHAT on Thursday? I spent 36 min on hold and got disconnected. Now it is the weekend and no one to help me. None of my friends have this issue. totally frustrated that I spent $300 and have 48 cartridges to link.

  8. I’ve linked the 10+ cartridges that I have, but now I went back a few weeks later to create and I don’t find them? Any help??

  9. I have the cricut explore air – my drop down bar does not list “cartridge linking” in it! What do I do or how do I find this?

    • Just curious — are you signed into Cricut Design Space? If so, there is a green ACCOUNT drop down button in the upper left that should list LINK CARTRIDGES.

  10. If I link a cartridge to my account, can I share my account with my mom and she will be able to cut on her own machine? Or is it machine specific?

    • My impression is that an account can only be linked to a single machine, because Cricut doesn’t want people to be able to share subscriptions or purchased patterns. I was able to chat with customer support from the cricut design space website yesterday.

    • After reading about all the linking restrictions…i think i will just link the monogram cartridge I have as it cuts letters so skinny and I need to modify ir. I have an expression machine and may want to upgrade. So it looks as if I can never link my cartridges to a new machine if I link to my old expression. Wow. This is so proprietary! Cartridges arent cheap.

      • You are linking the cartridges to your account not the machine…the expression still uses the cartridges even if they are linked to your online account. The Explore Air, on the other hand, only uses the linked cartridges & Gypsy. Hope this helps…

  11. Updated firmware still cannot link the cartridge I have had this machine for almost a year it was my Christmas gift last year. Never get customer service on the phone the dam thing doesn’t work wish I could return it I can spend my money on something else. Not a happy camper!

  12. Has anyone had any luck with updating the firmware and being able to link cartridges to the Explore Air? Totally frustrated… The PC doesn’t recognize the machine when plugged in through the USB. All I keep getting is the “Please Wait” spinning circle.

  13. Help please, I have a new Cricut Expression Air 2 machine which I access via my IPad. How do I use my cartridges with this machine? Nowhere does it ask me to link my cartridges and when I log into my account it goes straight to the create page and doesn’t display any menu of any kind. Thank you in anticipation Tracey.

  14. I’m interested in upgrading to the Explore Air2. I have a Cricut Expression presently. I just want to confirm that I can still use my cartridges in the Expression machine as well as uplinking them for use with the Explore Air2? Is there a physical spot to insert them in the Explore Air2? Are the key pad overlays obsolete now with the Explore?

  15. I too cannot link a cartridge to my iPad….there is no drop down on my iPad in the left hand corner. Others are having the same problem….please post an answer to help us!!!!

    • To link the cartridges you can’t be on the app. Go to the cricut website and sign into the design space there and you will see the drop box.

  16. I purchased a cartridge that apparently is already linked to someone else’s account can I still use this but not link it to my account and if so how do I do that

  17. My explore air one says my cartridge is linked yet I can’t find it anywhere to use it. Help please!!!

  18. Does anyone else with an air 2 have a problem with the cartridge port. Mine seems to b loose not like old machines where they click in

  19. I have linked my cartridge to my machine- how can I use the font? I can find the images but I can’t figure out how to write with the font from the linked cartridge!! Please Help!!

  20. This is all too much. How does these machines get so many good ratings if they are so limited.

    Are all those people liars. If so they need to be whipped for being such big liars with their false advertisement.

    I have not received my unit and I am regretting my purchase all ready.

    Damn, damn, damn.

    Is it true you can only use one computer and not use multiple computers with your cartridges and design space?

    Do you need to buy an adapter to use design space with your explorer air 2?

    • The cartridge only links with one Design Space account, which you can access from any computer. No you do not need to buy an adapter. You’ll be right, don’t fret. It’s a great machine.

    • Any of the Explorer Airs are wireless so no adapter is needed to connect. They also all include a USB port to connect to a computer. Also, you can access design space from any computer because you just go to a webpage. You can also use an iPad or phone to access Design Space, as long as the app is installed. Your cartridges are linked to your Design Space login through so you can access them whichever way you choose to access Design Space. So basically, you should be fine!

      • I just bought a used cartridge from EBay….Will I be able to use this cartridge on my Explore Air 2?

  21. If i link my cricut cartridge, will the cartridge always be available cor me to use? Or do i always have to keep the cartridge and plug it in each tkme i want to use it???

  22. I have a cricut expressions and I’m looking into getting a Cricut Maker, however don’t know if I can download my cartridges to design space? And how do I do that. I don’t want to lose all the money I have tied up in cartridges

  23. I have a Cricut Expression and loads of cartridges. About half of them are linked to my Gypsy. However, my Gypsy has the blue screen of death and is non functional. And, I am two laptops away from when I used Craft Room and no longer have this on my current laptop. Does this mean I can’t link these cartridges? I certainly don’t want to lose the use of them. And, after linking, is it true that you must maintain Cricut Access or you lose everything purchased or linked? If this is true, that is extortion. And I will stick to the basics.

    • Hi Nina, if you bought the cartridges, you still own the designs. If your Gypsy died, I would contact Cricut support and they should be able to help you get everything linked. As for Cricut Access, if you purchased a Cricut Access subscription and used designs from there, those designs will no longer be available if you decide to no longer pay for Cricut Access. If however, you purchase designs individually or from a cartridge, you have them for life and you don’t need to pay for Cricut Access for those designs.

  24. I bought a lot of Cricut cartridges with the intent of selling them on eBay or Etsy. Are these the best places to sell them? I sold the new sealed cartridges & the cartridges marked “linked to Gypsy” as new and linked respectively. I still have 65 cartridges (with template and book) that are used, but not marked “linked to Gypsy”. Is there any way to determine their “linked” status? I don’t have a cutting machine, but it might be worth getting one if it would answer the question (without linking them to an account). I watched the cartridge linking video above. If a cartridge is already linked, will it give an error/warning before you click on link?

    I also have 2 Gypsy devices. 1 new, and 1 in an open box. Both Gypsies have the same problem: The blue light will come on, but nothing else. I have to reset them to turn them off. I have seen others with this “Blue light/black screen” problem, but no solution.

    Any help/suggestions appreciated.

  25. I have a question: Once I link my cartridges, can I get rid of the cartridges? I’m trying to cut down on space and clutter.

    • No, you sell them as LINKED for users with older machines.

      They cannot be used with newer Explore or Maker machines. I have just learned from these same comments that they need to be linked to your account to be used, so once linked, you use them from your account and not from the cartridge. So the port on newer machines is just to link them, not to use them.

      Old Cricut machines will read them OK. You might not get as much $$$ as if they were unlinked, but it is definitely better than throwing them away.

      Even better, try to find a local group of crafters. Maybe there is someone who can use cheap cartridges with their older machines.

      Best of luck and keep on crafting!

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