What File Types Are Best for Embroidery

What File Types Are Best For Embroidery?

What File Types Are Best for Embroidery: Unlock Embroidery Secrets

Are you looking to unlock the secrets of embroidery? Do you need to know what file types are best for embroidery? If so, then this post is for you! 

This article will discuss the different types of files used in machine embroidery and how to choose the right one. We’ll also provide some tips on how to get started with digital embroidery. 

So, keep reading on to learn more about unlocking your creativity through machine embroidery!

What File Types Are Best for Embroidery

What is Embroidery?

Embroidery is a type of fabric art that uses a needle and thread to stitch patterns onto the cloth. It can be used for decorative or practical purposes, such as clothing, quilts, blankets, and even wall hangings.

The finished product can range from simple to complex designs and often features intricate details. In machine embroidery, a computer-controlled machine is used to create the designs.

What are Embroidery File Types?

Many different types of files can be used with embroidery machines, depending on the particular model and capabilities of the machine in question.

  • Expanded file formats are used for multi-colored embroidery designs and often include multiple files for design details.
  • Machine file formats are specific to the machine used and can change depending on the make and model.
  • Native file formats are native to embroidery software packages and use a single file format.

Benefits of Using the Right File Format for Machine Embroidery

Using the right file format for machine embroidery can provide several benefits:

  • It ensures the highest quality output; the correct files will be used to create your desired design. This means less time and money spent on post-production corrections.
  • It reduces the possibility of errors due to the file not being compatible with the machine.
  • It can save time, as particular embroidery files are designed to run faster on certain machines.
  • It ensures compatibility between different file formats and embroidery machines, making swapping out designs easier.
  • It makes it easier to manipulate existing designs, as they can be converted into other formats for further editing or manipulation.
  • It allows for a wide range of design capabilities, as many embroidery files can be used with different types of machines.

What File Types Are Best for Embroidery?

When it comes to what file types are best for embroidery, it depends on the machine you’re using and the type of embroidery design you’re creating. Here is the breakdown:

Best File Types for Digital Embroidery

The best file types for digitizing logos and other designs are vector graphics files. Vector graphics are ideal because they can be resized without compromising the quality of the image. These files also support various colors, making them perfect for embroidery designs.

The best digital embroidery files for machine embroidery are:

  • Adobe Illustrator (.AI): This vector graphic file type is designed for creating logos, graphics, and other artwork. It ensures a high degree of accuracy in design production.
  • Graphics Vector Scalable (.SVG): This versatile file type allows for the creation of complex designs quickly and easily.
  • Encapsulated PostScript (.EPS): This vector-based image file format is best used for large images, as it ensures high accuracy.
  • Vector Graphic (.VGM): This file type is specifically designed for embroidery and allows for detailed editing of designs.
  • Bitmap Image (.BMP): This image file format is best used for flat or simple designs but can be converted to other file types if necessary.
  • Adobe Photoshop (.PSD): This file type is excellent for creating detailed and complex images, as it supports layers and offers high control over your design.
  • Portable Network Graphics (.PNG): This file type is great for logos and other simple graphics, as it offers great flexibility.
  • Joint Photographic Experts Group (.JPEG): This image format is often used for printed materials and can be converted to other formats if necessary.
  • Tag Image File Format (.TIFF): This high-resolution file type is perfect for detailed and complex designs, as it supports layers and offers high control over color and design elements.
  • Portable Document Format (.PDF): This vector-based file type is excellent for creating logos, graphics, or other artwork with intricate details.

Vector graphics files are recommended for the best quality and design accuracy. When you understand file types and formats, you can make informed decisions about the best file format for your projects – helping you unlock embroidery secrets.

Best File Types for Embroidery Design Software

Regarding embroidery design software, native file types are usually best as they can be read directly by the software without any conversions necessary.

Common native file types include:

  • Tajima (.DST): This file type is often the most popular for embroidery design software and supports a wide range of colors and features.
  • Melco Expanded (.EXP): This file type is a proprietary format but offers a high level of detail for complex designs.
  • Husqvarna Viking (.HUS): This file type is designed specifically for embroidery design software and offers high accuracy.
  • Brother (.PES, .PHC): This file type is widely used in embroidery design software and supports various colors.
  • Singer (.XXX): This file type is designed for singer embroidery machines and offers more detail than other native file types.
  • Janome (.JEF, .JPX): This file type is designed specifically for Janome machines and is a popular native file format.
  • Pfaff (.PCS): This file type is designed for Pfaff machines and supports various colors.
  • Barudan (.FDR): This file type is designed for Barudan embroidery machines and offers high accuracy.
  • Happy (.HC1 + .HCT): This file type is designed for Happy embroidery machines and offers more detail than other native file types.
  • Wilcom (.EMB): This file format is specifically intended for use with Wilcom embroidery machines and provides intricate design details.

So when it comes to embroidery design software, it’s important to use native file types for the best results. Understanding these file types can help you create the highest-quality designs.

Best File Types for Embroidery Machines 

What file types are best for embroidery on embroidery machines? For optimal results, it is recommended to use a stitch file, also called a machine file, when uploading a new embroidery design to your machine. Embroidery machines require specific file formats that vary based on the brand. However, unlike native files, embroidery files do not include object information.

Common machine file types include:

  • Babylock, Brother, Deco (.PES, .PEC): The embroidery file format works with Babylock, Brother, and Deco machines and has a broad color spectrum.
  • Bernina (.ART): The mentioned file format is intended for use with Bernina embroidery machines and provides intricate designs.
  • Janome/Elna/Kenmore (.JEF, .SEW): The embroidery machine file type is intended for Janome, Elna, and Kenmore brands and can accommodate different color options.
  • Compucon/Singer (.XXX): This file type is designed for Compucon and Singer embroidery machines and offers more detail than other machine files.
  • Husqvarna Viking (.HUS, .SHV, .VIP, .VP3): This file type is designed for Husqvarna Viking embroidery machines and allows for detailed editing of designs.
  • Pfaff (.PCS, .PCQ, .PCD, .T09): The file type suits Pfaff embroidery machines and includes diverse colors.
  • Melco (.EXP): This file type is designed for Melco machines and allows for detailed editing of designs.
  • Tajima (.DST): The file type is for Tajima machines and can accommodate several colors.
  • Poem/Huskygram/Singer (.CSD): This file type is designed for Poem, Huskygram, and Singer embroidery machines and offers a high level of detail.

Selecting the correct file type is important when loading a design to your machine. Understanding these formats will ensure you get the best results when embroidering.

Best Embroidery Font File Formats

To get the best results with your embroidery software, it is recommended that you use embroidery font file types such as BX, ESA, and similar font files. These file types are specifically designed for this purpose. They can be used just like a regular keyboard font, making them easy to use with embroidery software.

The fonts for the alphabet in machine file formats like PES, HUS, SEW, etc., consist of separate stitch files. Each letter must be added individually and cannot be used with a keyboard unless mapped.

Below are some other font types:

  • Embroidery Font (.EMB, .PEC)
  • Wilcom Font (.WFT)
  • Pfaff Fonts (.PCF, .PCS, .PXF)
  • TrueSizer Web Format (.TSW)
  • Singer/Huskygram (.CSD)
  • Tajima Fonts (.T09, .T05)
  • Janome Fonts (.JAN, .OFM)
  • Margin Soft/Hafen (.MSN)

It’s all about answering the question, “What file types are best for embroidery”. As you can see from the answer, different kinds of embroidery will require different file types. So, read carefully and apply the proper file types for your embroidery project.


Can you explain why there are numerous machine file formats?

Many embroidery machine manufacturers have their own proprietary file format, requiring users to download a specific software version. Therefore, it’s important to understand the file type compatible with your machine before selecting a design.

Why are there so many versions of machine file formats?

As technology advances, manufacturers continue to update their file formats. This ensures that users can get the most out of their machines and that designs are of the highest quality.

Is it possible to make changes to the completed embroidery files?

Yes, most embroidery machines can support simple edits such as color changes and design resizing. However, if you need to make major changes to the design, you may need to use additional software.

Can embroidery file formats be transformed from one type to another?

Yes, most embroidery software packages can convert the file type from one type to another. However, it is important to remember that some file types may not work with certain embroidery machines. Therefore, it’s best to speak with an expert before


Now you have the answer to “What file types are best for embroidery?“, you can ensure your embroidery projects will be of the highest quality. Native file types are best suited for embroidery design software. 

In contrast, machine files should be used for embroidering on actual machines. For fonts, specialized file formats such as BX and ESA should be used to ensure the best results. 

Understanding these details can help you create stunning designs that will wow your customers. Consider these file types when selecting a design for your projects! Happy stitching!






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  1. Thanks for the great post, Cinda! It’s given me a better understanding of which file types are best to use for my embroidery projects. I’m curious though – do you have any tips on how to make sure the digitized designs and images look their best after they’ve been stitched?
    I’d really appreciate any advice you can provide!

  2. Dear Cinda,
    Thank you for the informative and thorough post about the best file types for embroidery. It was extremely helpful and gave me a better insight into which types of files will be most suitable for my projects. Your advice is greatly appreciated!
    Lenora Peterson

  3. Thanks for the post, Cinda! I’ve always wanted to embroider something special for my best friend and this post has given me all the info I need. Can’t wait to get started and show her how amazingly talented I am with a needle and thread 😉
    Happy stitching!

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