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Embroidery software is used by “embroidery digitizers” to create a design. The digitizer creates the design in the “native file format” for the digitizing software. The native file format retains information such as object outlines, thread colors and original artwork used to punch the designs. If you purchase or download free designs and it is not in the format used for your particular embroidery machine, you will need to get a conversion program to convert from one stitch file format to another, such as from PES to HUS or from DST to PCS. Different conversion software programs are available, such as Wilcom TrueSizer, Designer's Gallery, SmartSizer Gold and many more. Demo versions may also be available from the manufacturer's websites.

It is critical to maintain and keep the original digitized design file. Converting the design to a stitch file such as DST, PES and DSB may result in loss of some of the valuable information and make editing and changing the design very difficult or impossible later on. Software vendors often advertise "auto-punching" or "auto-digitizing" capabilities. However, if high quality embroidery is essential, then it is highly recommend to either purchase designs from reputable digitizers or obtain training on solid digitization techniques. Once a design has been digitized, it can be edited or combined with other designs by using embroidery software. Most embroidery software can be used to rotate, scale, move, stretch, split, crop, or duplicate the design pattern. Embroidery software also allows the user to add text and change the colors of the design. More sophisticated embroidery software packages will allow the user to edit, add or remove individual stitches.

After editing, the design file is loaded into the embroidery machine. Different machines have different file formats. The most common home design format is PES. Other common design file formats for home and hobby include: ART, PES, VIP, JEF, SEW, and HUS. The commercial format DST is also very popular. Embroidery patterns are transferred to the computerized embroidery machines in a variety of ways - through cables, CDs, floppy disks, USB interfaces, or special cards that resemble flash and compact cards. Home embroidery digitizing and editing software usually runs anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a couple thousand dollars, while professional software can cost $5,000 to $15,000, depending on the desired features. Some of the top quality embroidery editing and digitizing programs include: MasterWorks, BuzzEdit v2, Stitch ERA Essentials, Embroidery Magic 2, Fancyworks Studio, Embird, PE Design/Palette, Origins, and Generations. Manufacturers of professional quality digitizing software include Barudan, Compucon, Pantograms, Pulse, Wilcom, Sierra and Wings.


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