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Computer Basics for the Machine Embroiderer – Part 2

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If you do not have conversion software, you can try using our Online Conversion Tool found at the left of our Welcome page under Products, and hover over Embroidery Tools to open the panel of listed tools. You will also find this tool on each download page in your Order History by clicking on the “Change Format” link that sits to the right of each design image. If you have trouble using the tool on the download page, you’re invited to contact Customer Service at and we will convert any machine file that we find in your Order History and email the best version for your machine or software to you.

Note, conversion is not the same as digitizing! Although many embroidery programs also open graphics file types, such as JPG or EPS, a graphics file cannot be converted to a machine file. The graphics file is used in a high level embroidery software program to help create a machine file through the digitizing process.

Recognizing Files

You don’t need a software program on your computer in order to run the design on your machine, but you must have an embroidery design software program installed on your computer if you want to open and view an embroidery design file. Without an associated embroidery program installed on your computer, the file icon will likely be displayed as an image of a sheet of paper. As well, the OS might automatically detect that the machine file is a “binary” file type and associate it as one that can be opened with Adobe Reader, which is a common program installed on most computers.

An embroidery file opened on Adobe Reader will reveal only the written binary code in text and symbols that appear as gibberish. If you do not have an embroidery design software program installed, simply copy the file to the device that runs the machine, such as a USB drive, and the software inside of your machine will read the file, as long as it’s the correct format and version for that machine.
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If you desire to actually see the design when viewing filenames on the computer, you can install an iconizer like Embrilliance Thumbnailer (available for both Mac and Windows) that changes the icon of the filename into a mini image of the actual design. As well, you can rename the file to something that helps you recognize the design, but again, when renaming do not change the format extension of the last three digits after the dot or the file will become unreadable.


There are many different types of software programs that can be installed on both Mac and PC operating systems. When shopping for a program, read the specifications and first consider whether the program can be installed on your OS, and if so, consider the tools that are offered in the program and choose the one that suits your personal needs. There are programs that allow the most basic operations of viewing and/or converting formats, and some that help organize and catalog your designs. More sophisticated programs allow editing designs and adding lettering to your designs, and there are programs with higher levels that offer digitizing tools to create your own designs. Determine which program is right for your needs by reviewing the functions of each program and choose the one that offers the tools you know you will use.

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