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Embroidery Digitizing Machine File Formats

Embroidery Digitizing Design

Embroidery businesses certainly offer great potential to entrepreneurs who are ready to tackle the intricacies involved in the process. There’s a massive market for embroidery agencies to deliver intricate and enchanting embroidery designs. However, before you decide to jump on the bandwagon, it’s helpful to understand the various complexities involved in the process.

When you are looking to start an embroidery lineup, you need to get everything in order. From getting hands around the right embroidery machine to having a reliable and consistent flow of digitized designs to understanding the various embroidery file formats and everything in the middle.

Well, in this blog, we will specifically be looking at the various embroidery file formats that you may use on your embroidery machine. It’s important to know the basics of file formats and why there are different file formats, to begin with.

So, without wasting time, let’s just dive in…

What are embroidery file formats?

Well, how about we say why we have different image formats (.jpeg, .png, etc.). Similarly, you must have been using various formats for your computer-based documentation including .xlxs, .docx, .pdf, etc. Each of these file formats stores digital content in specific formats. Also, each of these formats come with unique strengths and limitations. Not to forget, each of these formats is a proprietary file format for a specific company or certain software.

Now, the rules are pretty much the same in embroidery digitizing file formats. Since multiple brands offer embroidery machines, they tend to keep their unique file format. We will come more on this later, but let’s briefly see what an embroidery digitizing design is?

Embroidery digitizing design is basically the file format in which a digitized design is saved to be used by embroidery machines. For starters, when you want a design embroidered on fabric or onto any surface, you would first need a digitized version of the design, which the machine can read. Now, embroidery digitizing file formats are special embroidery machine formats that are able to save digitized design along with a set of information, like stitch type, thread color, stitch pattern, language, and others. The embroidery machine requires all of this information to embroider a high-quality and precise design.

Ok, but why so many embroidery digitizing file formats?

As mentioned above, there are multiple brands manufacturing embroidery machines. Each of these manufacturers wants to have proprietary rights for its embroidery digitizing file formats (mainly for business purposes). For instance, by having proprietary file formats, they are able to create strong brand loyalty while also making it harder for customers to switch to competitors. It’s almost similar to why Apple doesn’t offer a USB-C cable or iPhone apps can’t be run on Android and vice versa.

What’s the process of creating embroidery digitizing file formats?

If you are going with a professional embroidery digitizing agency, you honestly won’t have to bother about the file format; since the agency would deliver the digitized file in your desired embroidery file format. Basically, once the digitizers are done converting designs into a digitized format using industry-standard digitizing software, they can export the file into various embroidery digitizing file formats. Most of the time, professional agencies use standard digitizing software that are able to export files to all major embroidery digitizing file format. However, it is highly recommended to communicate your desired file format at the beginning of the project to avoid any confusion at the later stages.

What’s with the multiple versions of a single embroidery digitizing file format?

Well, that’s again comparable to the regular updates that we receive for all the apps and software that we use on PC computers or Mac systems. The updated versions of the embroidery digitizing files are meant to work with the newer embroidery machines. Also, the updated versions offer better instruction storage that results in higher quality embroidery designs for business.

–         Native file formats

These are the default file formats of the digitizing software. No matter what digitizing software you use, it will have its own default file format in which it will save the digitized file. The benefit of the native file is that it can easily be edited, changed, or resized; as and when required. However, on the downside of the native file formats, these aren’t useable on any embroidery machines. These formats are specifically for the digitizing software and not for embroidery machines. This means that before you can use the digitized files, you would have to export them into one or the other embroidery machine-readable file formats. The majority of the standard digitizing software are able to export the digitized files into all major embroidery digitizing file formats.

–         Expanded file formats

Apart from the native file formats, you can also export the digitized files into .DST or .EXP formats. These are two of the most widely used embroidery digitized files, which have been industry standards for a long time. The .DST embroidery digitizing file format is a proprietary format for Tajima, whereas, .EXP is the proprietary format for the Melco brand.

While these two are widely used file formats, each comes with severe limitations. For once, these formats can’t store the thread colors, which are set to the default colors of the machine. This means that your blue logo may end up pink if that’s the default color you have set for your software. Also, these formats have severe limitations concerning reference to data size.

Commonly used Embroidery Digitizing Machine File Formats

Well, there are dozens of embroidery digitizing file formats used in the industry. Below we have listed some of the top file formats which are used extensively in the embroidery industry;

  1. .DST (Tajima)
  2. .10O (Toyota)
  3. .CND (Melco)
  4. .EMB (Wilcom V9)
  5. .EMB (Wilcom)
  6. .PEC (Brother)
  7. .ESS (Wilcom ESS)
  8. .T15 (Wilcom Saurer)
  9. .SAS (Saurer SLC)
  10. .T10 (Wilcom Plauen)
  11. . .T01 (Tajima)
  12. ESL (Wilcom ESL)
  13. .DAT (Hiraoka DAT)
  14. .PES (Brother)
  15. .VEP (Hiraoka VEP)
  16. .EXP (Melco)
  17. .TAP (Happy)


Ok, that’s about it. We hope you will know a great deal about different embroidery digitizing file formats and why you need to understand them.

If you are looking for an expert and affordable embroidery digitizing partner that can deliver you the highest-quality and precise digitizing solutions, consider Win Digitizing as your perfect partner. We are one of the leading USA based embroidery digitizing agencies offering consistent and reliable digitizing solutions for as low as $8. For any queries or concerns regarding embroidery digitizing file formats, feel free to get in touch with our customer service representatives, and we will be happy to assist.