Embroidery design won’t load on an embroidery machine

By on January 31st, 2021
This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
why wont my embroidery design load on my embroidery machine
free machine embroidery designs

So you have purchased an embroidery design that you want to stitch out. Your project is on your hoop and ready to go.   But then, when you go to select the design on to your machine, it won’t show up! It can be super frustrating when an embroidery design won’t load on an embroidery machine. But there are several common reasons why this happens, and most of the time, it’s an easy fix.

Products mentioned in this post

How to transfer an embroidery design from your computer to your embroidery machine

There are a couple of ways you can load up your embroidery designs onto your embroidery machine.  Some programs allow you to import designs and then send them to the machine via a cable.  My opinion is that this method is a bit cumbersome because you must have your computer close to your embroidery machine and open the embroidery design in the specific software in order to make the transfer.

More commonly, embroidery machine users transfer files to their machine via a USB stick (otherwise known as a flash drive). You just save the embroidery design on the flash drive and then plug the flash drive into the machine.

Learn more about how to transfer an embroidery design onto an embroidery machine.

Reasons why your embroidery files might not load on your embroidery machine

Once you have the files on the flash drive and the flash drive is plugged into the embroidery machine, you should be able to access the embroidery design via the interface on the embroidery machine and load it up. However, sometimes it doesn’t work. So, what’s going wrong and how do you fix it?

Did you unzip the files?

unzip the file to access the embroidery files

Make sure that you actually unzipped the files and loaded those onto the flash drive instead of the zip file.

Most embroidery design files are packaged up in a ZIP file. A ZIP file is like a package that needs to be opened so that you can access all of the contents inside.  Your embroidery machine will not understand the package, it wants to work with the goods inside.

Therefore, you must open that package, or uncompress the ZIP file.  Most computer operating systems have built-in unzipping utilities. You simply double-click on the ZIP file and the computer asks if you want to unzip the files and if so, where you want to save the contents.

Are you loading the right format?

So you have uncompressed the files and loaded the designs on your flash drive but your embroidery machine still won’t load in the embroidery design.  Are you sure that you loaded the right file type onto the flash drive? For example, if you own a PE800, you would want to put PES files on the flash drive because this is the file type your embroidery machine reads.  Learn more about machine embroidery file formats. 

If you have the wrong file type for your embroidery machine, there are free tools that allow you to covert your embroidery file to another format.

Did you put the embroidery files into the appropriate file folder?

Some embroidery machines will only read embroidery files off of a flash drive if they are placed in the appropriate file formats. For example, my friend, Ellie’s Janome MB-7 multi-needle embroidery machine will only read embroidery files if they are in the right format (.JEF) and in the right directory on the (EMB) on the flash drive.  Initially, she was confused why her Janome MB-7 was not reading the files, but eventually she figured it out.

Is the flash drive too large for your machine?

flash drive for embroidery file transfer

As technology has advanced, the capacity of a flash drive has increased DRAMATICALLY. The first flash drive I owned had a capacity of about 100 MB – and that was big. Now, a 1 GB flash drive is about the smallest you can find.

In general, greater capacity is a good thing, except for when you are dealing with embroidery machines. Many embroidery machines can’t handle the larger capacity flash drives. I’ve personally noticed that when I use larger flash drives with my embroidery machine, it can take a while to load in.  But, it still works. 2GB capacity flash drives and smaller generally work best with most embroidery machines.

Are you using the wrong cord?

If you are using a cord to transfer an embroidery design from the computer to the embroidery machine, make sure you are actually using the correct cord. Although some of the cords look a lot like a standard printer cable, it usually has to be the actual machine manufacturer’s cord.

Is the design too big for the machine?

It goes without saying that if you have an embroidery machine with a 4″ x 4″ hoop, you are not going to be able to stitch out a 5″ x 7″ design. However, you may encounter a design that is touted to fit in your 4″ x 4″ but does not quite fit. This is because a 4″ x 4″ design won’t fit into a 4″ x 4″ hoop.  The maximum size is actually about 3.92″ x 3.92″.  Most digitizers realize this and size designs advertised for 4″ x 4″ hoop to be slightly smaller than 4″ x 4″.

Is your USB port dirty?

If you have fuzz or small threads stuck in your USB flash drive reader, it may not be able to read the files on the drive.  If you suspect this may be the case, simply clean out the port with a small brush.

Is your USB port broken?

Don’t panic – a new USB port is not an expensive fix. One of my friends had to get her USB reader replaced on her embroidery machine and the part was only $20.

Is the file corrupted?

Sometimes the file is just bad. This might occur when a digitizer is saving out a file and the process gets interrupted. If you suspect the file is no good, contact the digitizer from whom you bought the design.

I hope this helps you solve your problem. Most of the time when an embroidery design won’t load on an embroidery machine, its usually an easy fix.

Good luck! And happy stitching!



Want to remember this? Save “Why won’t this embroidery design load on my embroidery machine” on your favorite Pinterest board.

why wont my embroidery design load on my embroidery machine

2 thoughts on “Embroidery design won’t load on an embroidery machine

  1. Hi,I have a usb with designs already on,(I purchased it with designs on)when I get it do I just plug it into my machine and the patterns are there or,do I have to go to computer and do something?? Thanks

    1. It may work if the files you purchased are in the correct format that your machine reads. Give it a try. If the files don’t show up on your computer, then I would plug the flash drive on the machine an figure out what format they are in. It is easy to convert your files into another format. Details here: https://www.machineembroiderygeek.com/is-there-a-free-embroidery-file-format-converter/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *