Is there a free embroidery file format converter?
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Embroidery files come in a BUNCH of different file formats. If you have browsed any of the sites that sell embroidery designs, you have likely seen them: XXX, SEW, PES, etc… Each of these file formats work with different types of embroidery machines. (Yes – it would have been nice if the machine embroidery industry could have come to a consensus on one universal file type, but, alas, it was not to be.) So, inevitably, there comes a time when you may need to convert a machine embroidery design from one format to another. And when this happens, you will likely want to know where to find a free embroidery file format converter.
Software to help convert embroidery file formats
What converting an embroidery file is NOT
Oftentimes newbies use the term “conversion” when asking about transforming a graphic to an embroidery file. But this is not a conversion. In order to “stitch out” any graphic on an embroidery machine, it must first be made into an embroidery file (or digitized) with digitizing software. Conversion means saving an existing embroidery file as a different file type.
Why would I need to convert my embroidery files into another format?
There are a few reasons why you might need to convert your embroidery designs from one format to another.
- Perhaps you bought a bunch of designs from someone who only had them in the format specific to their machine. If you want use them on your machine, you would need to convert them to an appropriate embroidery file format.
- Or, maybe you upgraded your embroidery machine and all your embroidery files are in the old file format. If you want to use them on the new machine, you would need to convert them.
- Or, you are a digitizer whose software only allows you to save embroidery files in a few formats. To be able to sell your designs to the biggest audience, you would need to convert them into other embroidery file formats.
You see, there are many situations that require you to convert embroidery files from one file format to another.
How to avoid having to convert embroidery files into another format.
Converting embroidery files is a task you can avoid altogether. You just need to be strategic about how you download, maintain and organize your embroidery files. When you purchase a design from most companies, they provide you with a ZIP file. Then, once you uncompress the ZIP file, you will normally see folders pertaining to each file type.
It may be tempting to discard all the files that do not work with your machine, but you are better off keeping all file formats. The file sizes are quite small so you will not need much storage space to hold on to them all.
At the very least, keep track of where you purchased the embroidery design. Some people actually organize their designs based on the company from which they purchased them. The benefit in keeping track of who you bought your designs from is multi-fold. Once you purchased a design and created an account on their website, most companies allow you to go back and download files again.
Another reason why you should keep track of where you bought your embroidery files is if you run into a problem with a new file format. For example, maybe you had no problem stitching out the PES version of the design, but perhaps the JEF version is wonky and you need assistance from the company.
How to find a free embroidery file format converter
Most full-fledged versions of common digitizing programs allow you to save an embroidery design in a variety of file formats. For example, Embrilliance allows you to save an embroidery design in 16 different formats. And, it will open up even more of a variety of formats. So if you have digitizing software, you may not need a conversion program. You would simply open the file and Save As a different version.
If you are a MAC user, you may be disappointed to see that most of the embroidery digitizing programs only run on a PC. The only work around is to install a PC emulator program on your MAC and run the programs in a PC environment. One of the best things about the Embrilliance line of products is that they all run natively on a MAC.
Free embroidery file format converter options
Wilcom Truesizer is probably your best option for converting embroidery files from one format to another. To gain access, you first must register on their website. Then, you can opt to download the desktop version of the software or use the web-based alternative. Since the desktop version only runs on a PC, and I work on a MAC, I used the web-based version of Wilcom Truesizer.
Three words about the web-based Wilcom Truesizer: A. MAY. ZING. It opened my files no problem and offered me a number of different formats into which I could convert my file!
Another alternative is to use the web-based tool provided by EmbroideryDesigns.com I went onto their site, created an account and converted one of my embroidery designs from a PES to a DST file. The conversion seemed to work great. But (here’s the catch) the site only allows you to convert 5 files per month for free. It would be nice if they made that clear before you signed up, right?
Bernina offers a free program for converting embroidery files from one file format to another. Their program, Bernina Artlink will open files other than native Bernina files (.ART). But, one limitation is that the program only runs on a PC.
What about converting a bunch of embroidery files at once? Is this possible?
Yes. It is possible to convert a whole set of files from one embroidery file format type to another. It’s called “batch conversion.” Batch conversion is useful when you have a group of files that all need to be converted to a specific format.
When I started digitizing, I quickly realized that I needed to be able to batch convert. It just took too long to save each design individually. Plus, my digitizing software would not allow me to save my file into all the formats I wanted to offer my customers. So, I set out looking for an inexpensive bath conversion program.
I quickly discovered Data 7’s Embroidery Conversion Tool. For $12.75 this program allows me to batch convert my embroidery files into a ton of different formats. I’ve definitely gotten my money’s worth from this software!
So, as you can see there are a lot of programs that can convert embroidery files from one file format to another. In fact, you may be able to convert the files with software you already own! These days, many of the major digitizing programs have a batch conversion feature. Even the inexpensive ($65) Sew What Pro allows you to batch convert your files. So, before you go crazy trying to find a free embroidery file format conversion tool, check the software you own and see if you already have the ability to do it.
Happy stitching (and converting) everyone!