What embroidery file types are the most common and how do you convert them?

By on April 21st, 2013
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In preparation to launch my ETSY store of machine embroidery designs, I have been wondering what file formats I should offer. In looking at other stores, I see that there is a little bit of variation among sellers with respect to what file formats they offer. The most common six file formats that
I have seen offered are: ART, PES, DST, HUS, VIP and JEF.

But before I forge ahead and simply offer these six file types, just because everyone else is, I decided it would be informative to find out what file types my Facebook friends are using, so I put the question out there to my machine embroidery Facebook groups. Here’s what I found out.

The vast majority of respondents are using PES files.  A few mentioned HUS, VIP, VP3, DST and ART – but nothing else.  This was a great question to ask as I learned A LOT about machine embroidery file formats – more than I expected.  One of the group members explained what the VP3 format is.

VP3 is the format that current Viking & Pfaff machines use. Specifically, it is the format created by 5D Embroidery software. VIP is the older version created by 4D software. The top of line Vikings – Diamonds & Rubys can use any Viking format – HUS, VIP or VP3. The Topaz machines can only read VP3. They do, however, come with software to transfer designs from one format to another.

It seemed like based on their feedback the six file formats that everyone is offering, make sense.  My expert digitizer buddy, Sue suggested:

It is best to offer in as many formats as you can to appeal to the majority of customers – if you don’t want to convert them all before putting up for sale, then I would suggest .pes .hus .jef and .dst and .art if you can convert to this format – you could also put a note to say you can convert to other formats if requested, that way you will be covering them all

My only issue is that my software can only export in a few of these formats, which made me wonder, is there some type of conversion software that can be used to convert my files to other formats? It turns out there are.  Some of the companies who sell designs also offer conversion services on their web sites, e.g. http://www.embroiderydesigns.com/convertdesignfileshome.aspx but use is a bit limited. I also stumbled upon other conversion tools online.

Then I found an inexpensive standalone software that will do conversions to all of the formats I want to offer: Data 7 Consultancy’s package. Hooray!  As a test I converted a PES file to EXP format which is the format my machine reads when stitching it out and it worked beautifully.

One less obstacle between me and opening the ETSY store…

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