How to Digitize Embroidery Designs

Written by sherry snider | 13/05/2017
How to Digitize Embroidery Designs
(Photos and screenshots by Sherry Snider)

You've purchased your embroidery machine, stitched several projects, become comfortable with the process and now you're ready to digitise your own embroidery designs. The cost of digitising applications ranges between £65 and £5,200, and the more you pay, the more capabilities the software provides. As a mid-range example, PE-Design Lite is the digitising application used in this article for photo illustrations and steps to digitise embroidery designs. If you choose another digitising application, the steps will be very similar.

How to Digitize Embroidery Designs

Open your digitising software to load or create your design. You can load/open an existing digitised embroidery file or start your own from scratch. To load an existing image file, drag-and-drop the file into the hoop area on the screen or go to the File menu and select Open to browse to the file you want.

How to Digitize Embroidery Designs

With the file opened, you can add text, adjust alignment, sizes, colours, stitch type (satin or fill stitch) and customise to your liking.

How to Digitize Embroidery Designs

If you are using an existing file and tweaking it doesn't produce the results you want, you may need to open and digitise an image file (bmp) to create a digitised embroidery file. Drag-and-drop or browse to select the image file (bmp) you would like to digitise for embroidery. Size and place the image. With the image selected, click the Auto Punch digitising wizard button (or similar tool in other applications).

How to Digitize Embroidery Designs

Once the Auto Punch wizard has established some basic characteristics of size, colours, number of colours, fill stitches or blank areas, and weighting issues, you may tweak and preview adjustments until you see the digitisation results you like. Click Finish when you are satisfied with the results.

How to Digitize Embroidery Designs

With the image digitised, you can add text, embellish, change colours, stitches, stitch order and preview the results in 3D. When your digitised embroidery file is complete, save the file.

How to Digitize Embroidery Designs

Write your digitised embroidery file to your embroidery machine's card and you've digitised your embroidery design, ready to stitch.


With your embroidery machine and the card reader/writer, some software is usually included. This may be enough if you're content with the software capabilities. If you want more capabilities and more control, you'll want a full-blown, dedicated digitising software application. There are many available specifically designed for your embroidery machine and others that function universally for multiple embroidery machines.

Things you need

  • Computer
  • Card reader/writer
  • Embroidery Machine
  • Digitising software

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