Your Cart is Empty

    What Are The Embroidery File Formats?

    Embroidery has come a long way, thanks to technological advancements. One crucial aspect that often puzzles both beginners and professionals alike is the variety of embroidery file formats. Understanding these formats is not just a technical requirement but also a key to unleashing your creative potential. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into what these formats are, why they matter, their compatibility with different machines, and how to work with them effectively.

    What Are The Embroidery File Formats?

    Understanding Embroidery File Formats 

    What Are Embroidery File Formats? 

    Embroidery file formats are essentially the language that embroidery machines understand. These formats contain the design information, which the machine reads and then stitches out the design accordingly. Think of these formats as the blueprint of your embroidery project, guiding the machine to create the design you've envisioned.

    Why Are There Different File Formats? 

    Different brands of embroidery machines prefer different file formats. For instance, Brother machines commonly use the .pes format, while Tajima machines use .dst. It's not just a brand preference but also a technical requirement, as different formats carry different sets of information tailored for specific machine capabilities.

    PES file

    Types of Embroidery File Formats

    Embroidery file formats can be broadly categorized into stitch-based and object-based types. Each has its own set of advantages and limitations. Let's delve into the details of each.

    Object-Based File Formats 


    When an embroidery design is in the process of being constructed, Digitizer 10000 keeps track of each piece of the embroidery. These pieces are called objects. Each object is a description of the piece of embroidery, containing properties such as size, shape, color, sequence within the design, stitch type, and values, as well as rules for stitching. This object-based approach offers a high level of flexibility, allowing you to make changes even after the design process has started.

    If you make a change to an object, like its color or shape, the properties description changes. It's easier to modify an embroidery design that is a series of objects than one that is stitch-based. The .jan file contains the embroidery's object properties. Each object has a "slot," so if there are 15 objects in a design, there will be 15 "slots" in the .jan file. This format is used while the embroidery is in its interim state. Save incomplete embroideries as a .jan file for easy modification later. This makes it a go-to format for designers who like to tweak their designs frequently.

    Stitch-Based File Formats

    Stitch-based file formats are more rigid but are widely used due to their compatibility with a range of machines. Here are some of the most common stitch-based formats:

    1. .JEF - This is the stitch-based file read by the MemoryCraft 10000 machines. It's a straightforward format that carries all the stitch information for the design, making it easy for the machine to interpret.
    2. .SEW - Used by MemoryCraft 5700, 8000, and 9000 machines, this stitch-based format is another popular choice. It's reliable and widely supported, making it a safe bet for most embroidery projects.
    3. .PES- A stitch-based file format commonly used by Brother and Babylock embroidery home sewing machines. It's one of the most popular formats and is known for its reliability and ease of use.
    4. .PEC - Another stitch-based file format used by Brother and Babylock embroidery home sewing machines. While similar to .pes, it has some variations that make it unique.
    5. .HUS - This stitch-based file format is used by Husqvarna/Viking embroidery home sewing machines. It's a robust format that can handle complex designs with ease.
    6. .PCS - Pfaff embroidery home sewing machines prefer this stitch-based file format. It's known for its efficiency and is widely used in professional settings.
    7. .CSD - Used by Poem, Huskygram, and Singer EU embroidery home sewing machines, this is another stitch-based format. It's less common but still reliable for specific machine types.
    8. .XXX  - This stitch-based file format is used by Singer embroidery home sewing machines. It's a versatile format that's gaining popularity for its flexibility.
    9. .DST - Tajima commercial embroidery sewing machines commonly use this stitch-based file format. It's a professional-grade format known for its reliability and efficiency.
    10. .EXP - Melco commercial embroidery sewing machines use this stitch-based file format. It's a high-performance format designed for commercial applications.

    Compatibility and Conversion

    Machine Compatibility

    Not all embroidery machines can read all file formats. It's essential to know which formats are compatible with your machine to avoid any hiccups in your projects. Always refer to your machine's manual or consult with the manufacturer to ensure you're using the correct format.

    File Conversion

    Some software programs, like Digitizer 10000, can convert stitch-based files into object-based files, allowing for easy editing and modification. This is particularly useful when you're working on complex designs that require frequent changes.

    Tips for Working with File Formats 

    Organizing Your Files 

    Keep your embroidery files organized in folders based on the project or file format. This makes it easier to locate files when needed. A well-organized file system can save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.

    Future Trends in Embroidery File Formats 

    As technology advances, we can expect new file formats that offer more creative possibilities. Keeping an eye on these trends can give you a competitive edge. Subscribe to industry newsletters or join online forums to stay updated.


    Understanding embroidery file formats is crucial for anyone involved in machine embroidery. By knowing the types of file formats and their compatibility with different machines, you can save time and avoid potential issues. It's not just about the machine but also about maximizing your creative potential.