Important Things to Know About Embroidery Machine File Formats

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Embroidery machine file formats come in many different options and they are similar yet different. What this means is that each brand has its own format and that machine can read only it.

Embroidery Machine File Formats

If you want to install or add that file to the other embroidery machine, it won’t recognize the file. These file extensions are known as proprietary types.

Embroidery Machine File Formats

In order to explain things easier, we can tell you that Mac computers and PC can run the same software. But, some software will run only on Mac while others will run only on PC.

The situation is the same with file extensions for embroidery machines. For instance, Janome embroidery machines will recognize only the JEF file extension.

Why there are so many different file formats?

There are so many embroidery machine file formats due to an obvious reason. All manufacturers want to keep clients theirs and don’t want to share them with other brands. For example, if a person spent 10 years developing JEF file formats, he can use them in Janome embroidery machines only.

When he wants to upgrade, he will either have to purchase a new Janome embroidery machine and use those patterns once again or he will have to start making them from scratch if he purchases an embroidery machine made by another manufacturer.

In other words, embroidery machine manufacturers don’t want to allow users to use any machine they like so there is no universal file format. If you start with one brand, it is likely to continue using it precisely due to this reason.

Embroidery machine manufacturers and the file formats they use

When you get a design it is usually made in generic software and it is saved as EMB which later must be converted into JEF or PSE. This creates another common issue for the designers and ordinary users. You must convert it in order for your embroidery machine to recognize it.

We have mentioned that each brand has its own file format and now we will explain the matter even more, by revealing which brands use which file formats. Below you can see the most common outcomes.

  • Janome: .JEF
  • Bernina: .ART
  • Viking: .HUS, .VIP
  • Brother: .PES, .PEC
  • Singer: .XXX
  • Pfaff: .PCD, .PCM
  • Tajima: .DST
  • Bravo: . EXP

Native file formats

When you create a new file or you simply download it, you get a vector file format which won’t be recognized by any of the embroidery machines. This is the issue due to the fact each software that helps you create new patterns has its own, unique language and it uses only it. In other words, it will run only with suitable file formats and it can save files into them only.

If you decide to convert it in order to use it with another software, there is some risk involved. The file contains guidelines for the machine which can be lost while conversion so you will end up with the incomplete or faulty file.

Can I convert the files?

Yes, you can. However, it is likely that some information will be lost during the process which can cause annoying issues. It is important to add that there is a lot of useful software for this claim and you can even get online help. In some cases, you can’t modify the file, like when adding JEF file into software and opening it as EMB.


Embroidery machine file formats are unique for each manufacturer due to the aforementioned reason. You need to understand that before you start downloading or creating new patterns. Most users stick to the manufacturers they start with precisely due to this reason.