CRAFTSPRESS supported by its audience. When you purchase through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

How to convert image to embroidery file

Converting an image into an embroidery file type is a process also called “digitizing”. Digitizing is converting your designs into a form that the embroidery machine can read. Usually digitization software is used to digitize any design and then export it into a file format that the embroidery machine can understand.  

What is an embroidery file

An embroidery file has important information and commands that your embroidery machine needs to embroider your design on fabric. This file contains details about which color thread to use, type of stitches, and other essential information like, angle of stitch, order of stitch, start and end point, stitch density etc. 

DST/PES files

Each embroidery brand is compatible with certain file types. DST and PES are the most common file types in the embroidery world. DST was originally developed by Tajima and it stands for Data Stitch Tajima. DST file basically contains the commands and data to tell the embroidery machine how to stitch. This file type is used most commonly. 

PES file format can be read by Brother, Bernina Embroidery machines and Babylock. This format was developed by Brother. In addition to the embroidery details that a DST file contains, PES files also have information about Different embroidery colours that a DST file lacks. Before converting an image file to embroidery format, it is important to know which file type is acceptable by your brand. 

Programs to digitize embroidery design

Programs to digitize embroidery design

There are several programs available for digitizing, Some are free, some are paid, some are free but cost money for some features. But luckily, free softwares are capable enough to meet most people’s needs. Following are some of the programs that you can use to digitize your design.

Ink/Stitch – completely free
SewArt –  trial based
Embird –  trial based
Hatch –  trial based

Our recommendation is Ink/Stitch as it’s completely free and can do almost all of the things related to embroidery. 

Image Types

There are basically two types of images, i.e Vector based images, and pixel based images. Some software requires your image to be in vector format before importing into software while others accept pixel based images. In the case you are using Ink/stitch program, which is free, it expects you to upload a vector image. You can easily convert your image into vector format by uploading it to Vectorizer. It will give you back a svg file that is a vector file.

How to convert Image to Embroidery file

  • Remove background: If you are uploading JPG or PNG, your program may require you to remove the  background of your Image. You can use to remove the background. 
  • Insert the Image file: Upload the image into the embroidery software. In most softwares, you can find this option under the insert menu. 
  • Crop the image file: Cut out the extra potion that is not included in your design and leave only what you   really want to embroider.
  • Set the desired size of picture(Embroidery design size): Now set the dimensions of the design that you want to have on actual fabric after it has been embroidered. First measure the dimension of the actual fabric on which you want to embroider, and then set the design size accordingly.  
  • Lock the picture: After setting the dimensions, lock the image to be sure that it is not affected during the process. 
  • Measure the objects: Measure the objects in your design to analyze which stitch type would suit them. 
  • Start drawing the  objects: Start drawing your objects with appropriate stitch types.
  • Select the colors: First select the object that you want to change color of, then from the color bar,  choose the color that you want to apply.
  • Choose Your Stitches: It’s time to select the stitch type, If you are new to embroidery, here is an overview of stitch types
  • Straight stitch: Used for outlining, detailing and shading.
  • Fill stitch: Used for large designs, filling spaces and creating textures.
  • Satin stitch: Used for making borders or word/texts.
  • Setting stitch direction: This is the most important part and you need to pay most attention to it. Because it is the path that your machine will follow while embroidering. Anything that you don’t input during digitization, won’t be followed by your embroidery machine and will make your design incomplete. 
  • Converting to the right file type: Once your design is digitized, now it’s very easy to convert it to the desired file format. It is just as simple as saving the file with the right file type. You just have to carefully select the right file type that your brand accepts. 


In conclusion, by following the simple steps outlined in this article, you can convert any image into an embroidery file that can be used with your embroidery machine. This allows you to personalize any project with your own unique touch.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top