What is the best embroidery software to buy and what to skip in 2019

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​Are you ready to take your machine embroidery to the next level but aren’t sure which embroidery design software to choose?

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In short, Embrilliance Essentials Software is our top pick.

For those of you looking for the digitizing software, you can find the best digitizing programs here.

We’ll do the embroidery software reviews, comparisons, and then conclude with the best embroidery software. More on this later!

Comparison Chart

Description

Embrilliance Essentials

PED Basic

BuzzXplore v2

Amazing Designs LETTER IT

Compatible

Both Mac and windows

Windows

Windows

Windows

Price

$$$

$$

$$$

$$

Preview

Yes

Yes

Yes


Yes

Formats


Essentials can read:
ART, ART (42,50,60)
DST, PCS, PHD,DSZ,EMD,PCM,CSD,EMB,XXX,HUS,VIP,VP3,EXP,EXP+,JEF+,SEW,TAP,JEF,PHB,CND,PES,PHC,JAN,SHV.
Essentials can write:
TAP,PCS,VIP,
VP3,DST,XXX,
SHV,PCM,DSZ
EXP,EXP+

,HUS,JEF,PES,SEW,CSD.

.PES

Shows,
converts to,
and from:
CSD, SEW,
DST, PCS,
EMD,EXP,
HUS, JEF,
PEC, PES,
SHV, VIP,
VP3,XXX,
ART *,GNC *,
ART50 *, ART60 *,
JEF+ *, OEF *
PCD *^,​

PEL *^,
PEM *^,
PHB *,
PHC *,
ASD *,
PCQ *^,
CND *,
EMB *^



It saves in these formats:
DST,
VP3,
CSD,
BLF,
SEW,
SHV,
PES, 
XXX,
EMD,
PCM,
VIP,
EMD,
JEF,
EXP,
HUS,
PCS.

Verdict

Overall #1 Recommendation

Not recommended

Best Design management

Good choice for lettering

*BuzzXplore can’t converts to.  ^ BuzzXplore can’t converts from.

The Competitors

In the battle for the best software for embroidery machines, I've compared the four major competitors. Let’s look at each.

Embrilliance Essentials Embroidery Machine Software

Pro’s

  • Compatible with both Mac and PC and writes out to a USB flash drive.
  • ​This embroidery machine software has online tutorials that are easy to follow in case you get stuck or have questions.
  • It allows you to merge and resize designs, customize lettering fonts for monogramming, and change the color of a pre-set image.
  • ​The software program also includes 12 fonts and the ability to manipulate text.
  • It can print real size templates and supports cutting and scanning systems.

  • It can read and write many embroidery design formats.

Con’s

  • ​You can remove parts of the designs, but you can’t change some of the areas.
  • You can’t scan images and import them in for conversion to design. I heard you, "Oh, common Sara, it's not a digitizer". Yes, it's not. I've to point this out; sometimes things are taken for granted.  

Verdict

It's the most robust package available and is being sold at an affordable price point. Plus it saves out designs that are usable on all USB sported machines as well as can be installed on Windows and Mac.

While you can download a trial version to play with it, you won’t be able to save out your design. I do appreciate the programs that let you test out the interface.

Brother PED-Basic Software for Downloading Embroidery Designs

Pro’s

  • PED Basic comes with a detailed instruction manual.

  • You can review your design in the realistic color preview.
  • You can print design previews for use as placement templates.

  • Support three different frame sizes. Be sure to use the right size designs for your machine otherwise machine will reject the card. 

Con’s

  • PED Basic works with Brother machines.

  • The embroidery design software is not Mac compatible.

  • It can't create the pattern of embroidery, but it comes with some built-in designs, and you can download compatible designs from the internet. Card memory is 4 MB only. 

Verdict

For the price, you may want to skip this one. It doesn’t get you much functionality unless your Brother embroidery machine only allows you to plug in cards.

If your embroidery machine has a Flash drive port, you can easily create designs using another program, and download to your embroidery machine using a USB stick drive.

BuzzXplore v2 Premier Embroidery Design Management

Pro’s

  • BuzzXplore is very easy to use. The interface is highly intuitive.

  • You can import and arrange your own designs from a wide variety of formats.
  • The BuzzXplore V2 is compatible on Windows XP through Windows 10 operating systems. 

  •  This software makes it very easy to keep your designs organized.

  • You can convert your hundreds of designs very easily and quickly.
  • You can convert between just about any embroidery file format. You could even use this software to convert between graphics file formats.

Con’s

  • It doesn't convert a graphics file format to an embroidery file format. (Their add-on Buzz-2-Stitches will though)
  • ​It’s not Mac compatible. Many users have set up Windows emulators like Parallels and are able to run this program successfully. So there is a good workaround.

Verdict

If you’re new to making embroidery patterns, this is a great starter program. What I like is that there’s a 21-day trial of the complete version.

So you can download and test it all out with your embroidery machine before you buy the software.

Note: It's not an editing software, so don't expect to edit your designs with it. Having said that, if you're beginner you may not need to invest in and editing software when you're starting out.

Amazing Designs LETTER IT! Embroidery Machine Software

Pro’s

  • Amazing Designs offers a 30-day free trial which is a great way to learn the software before you buy it.

  • LETTER IT! has a wide variety of color choices that can match even the most subtle differences of embroidery thread.

  • 35 fonts are built into the software.
  • ​You can create text in a circle, single line, multi-line, text that curves and vertical text layouts. Basically, if it has to do with manipulating text, you can do it with Amazing Designs LETTER IT!

Con’s

  • This embroidery machine software is not compatible with the Mac.
  • You can’t edit designs, only the lettering.

  • Some people felt it was difficult to get set up and use.

  • The company didn’t provide a hard copy manual. Some users felt that the PDF version of the manual that was provided was difficult to read.

Verdict

This is a good software if you’re focusing on lettering. You can merge in existing designs with your lettering. But you need to remember you can’t edit the designs with this package.

Also, the interface on this software isn’t super intuitive. You may want to be more experienced with designing for an embroidery machine before you buy this. 

Now let’s look at what the best embroidery software is for specific needs.

Best Machine Embroidery Software For Those On A Budget?

If you only want to do lettering, and you have Windows, then Amazing Designs LETTER IT! is a great option.

If you want to create and edit designs as well as lettering, then you will want Embrilliance.

Best Design Software For Brother Embroidery Machines?

While Brother does have its own software, many people have difficulties getting it to work well. And it’s unclear if it gets updated regularly.

So your best path to success is Embrilliance which will allow you to purchase files from iBroidery, make adjustments, and then save it out to your Brother embroidery machine.

Best Program To Work With Embroidery On Janome Machines?

Janome has Acudesign which allows you to import embroidery designs from other sources and modify them. Then you can save it out to your Janome embroidery machine.

They also offer the Digitizer V5 which is a design program where you can create your own embroidery designs and monograms.

What’s unique about V5 is that you can import .BMP and .JPG files to use with your designs. It automatically converts pictures to embroidered designs.

And it supports split design. That’s when the embroidery design is larger than your hoops, so you need to split the design over a few hoops.

They also have a software app called Acusetter to ensure that you’re lining up the embroidery design correctly on your project.

V5 is based on CorelDraw. It’s compatible on Windows and Mac. And you can use a pen and tablet to freehand a design.

The downside is that it is expensive.

So if you’re on a budget, the Embrilliance will do everything that the Acudesign can do and some of the things the Digitizer v5 can do.

However, you can't do the digitizing and freehand drawing with Essentials. Which I have to admit is pretty cool. It’s up to you if you think it’s worth the extra cost.

Best Embroidery Software for Everything?

Embrilliance software is the most flexible. It can open and manipulate just about any embroidery design format and save it out. It can then be read into your embroidery machine.

When looking at the functionalities of the best embroidery program, you will notice that most of them have a basic program that does some basic things well.

Then if you want to do more advanced things like embroidering text in a circle around a graphic image, you would need to purchase add-ons.

It does have an advanced add-on called Enthusiast. It is very sophisticated such as multi-hoop designs and the ability to save your design out as a PNG. That can be handy if you want to run a business and publish your designs online.

Best Embroidery Design Software For The Windows

It does depend upon what you intend to embroider. If you’re not sure, then you want Embrilliance. If you just are interested in lettering, you would want to consider Amazing Designs LETTER IT!.

Best Embroidery Program for Beginners

BuzzXplore v2 is a very easy to use program that is great for beginners. The next in line would be Embrilliance because of its wizards and the support.

Best Embellishment Program For The Advanced Designer?

Embrilliance. What? Again? Yes, because it has all the capabilities of image resizing, making circular text, and create split-hoop designs.

Then you can purchase add-ons like Enthusiast which will allow you to expand your capabilities.

The Winner In This Machine Embroidery Software Comparison

The winner for best embroidery design software is the Embrilliance Essentials Embroidery Machine Software.

I can hear you saying, “Wait, is it really that good?”

I was digging around trying to find some problems with it. After doing long hours of research and reading a ton of Embrilliance software reviews on different forums, I can say that it's the best all-round embroidery program. 

From beginners to advance people just loves it. 

For the price point, you can’t beat it. It works on all machines. You can import from any machine format and make adjustments, and then save it out as your machine’s format.

They're always looking for ways to keep the software updated. And they have great support. You can find a ton of videos on how to use the software if you run into problems.

Also, there’s a demo option to try before you buy. And there're some large forums out there with people who want to help you. And it runs on Mac and Windows. 

If you want an embroidery machine as well? Then check our comparisons, guides and the full reviews of the machines below.

Read Brother SE400 vs. Brother SE425 comparison here.

Click here for the comparison between the Brother PE770 and DZ820E.

Here is the in-depth review of the Brother LB6800PRW.

Here you can read the full review of the Brother Designio DZ820e.

Read our full Brother PE525 embroidery machine review here.

Looking for the hat embroidery machine, here are our best picks and guide to choose the right hat machine.

Here are the tips to pick the right monogramming machine.

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