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How to Convert an Embroidery Design File with Free Software

Want to view and convert an embroidery design file, but don’t want to invest in expensive embroidery software?

You can open and convert embroidery designs for free with free embroidery software like Bernina ARTlink 8 and Wilcom Truesizer.

Personally I use Bernina ARTlink 8. It’s a great free tool, and most of my students find it very easy to use.

In this post, I’m going to run you through the steps to convert an embroidery design file using Bernina’s free software.

How to convert an embroidery design file with free software

Converting embroidery design files for free is a lot easier than it sounds. Let’s walk through the process together using a real-world example.

I created a free machine embroidery design for my newsletter subscribers.

Because I personally use Brother embroidery software, the file is in *.PES file format.

*.PES embroidery files are compatible with Brother, Babylock, or Deco machines. 

So, if you don’t own one of those machines, here are the steps you would take to convert this embroidery design file (for free) into a format that’s compatible with your embroidery machine.

  • Download Bernina ARTlink 8 here
  • Follow the instructions to install the software on your computer

Step 2. Open the embroidery design file

  • Open Bernina ARTlink 8
  • Once the software has launched, go to your File menu and click Open Design
  • On the left, highlight the folder where you saved your Rainbow Fish design file.

You won’t be able to see the file yet. That’s because it we need to tell the computer to display “.PES” files.

  • To do that, click the small arrow on the “Open” button and a list will appear. 
  • Select Brother/Babylock/Deco (*.PES)
  • Now you will be able to view the Rainbow Fish .PES design file
  • Highlight the file by clicking on it
  • Click Open

Step 3: Accept the warning

  • A warning will pop up, telling you to avoid resizing the design. 
  • Click OK to accept the warning

Step 4: Convert and save the embroidery design file

  • In your File menu select Export Machine File
  • You will see another warning pop up. Accept it by clicking OK
  • Now, choose which machine or file extension you want to convert this file to
  • Make sure you choose a file format that is compatible with your embroidery machine.
  • Pay close attention to where you are about to save your design 
  • Press Save

Step 5: Transfer your embroidery design to a USB stick

  • Put your USB stick into your computer. 
  • Right click on the Rainbow Fish design file
  • Select Copy 
  • Then Paste the design file onto your USB stick

Step 6: Upload the design file to your embroidery machine

  • Eject the USB stick from your computer
  • Insert the USB stick into your embroidery machine 

Congratulations! You just learned how to convert an embroidery design file using free software!

When should you convert an embroidery design file?

Different embroidery machines require designs to be in different design formats. You will need to convert an embroidery design file when it isn’t compatible with your embroidery machine.

What can you do with free embroidery software? 

ARTlink 8 is basic embroidery software that’s free to download and use. Because it doesn’t cost anything, the functionality is limited. And it will only work on Microsoft Windows.

However, that doesn’t mean that free embroidery software is useless! 

If you’re just getting into machine embroidery, free software is great for learning machine embroidery basics and learning how embroidery software works.

And if you’re on a budget, free software is great for performing basic functions.

Here’s what you can do with free embroidery software:

  • Open embroidery designs in different file formats (e.g. my rainbow fish embroidery design)
  • Make basic adjustments to designs
  • Convert embroidery designs for free
  • Export embroidery design files in different formats
  • Rotate designs
  • Scale designs
  • Mirror Horizontal or Vertical
  • Skew
  • Assign thread colors
  • Print a paper template

What can’t you do with free embroidery software?

Because the software is free, it’s natural that the functionality is limited compared to paid embroidery software.

Free embroidery software won’t allow you to:

  • Create embroidery designs
  • Combine embroidery designs
  • Digitize artwork into an embroidery design
  • Digitize fonts or lettering
  • Add lettering to a design

P.S. Get a Free Machine Embroidery Design

If you’re interested in making a fun rainbow fish embroidery design on your embroidery machine, get the free download and follow the step-by-step instructions here

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