How to Digitize a Picture for Machine Embroidery

Embroidery digitizing is the process of converting an image or design into a digital embroidery file that can be read by an embroidery machine. This process involves using embroidery software and digitizing equipment to create a file that can be used to embroider a design onto fabric.

Choosing the Right Embroidery Software

The first step in digitizing a picture for machine embroidery is to choose the right embroidery software. There are many embroidery software options available, ranging from basic to professional-level software. Some popular options include Embird, Wilcom, and Hatch.

When choosing embroidery software, consider the features you need for your project. Basic software may be suitable for simple designs, but more complex designs may require more advanced software. If you are a beginner, it is recommended that you start with basic software and gradually move up to more advanced software as you gain experience.

If you are a professional embroidery digitizer, you may need to invest in more expensive software. Professional embroidery digitizers require software that can handle large and complex designs, as well as software that can be customized to suit their specific needs.

For those on a budget, there are also cheap embroidery software options available. These software programs may not have all the features of more expensive software but can still be used to create beautiful designs.

Preparing the Image for Digitizing

Before digitizing an image, it’s important to prepare the image properly. This involves ensuring that the image is of high quality and that it has a clear and defined outline. You can use photo editing software to adjust the contrast and brightness of your image to make it easier to digitize.

It’s also important to consider the size of the image. If the image is too large, it may not be suitable for embroidery. Similarly, if the image is too small, it may not be possible to digitize the image properly.

Digitizing the Image

Once you have chosen the right embroidery software and prepared the image, it’s time to digitize the image. This involves using the software to create a digital embroidery file that the embroidery machine can read.

To begin, open the image in the embroidery software and use the digitizing tools to trace the outline of the image. This involves creating a series of stitches that follow the outline of the image. You can use different stitch types, such as running stitches or satin stitches, to achieve different effects.

It’s important to pay attention to the density of the stitches when digitizing an image. Too many stitches can make the design look crowded, while too few stitches can lead to gaps in the design.

Testing and Adjusting the Design

After digitizing the image, it’s important to test the design before embroidering it onto fabric. You can use embroidery software to simulate how the design will look when embroidered and make any adjustments as necessary.

It’s important to test the design on a sample piece of fabric before embroidering it onto the final piece of fabric. This can help you identify any issues with the design and make any necessary adjustments.


Digitizing a picture for machine embroidery can be a complex process, but with the right embroidery software and digitizing tools, it can be done easily and efficiently. Whether you are a professional embroidery digitizer or a beginner, there are many embroidery software options available to help you create beautiful embroidered designs. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can create stunning designs that will impress everyone who sees them.