Looking to start embroidery digitizing to create or edit embroidery designs? As the world’s most awarded embroidery digitizer, two questions I always get asked are:
- “What is the best embroidery digitizing software?”
- “Which embroidery digitizing software programs are easy to use?”
In my early years as an embroidery educator, I learned that while trying to remain unbiased and non-software specific, most of the mainstream embroidery digitizing programs do have the essential tools required to create an embroidery design. With these necessary tools, they can all accomplish (for the most part) the same result.
However, what does differ in different software programs is the advanced tools & features that make creating designs easier. Some software programs do require more leg work with the manual inputting of ‘stitch settings’ while others I would consider ‘more advanced’ as they help automate the process & speed things up for you. For this reason, please note that:
All digitizing software is not the same, and there are many angles to consider when you’re in the market of buying a program.
Things to Consider When Looking Into Embroidery Digitizing Software:
As with anything in life, not everyone is going to like the same software brands. Some people swear by Floriani while others are in love with Hatch. Determining your background will probably, in some way, impact your decision more than anything else. If you have a production or machine background, some programs will make more sense in relating your artwork directly to stitches, and you’d probably feel more comfortable right off the get-go. Another type of software will be programmed leaning more towards the graphics industry, and if you have a graphic artist background, you will catch on quicker.
The beautiful thing about today’s day and age is that technology allows us to try before we buy. I would highly suggest downloading a free trial for any software brand that has your interest.
The trial phase will help you determine whether the software is a good fit for you or not. Please note, however, that you make sure you do this only through REPUTABLE online sources. If you’re looking for a starting point, I highly suggest you try the 30-day free trial of Hatch through us by clicking here. As a bonus, we’ll provide you with our Embroidery Digitizing Made Easy Challenge so you can see if digitizing is something you’d enjoy pursuing.
Another great way of doing some research is to go online and ask what others think about a given software brand. There are many embroidery-based Facebook groups, blogs, YouTube videos, and other useful tools online today where you can post questions and get honest customer feedback.
Reputable Embroidery Software Brands & Embroidery Education
Another big thing to consider is the reputation of the company and, more importantly, what level of support and training they offer. I’ve always said: “Any software program is only as good as the support & education that comes with it.”
The last thing you what to do is purchase software because the price point was cheap or on sale, and then all you get is this manual that wasn’t even correctly translated from its original language! When learning to digitize, the training you get after purchasing your software is crucial. The lack of training is one of the most significant issues I’ve found in the home embroidery industry (not so much the commercial). People often buy software and are left to figure it out on their own, or they take classes from an unqualified instructor who knows little more than they do and has never digitized professionally. This software knowledge “gap” is why my book Digitizing Made Easy has sold over 44,300 copies worldwide.
Now, if you do discover a software brand that you fall in love with but doesn’t have excellent education to help you master it, I highly suggest taking a look at our fan-favorite Digitizer’s Dream Course. Directly taught in 11 of the industry’s most popular software brands, this online course will take you by the hand and teach you the age-old theory behind creating beautiful embroidery designs.
Should I Buy Through A Dealer Store Or Online?
To be honest, this depends on how much one on one assistance you think you’ll need with the basics. I do endorse supporting your local dealer if you think their level of support justifies the extra cost.
Remember that dealers are in business and often have a ton of overhead. They likely have to support staff, brick and mortor stores, and other expenses. The reason why their software can, at times, cost a couple of thousand dollars more isn’t necessarily because it’s better than another program…
Instead, it can be because there are more sales channels that software has to go through before it reaches your hands. The brick and mortar store, regional sales coordinator, and of course, software manufacturers all need to profit.
That said, paying your dealer for this service isn’t necessarily bad if you know you’ll need a lot of help grasping the basics. They deserve to get paid for their work and efforts. However, also keep in mind that most stores and store employees often only know the software essentials. If you’re looking to learn how to digitize and create more complex designs, you’ll want to learn from someone who used to digitize professionally. You know, someone who has digitized for Coca-Cola, Disney, the NFL, and the NBA (amongst hundreds of other companies) and now offers software-specific digitizing lessons? (Alright, enough patting myself on the back)
Do You Need To Buy Software Specific To Your Embroidery Machine Brand?
To put it bluntly, no, you do not. For example, just because you own a Janome or Brother machine, doesn’t mean you need to buy Janome or Brother software.
To be fair, although you don’t need it, sometimes some bells and whistles come from having both your machine and software in the same brand. Things like wireless connectivity can be significant incentives for some.
However, when it comes to creating designs and digitizing in particular, there aren’t any huge advantages of buying software specific to your machine brand. In fact, you usually just end up paying more.
Where Can You Get Software Support/Help?
When it comes to learning anything new, there’s always a slight learning curve. Think about the first time you used Microsoft word, it might have taken you 5-10 minutes just to figure out how to underline, center, and make the words in your title larger.
Education is key and our lessons do help an incredible amount when learning how to digitize, but sometimes you have a very particular question about how to do something or where to find a tool. Although Google is an awesome resource, sometimes it’s easiest to just post your question online where live humans can answer & assist you.
For this reason, being a part of a community/group is a huge bonus! We personally run the internet’s largest Hatch Facebook group with over 10,000 active members worldwide. If you ever have a question on how to do something, or just want some inspiration, just post it to the group and one of our amazing members or one of several of our administrators will give you a helping hand and guide you in the right direction. We also release bi-weekly Friday Try Day tutorials where we show you how to improve your embroidery skills by learning a new technique in Hatch.
Keep in mind that Hatch isn’t the only software with a group/community, a number of other software brands have them too. However, whichever one you join, make sure that the members and administrators are actively checking & providing support.
Start Where You Need To Start
The last thing I’ll suggest is that you try not to get up-sold on the highest levels of software unless you feel you can utilize the added features. If you’re brand new to embroidery, you may not yet need full-blown digitizing software or the highest level of digitizing software. With the modular-based programs available today like Hatch, you can always start small and upgrade to the next level if you feel the options are something you’ll use.
Now, having been in this industry my entire life, I realize that most embroidered don’t fully understand what digitizing is, or if it’s something you’ll really want to invest your time into. For this reason, I created a Free Embroidery Digitizing 101 Video Course with a Cheat Sheet PDF that helps teach you the basic digitizing principles that EVERY embroidered should know. Whether you want to create your own designs with digitizing or not, the theory taught in this course will help you achieve better-embroidered results. If you’re new to the world of embroidery digitizing, this is the best place to start (plus it’s free… what do you have to lose?).
My Personal Suggestion? Try Hatch Embroidery Software for Digitizing
Any brands which I teach lessons for on my website, I would consider a reputable brand. Although I’ve sold some of these brands in the past, if I had to pick a favorite, I’d pick Hatch. Why?
Because as the world leader in embroidery software, Wilcom has put three decades of innovation and experience into their new Hatch embroidery software. Hatch has an easy-to-use interface, which is powerful and available at a great price. It’s also modular so that you can start small and add as you grow.
Most importantly, as I mentioned at the start of this article, although all software programs have the main tools required to create designs, some do make the process a lot easier. I personally love Hatch because it takes a lot of the guesswork out of creating designs. In most cases, the software steps in and does the grunt work for you.
I highly recommend you download the 30-day free trial of Hatch through us (I’ll even throw in some bonuses) to compare it to the other programs available out there. But for now, here are a few things that set Hatch apart:
Hatch Automatically Assigns Stitch Properties:
The Hatch program is intelligent and automatically assigns stitch properties (such as stitch length, stitch count, density, underlay, and more) based on the dimensions of the objects you create in the software. Unlike some other software brands available, you don’t have to set these properties yourself (which can be very overwhelming for new digitizers)—having the correct settings chosen for you is kind of like driving an automatic car instead of a manual.
Industry Leading Fabric Assist Tool:
This tool allows you to create, or even bring in a finished embroidery design and, at the click of a button, adjust all the stitch properties to be embroidered and get the best results on any fabric type you choose. This saves you from having to learn dozens of stitch recipes for different fabric types.
Time Saving Auto-Branching Tool:
This tool automatically paths or “branches” a design for you so that it logically sews out in fluid sequence rather than having a ton of jumps and trims. This makes your stitch outs smoother and saves you a ton of time from mapping the design beforehand.
Powerful EMB File Format:
There are many different embroidery file formats out there. Hatch’s EMB file format allows you to adjust objects as if they were vector-based files with set nodes or points. This makes the editing process much quicker and easier.
100% Customizable ESA Fonts
When it comes to further personalizing your embroidery creations, embroidery fonts set the tone for what you’re trying to say. Hatch uses ESA embroidery fonts and unlike other embroidery fonts which are basically embroidery designs that have been assigned a keystroke, ESA fonts are truly object-based. What that means is that virtually ANY aspect of the font can be adjusted. If you want to make the tail of “Q” twice as long, or even wrap around the rest of the Q, it’s as simple as clicking and dragging. In short, ESA fonts have unlimited creative possibilities.
Conclusion: Try Hatch & Compare it to Other Embroidery Digitizing Software Programs
There are a lot of factors to consider when looking into digitizing software. However, the main thing to keep in mind is to look for a reputable brand with quality education and support.
In our opinion, Hatch is the best embroidery digitizing software available. As an official Hatch reseller, I know anyone can claim that their product is the best. So, don’t just take my word for it. Instead, I invite you to download the free 30-day trial of Hatch through us and simply compare it to any, and all other software brands available.
The quality of the program speaks for itself.
As a bonus for downloading the free trial through us, you’ll also get access to our Embroidery Digitizing Made Easy Challenge.
This Challenge is a free way to challenge yourself to try embroidery digitizing if you never have before. It’ll take you by the hand and show you how easy it can be to create and edit your designs using Hatch. In this free Challenge, you’ll follow alongside me in 7 bite-sized video lessons and create 6 designs yourself from start to finish!
So, click here to learn more and download the free trial of Hatch through us now if you haven’t already. If you’re ready to start creating your own embroidery designs with digitizing software, the name of our site says it all: Digitizing Made Easy.