In this article we will discuss how to convert Image to embroidery file for free? Transforming your cherished images into personalized embroidered designs is a delightful way to infuse your craft with creativity and to craft unique gifts for your loved ones. The process of converting these images into embroidery files is called Embroidery Digitizing, and it’s even more satisfying when you can achieve it without incurring costs. This article will guide you through the steps to convert images to embroidery files for free, demystifying the process along the way.

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Understanding the Embroidery File:

Before diving into the intricacies of image-to-embroidery file conversion, it’s crucial to grasp what an embroidery file is and its significance in the world of embroidery. These files serve as the blueprint for embroidery machines, providing vital instructions for producing the design accurately.

An embroidery file comprises essential information such as:

  • Thread colors
  • Type of stitch
  • Stitch order
  • Stitch angle
  • Stitch density
  • Stitching start and endpoints

This information guides the embroidery machine in crafting the design with precision. The choice of the correct embroidery file format ensures compatibility with your specific embroidery machine.

Common Embroidery File Formats:

Two widely used embroidery file formats are DST and PES. DST (Data Stitch Tajima) files are versatile and compatible with most embroidery machines. PES files, developed by Brother, work seamlessly with Brother, Babylock, and Bernina machines. PES files not only contain stitch commands but also include color information, a feature absent in DST files.

The choice between DST and PES formats hinges on your embroidery machine’s compatibility, and selecting the wrong format can lead to compatibility issues down the road. Therefore, it’s crucial to confirm your machine’s preferred file format before proceeding with image conversion.

Free Image-to-Embroidery File Conversion:

Converting images to embroidery files is facilitated through digitizing software, a tool that transforms images into machine-readable formats. While some digitizing programs come at a cost, there are free alternatives available.

One standout free digitizing software is Ink/Stitch. It offers a wide range of features for image conversion and is consistently free. Unlike other programs with limited free trials or feature restrictions, Ink/Stitch empowers users with comprehensive capabilities without hidden costs.

Adapting Image Files for Conversion:

Image files come in various formats, and while technically all can be converted into embroidery files, the complexity varies. Two primary categories of image files are pixel-based and vector-based.

  • Pixel-based images are rich in color, detail, and realism, making them challenging to convert directly. They may require additional steps, such as background removal, to simplify the conversion process.
  • Vector-based images are composed of clean lines and flat colors, making them more amenable to digitization. Converting pixel-based images to vector format can facilitate the conversion process.

Tools Required for Conversion:

To embark on image-to-embroidery file conversion, you’ll need two primary tools:

  1. Image in Suitable Format Ensure your image is in a compatible format, which may necessitate preliminary steps like background removal or conversion to vector format.

  1. Free Digitizing Software: Select a digitizing program that aligns with your needs, with Ink/Stitch being a robust choice for both beginners and experienced embroiderers.

Image Digitization Process:

The digitization process is the linchpin of image-to-embroidery file conversion. While steps may vary depending on your selected software, here’s a generalized overview:

  1. Background Removal: For pixel-based images, remove the background using tools like or image editing software.

  1. Vector Conversion (if required): Convert pixel-based images to vector format using online tools like Vectorizer.

  1. Upload Image: Import your prepared image (PNG, SVG, or other suitable formats) into the digitizing software.

  1. Crop and Size: Crop the image to remove unwanted areas and set the design dimensions to match your fabric. Lock the size to maintain proportions.

  1. Color Reduction: Reduce the number of colors if necessary to align with your machine’s capabilities.

  1. Select Stitches: Choose stitch types based on your design requirements, such as satin stitch, straight stitch, or fill stitch.

  1. Stitch Direction: Specify the stitch direction meticulously to ensure the embroidery machine follows the intended path.

  1. Digitize: Follow the software’s tools and algorithms to digitize your design.

Converting Your Digitized Image into an Embroidery File – A Step-by-Step Guide

Once you’ve successfully digitized your image, the final step involves transforming it into an embroidery file. This process is typically straightforward, but there are instances where you may need to adjust the image format before converting it into an embroidery file.

Converting JPG/JPEG to DST

  1. Begin by converting your JPG/JPEG image into a DST file format. However, please note that this typically requires a two-step process due to background removal.

  1. Initially, employ a background removal tool to eliminate the background from your image. Once removed, your image will be saved as a PNG file.

  1. If you’re using Ink/Stitch, an embroidery software that exclusively accepts vector image files, you’ll need to convert the PNG image into an SVG file format. Online tools can assist you in this conversion.

  1. Now that your image is in the appropriate format, you can upload either the PNG or SVG file to your chosen digitizing program.

  1. Follow the digitizing steps within the software, ensuring you’ve configured the stitch types, angles, and other relevant settings.

  1. To complete the process, save the digitized image as a DST embroidery file format using the drop-down menu within the software. After saving, download the file to your computer.

Converting PNG to PES

Converting PNG images to the PES format is a straightforward process. Unlike DST, PES conversion does not require background removal.

  1. Begin by uploading your PNG image to the digitizing program of your choice.

  1. Proceed with the digitizing steps as outlined in the software, ensuring that you’ve selected the appropriate stitch types, angles, and other necessary settings.

  1. Once you’ve completed the digitization, save the image as a PES embroidery file format within the software.

  1. Download the finalized PES file to your computer.

Converting JPG to PES

Converting a JPG image to the PES format shares similarities with the DST conversion, requiring background removal before digitization.

  1. Initiate the process by removing the background from your JPG image and saving it as a PNG file. Several tools and software can assist in this step.

  1. Upload the resulting PNG file to your chosen digitizing program.

  1. Proceed with the digitizing steps within the software, customizing the stitch types, angles, and other relevant parameters.

  1. Rather than saving the image as a DST file, opt for the PES format in the software’s save options.

  1. Download the converted PES embroidery file to your computer for use with your embroidery machine.

Converting your digitized images into embroidery files can be achieved through a few distinct processes, depending on your chosen file format (DST or PES). Ensuring that your image format aligns with your embroidery software’s requirements is essential. By following these steps meticulously, you’ll be well-equipped to embark on your embroidery projects with confidence and creativity.


Converting images to embroidery files is a gratifying endeavor that allows you to infuse your craft with personalization and creativity. Armed with the right knowledge, tools, and free digitizing software like Ink/Stitch, you can effortlessly transform images into stunning embroidery designs. Ensure compatibility, adhere to copyright regulations, and embark on your embroidery journey with confidence. Share this informative guide with fellow enthusiasts, and happy embroidering!

Pro Tip: If you’re not proficient in embroidery digitizing, consider outsourcing your design to professional embroidery digitizing services zing to bring your vision to life with expert precision.