The Best Embroidery Software to Buy and What to Avoid in 2021

The Best Embroidery Software (and What to Avoid) in 2021

Whether you own an embroidery company and you’re ready to take your business to the next level, or you simply want to take up a new hobby, you might be asking yourself: “What is the best embroidery software to buy?”

If that sounds like you and you’ve been struggling to discover the answer, rest assured that you’re not alone. There is plenty of different embroidery software currently available on the market to sift through!

That’s where we come in to lend you a helping hand. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of the best embroidery software available to purchase, as well as handy comparisons in order to help you decide which type of embroidery software will suit you best.

You’ll notice that we are partial to Embrilliance and it’s for good reason. Embrilliance offers software for both Mac and PC. Most embroidery software runs on PC only, but Embrilliance is available for both. This is especially helpful for the Apple lovers in my family – as well as businesses that need software the runs on both kinds of machines. The other great thing about Embrilliance is that it offers different levels of its software so you can purchase just what you need and keep things economical.

For this article we avoided the super pricey software on the market as it’s cost prohibitive for many beginners and it’s quite complex, which makes learning quite slow and getting to the good stuff even slow. That said, here are our favorites for 2021.

Best Embroidery Software Comparison Chart

Mac or PC?Compatible file types it can read?Compatible file types it can write/save?Price?
Embrilliance Essentials Embroidery Machine SoftwareBothART,    ART42, ART50, ART60, CND, CSD,DST,DSZ, EMB,EMD, EXP, EXP+,HUS,JAN,JEF,JEF+,PS, PCM, PES, PHB,PHC, PHD, SEW, SHV,TAP,VIP,VP3,XXX CSD, .DST, .DSZ, .EXP, .EXP+, .HUS, .JEF, .PCS, .PCM, .PES,, .SEW, .SHV, .TAP, .VIP, .VP3, .XXXRRP $139.00
Brother Embroidery Monogramming SoftwareWindowsPES(V4-10), SEW, JEF, HUS, PCS, DST, XXX, EXP, SHV, VIP, VP3, BRFPES, PHC, SEW, JEF, HUS, PCS, DST, XXX, EXP, SHV, VIP, VP3, ART formats.RRP $90.00
Embrilliance Thumbnailer Embroidery SoftwareBothART,    ART42, ART50, ART60, CND, CSD,DST,DSZ, EMB,EMD, EXP, EXP+,HUS,JAN,JEF,JEF+,PS, PCM, PES, PHB,PHC, PHD, SEW, SHV,TAP,VIP,VP3,XXX CSD, .DST, .DSZ, .EXP, .EXP+, .HUS, .JEF, .PCS, .PCM, .PES,, .SEW, .SHV, .TAP, .VIP, .VP3, .XXXRRP $39.00
Embrilliance Stitch Artist Digitizing Embroidery Software

Best Embroidery Software Reviews

Let’s uncover each one in a little more detail. Check out a review of each below:

Embrilliance Essentials Embroidery Machine Software

Created by Embrilliance to offer embroiderers the tools they need to make basic changes to all of their designs, this software is widely considered to be one of the best all-around software options for those looking to try their first embroidery software. It’s fast to learn and easy to use.

Offering plenty of versatility, this software is designed to provide the basics. This includes the ability to resize, merge designs, colorize, and add lettering. Creating beautiful monograms is easy with the Essential software because you get 13 fonts and can use templates, built-in styles, and editing tools to customize them further.


  • Embrilliance has made a variety of online tutorials and resources. This will ensure that no matter your skill level, you’ll be able to use this software with no problems.
  • It is suitable for both Mac and PC. This ensures you’ll be able to run it on more than one computer. 
  • It features built-in templates for convenience and also allows you to cut and scan so you can create your own unique designs. 
  • It supports many file formats (see above in table), which will enable you to have greater flexibility.
  • It gives you the ability to colorize images, resize, merge and add fonts to your designs, so you can get as creative as you like.
  • Economical option


  • Some design templates cannot be modified.
  • Just covers the basics

Brother Initial Stitch Embroidery monogramming Software

Looking to create designs that have their very own custom lettering? If so, the Brother Initial Stitch Embroidery Monogramming Software might just be what you’re looking for.

It is compatible with most brands of embroidery machines, with the ability to save designs in file formats for Brother and most popular brands.

This software from Brother will allow you to merge your very own custom designs and tweak it with 25 different lettering fonts and 5 monogramming fonts.


  • With 30 different fonts in total, you’ll have plenty of options over how you’d like your designs to look.
  • The software is able to support three frame sizes, which will give you versatility over the design size.
  • It comes with an instruction manual, which ensures that you’ll be able to operate the software correctly.


  • It’s not compatible with Mac.
  • The memory is only 4MB.

Embrilliance Thumbnailer Embroidery Software

For embroiderers on the lookout for organizational tools, one of the best software options to consider is the Embrilliance Thumbnailer Embroidery Software. Note, this is an “add-on” software that gives you an incredibly useful feature to use with your files but it’s not a design/digitizing software to create new embroidery designs / patterns.

The cool thing about the Thumbnailer software is that it lets you see the image preview without having to actually open the file. This makes it really easy to skim through tons of designs and see exactly what they are (vs trying to remember what you named that holiday file from last year and then opening a bunch of files only to find its not the one you were looking for). With thumbnail you can browse through your files

It can be used in conjunction with other Embrilliance software and offers a simple solution to keeping all of your files and designs organized and easy to identify and locate. 

Ideal for both those just starting out and professional embroiderers, the thumbnailer software is suitable for both PC or Mac.


  • Ideal for keeping preview of your files without opening them – saves time and frustration!
  • Suitable for both PC and Mac, this ensures plenty of versatility. 
  • Can be used alongside other Embrilliance embroidery software, this will allow for a more productive workflow. 


  • Not for design purposes. 

Embrilliance StitchArtist Level 2 Digitizing Embroidery Software

Last but not least, another excellent embroidery software is the Embrilliance StitchArtist Level 2 Digitizing Embroidery Software.

Suitable for both Mac and PC users, the StitchArtist Level 2 Software has been specifically designed for those who require a more complex, sophisticated system. 

Unlike the other software we have included, this software comes with a variety of advanced tools that will give you the flexibility to create just about any design you can think of.

You can even use this software with the other Embrilliance software we have recommended.


  • It is compatible with other Embrilliance software, so it can be used by itself or doubled up.
  • It runs on both Mac and PC, which means you can use it on many different computers. 
  • Offers sophisticated tools, which are ideal for embroiderers looking to create more complicated designs. 


  • Expensive price point.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Machine Embroidery Software for Those that are on a Budget?

When shopping around for more affordable software, we recommend prioritizing software that offers these three features:

  • Design creation
  • Editing tools
  • Lettering and font

If you’re on a budget but still want to create beautiful designs, then we recommend the Embrilliance Essentials software as, as the name suggests, it comes packed with all of the essentials you need to create, edit and letter designs.

It will allow you to add lettering to new and existing designs, as well as choose up to 12 different built-in fonts.

What’s more, you even have the option of purchasing additional fonts via their online website. This software also packs plenty of functional features, including:

  • The ability to save existing embroidery designs using your machine’s format (so there won’t be any incompatibility) as well as save appliques for your cutting machine. 
  • You’ll be able to overlap existing embroidery designs with new ones, all while being able to automatically remove any underlying stitches. 
  • It will be able to resize existing files with the automatic stitch recalculation, so you won’t have to worry about trying to resize the file yourself. 

Plus, you can always purchase additional software by Embrilliance and upgrade as needed.

What is the Best Design Software for Brother Embroidery Machines?

If you own a Brother embroidery machine, your first thought might be to purchase a matching software package made by the same brand.

However, it’s important to be aware that Brother embroidery machines are compatible with other software packages, so you have plenty of options. Here are our top two recommendations narrowed down from our top picks above:

  • Embrilliance Essentials Software
  • Brother Initial Stitch Software

Interestingly enough, many people that own a Brother embroidery machine do not actually use Brother-owned software. This is because many people find that other software, particularly Embrilliance, offers more features, creative freedom, and better value for money. 

What is the Best Program to Work with on Janome Machines?

If you own a Janome embroidery machine, then you might be wondering which types of software will work best for you. As Janome comes with Acudesign, it will allow you to transfer embroidery designs from one source, edit it, and then save it onto your Janome embroidery machine.

In addition to that, Janome embroidery machines also work well with Digitizer V5, which is a type of embroidery design software that allows you to create your very own monograms, as well as edit your own designs.

Janome also has their very own software app known as ‘Acusetter’ which is an alternative to software. Acusetter works by allowing you to edit, upload, and ensure that your designs have the correct measurements before you print them.

What is the Best Embroidery Machine Software Overall?

If you’re looking for the very best embroidery machine software, we think that the Embrilliance Essentials Software is the best to consider.

A favorite of embroiderers all over the world, the Embrilliance Essentials Software is compatible with both Mac and PC computers and can be used in combination with other software. 

Offering all of the basics you’ll need to create your own designs, the Embrilliance Essentials software is able to resize all of your existing embroidery design files by using an automatic stitch recalculation feature.

It will also allow you to add lettering in various styles (multi-line, monogram, and circle) with over 10 fonts to choose from. 

On top of the creative features, the Essentials Embroidery Software allows you to overlap existing embroidery designs, save existing embroidery designs, as well as save appliques for your cutting machine.

Besides that, the Embrilliance Essentials Software is also a wonderful tool for beginners or those that are looking to purchase their first software program after spending years creating designs freehand.

Plus, for professionals, Embrilliance allows you to purchase additional features and fonts online, though this will come at an additional cost. 

What is the Best Embroidery Design Software for Beginners?

If you’re just starting out, we recommend Embrilliance because it’s fast to learn, easy to use and also comes at an entry-level price point.. 

What is the Best Embroidery Software for Advanced Designers?

On the flip side, if you’re a professional or advanced embroider, you’ll need to go for software that will be able to handle all of your needs. In our opinion, we recommend going for the Embrilliance StitchArtist Software.

Though it is more expensive, it’s a great investment to consider making because it comes with capabilities that other software don’t offer, including circular texts, split-hoop designs, various fonts, and image resizing capabilities. 

The Finishing Touch (a.k.a. Our Final Thoughts)

We hope that this software embroidery guide has given you plenty of helpful information on how to spot the best embroidery software packages currently on the market, as well as some insight into what software package might work best for you and your embroidery machine. 

All in all, our top winner is the Embrilliance Essentials Embroidery Machine Software. For the price point, value, and fantastic features- you really can’t beat it! 

Happy designing!

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