About Embroidery Formats

About Embroidery Formats

In the Wilcom Web API service most API calls return an “embroidery” file. This Article provides background information on this topic.



Wilcom developed a “native” internal embroidery design format in EmbroideryStudio, called the EMB file which is the file extension for Wilcom designs. Therefore, Wilcom’s own designs have the format of “design-name.EMB”.

Embroidery machines however have their own formats, and accordingly, different file extensions, for example Tajima has .DST, Happy has .TAP, Melco has .EXP, Barudan has .U??, SWF has .EBD, therefore Wilcom EmbroideryStudio users can export their designs in the format that is most suitable for their embroidery machine.



The EMB format is an object-based, so called “all-inclusive” format. It contains every object, their outline shape, their creation information, graphic shape type, color, their embroidery properties, like stitch type, densities, underlays, pull compensation and also some machine functions, like thread trimming, or thread tension change or needle selection (where the machine has this feature). The user always can edit any of the object properties and therefore can re-create the object any time. In addition, the EMB format also contains the generated stitches.

The machine files on the other hand are simple stitch files with machine stops where the stop usually means to select a different color/needle. They are not editable, not scalable (well it is not recommended to scale a stich file by more than 10% otherwise the stitch quality will be unacceptable. Some machine manufacturers support needle numbers, thread trimming, Borer functions, Schiffli machine codes even support thread tension and machine speed changes.



The most typical question is: what file format do we request from the server?

The typical line in the xml instructions looks like this:

<output trueview_file=”DesignName.png” design_file=”DesignName.emb” />

This line requests both the Trueview image and the embroidery file in Wilcom EMB format.

But for example, if you want a Tajima or Melco format, you would write:

<output trueview_file=”DesignName.png” design_file=”DesignName.DST” />

<output trueview_file=”DesignName.png” design_file=”DesignName.EXP” />



Depending on what function you need from the embroidery engine sometimes you need to use EMB files.

A good example is if you want to edit Lettering in a Wilcom EMB file This cannot be done in a machine file. The call used here is the api/editDesign. The line in the call could be similar to this below:

<design file=”designname.EMB” colorwaytype=”all” />

(just indicating here that the Wilcom EMB file also can handle multiple colorways in the same design file.)

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