Choosing the Best Embroidery Software – 5 Helpful Tips Before You Buy is an independent review guide covering business and educational products and software. This website contains affiliate links and we may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking these links.

Choosing which embroidery software to use for your machine can be daunting.

There’s a wide selection of software packages available, with price points ranging from just a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand.

And while we reviewed what we believe to be the top 5 best embroidery packages on the market here; we thought it would be helpful to provide a short checklist of some of the things you should consider while researching which one to buy.

The importance of embroidery software

Without a reliable software package, you will not be able to get the most out of your machine.

And let’s face it, you paid enough to buy the machine in the first place, it would not make sense to then run it using mediocre software.

Also, if your machine came with built-in software, it is still unlikely that you are maximizing the potential of all its features and functions.

The installed software and library of designs is normally lackluster, to say the least. The manufactures encourage you to purchase their standalone software packages (containing better designs and more features), for obvious reasons.

In short, the pre-installed software is merely there to get you going. It may be sufficient for embroidery as a hobby, however, if you want to take your creations to the next level, or are starting an embroidering business, you will need more.

When searching for the best embroidery software for your needs, you should consider the following:

1. Check compatibility with your machine

The first step in your search (and one which will narrow down your options into a much more manageable selection of choices), is to only consider software that is compatible with your machine.

This often means that the software developed by the manufacturer of your embroidery machine is the best to buy.

However, even then, there will be a range of compatibility choices according to the model number you have purchased.

The table below shows what we believe to be the best embroidery software packages for each major machine brand.

+ Easily upgradable
to full PE Design
Editing Embroidery
Futura CE-150 &
CE-250 package,
OR XL-400 &
XL-550 Suite.
V7.0 Embroidery
For Single &
StitchArtist Level-1
Total Control-U

(note: some of our selections are based on best for beginners rather than necessarily the best package with every single feature offered. Again head to our review round up for more detailed information).

2. Think about the features you need

Before you make any purchase you should consider exactly the kind of features you need now (or might do in the future).

The big one here is digitization. Will you want to scan images in order to have a greater range of design choices?

You may even want the increased versatility of being able to download images straight to the machine.

The most powerful software programs will let you create and edit complex designs by yourself. The price tag and learning curve may be higher, however if you want to get the most out of your machine, the more range of features you have the better.

3. Check out the customer service & support

Customer service is an important part of your purchase decision. As a first time user to a piece of software, you may need a helping hand.

A company that provides good customer service and support (alongside online materials such a straining videos and guides); is definitely a better option than a brand that does all they can to hide their contact details.

The best embroidery software programs will have round the clock customer support and service. These should be manned by those with sufficient skills to aid you in the event of any technical problems and queries.

A good warranty and access to discounted upgrades as and when they are released is another important factor that you should consider.

4. Buy Licensed Software Only

Related to our first tip, this is an important consideration should you decide to buy software that hasn’t been developed by the manufacturer of your machine – you need to make sure that whatever you buy is licensed.

This will give you confidence of compatibility as well as the fact the manufactuer is happy to endorse the program for their machine platform.

An unlicensed software package is unlikely to provide upgrades or advanced features and while initially cheaper, is not a recommended route to take.

5. Read product reviews

Finally, as you narrow down your choice you should read up on what other people have said about the software.

Are customers satisfied with the product? What are the industry reviews like?

This will give you a good indication on whether the software lives up to the long list of features that the manufacturers are likely to wax lyrical about.

You want to hear from those that have actually used it. These will highlight the experiences encountered by the reviewers trying to get to grips with new features. How user friendly is it?

Are there any doubtful aspects and features of the machine? What didn’t people like about it?

Testimonials can be helpful however knowing the legitimacy of these can be difficult.

About V50

The editorial team here at is made up of a number of writers based all over the world. Our interests and experience cover the full range of what we talk about here. Clare Turner is one of our key contributers writing about the home. David Lachance is our resident e-commerce and business guru, if it's anything to do with that, he's your man. Kevin Simpson takes care of the website layout and publishing and also heads up our education section, with in-depth reviews and articles on courses and training. Find out more about all of us here.