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Five Advantages of Embroidery Cataloging Software

It is so frustrating. You sit down to stitch out an embroidery design and you can’t find it. You know you have it but, after searching your computer and a couple of memory sticks for a half-hour or so, you finally give up. In the amount of time you spent looking for the design, you could have had the project stitched.

There has to be a better way, right?

full_81_22535_Coathangercover_2Photo via Bluprint member Katammy

By using embroidery design cataloging software, you could be stitching some of these gorgeous coat hanger covers instead of looking for them. Cataloging programs make life easier by providing images of embroidery designs, keeping them organized and indexing them so they are easier to find.

Here are five reasons you should use embroidery cataloging software:

1. You get a visual

Without the design preview feature that an embroidery cataloging program provides, all you have to go on is the file name. That might not be bad if the name is even halfway descriptive. If not, you really don’t know what you have unless you open it.

directory list

Images via Debbie Henry

You probably have a pretty good idea what fishbones4.4.vip looks like, but a filename like Eetbfree.vp3 does not tell you much about what the design actually looks like.

organizer screen

Most design cataloging programs show thumbnails, small images of the design, that make the files much easier to identify. They show the file name, stitch count, and dimensions of embroidery designs stored in your computer. Designs can be arranged in different categories by simply clicking and dragging individual files to folders. That makes organizing files on your computer or storage media extremely easy. Depending on the program, you may be able to select the thumbnail image and open it in editing software.

crosshatch floral design specs page

2. Visuals can produce hard copies

In addition to showing an image of the design, cataloging programs produce thread palettes and color sequences, things you would not know any other way unless you stitched them out.

Most of the time, the PDF information files you receive when you purchase designs have been created with a cataloging program of some kind. Whether you get a file with the designs you purchase or you create a file with your own cataloging program, the pages can be printed out, marked with project notes, and filed or placed in a three-ring binder for future use.

3. Centralized location of designs

When installed on your hard drive, most cataloging programs can be set up as the default location for newly purchased designs and downloads. If you organize designs when you place them on your computer, it saves time finding and organizing them later. Having embroidery designs in one location on your computer or portable hard drive also helps with making backup copies.

Backups are permitted for archival purposes for free designs and designs you have purchased. You will be glad to have your files backed up in the event of a computer meltdown, power surge or virus.

full_5522_144525_ElegantMachineEmbroideredBags_1Photo via Amanda Murphy, Bluprint instructor of Elegant Machine Embroidered Bags.

4. Indexing for searching

Options exist for adding notes and keywords to aid in customized searches of embroidery designs. Once arranged, stitch diagrams and design details can be printed out individually or as part of a larger collection.

5. Try it before you buy it

Many cataloging programs allow a free trial period, a great option for you to try it before you buy it!

Easily expand your software skills and your design library as Bluprint instructor Cindy Hogan shows you how to get the most out of embroidery software in Embroidery Software Essentials.

Sign me up!

How do you organize your embroidery designs?

23 Comments

Sharon R

i currently catalog most of my files in a 13 page Microsoft Word document. I have a table for each of my major vendors, plus a table for some random downloads. Each table displays the image, descriptive name, and pattern ID. The files are stored in multiple folders, sorted by categories (hearts, stars, butterflies, flowers, crafts, etc.) I started putting them all in MS Access, but having a few problems with the thumbnails.
It might be time to preview a few of these software programs to see if any beat my current system.

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Debbie Henry

Wow, Sharon, that’s impressive! I started out using Word for some cataloging, but it took a LOT of time. I think you will appreciate the ease of some of the cataloging programs. Many allow you to try it before you buy it. There may be some of your tables you will want to keep but the thumbnails are effortless with cataloging programs. I have used Excel for cataloging my articles and, although I have to resize the images for the thumbnail, it seems to work pretty well.

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sherry

I am not great on computer so what I need is a simple system to put all mr embroidery on and be able to find it and then send to my stick. is this whst you have and how much is it

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Debbie Henry

Sherry, probably the easiest and least expensive is Embrilliance Thumbnailer. If you know how to create folders on your computer to organize your designs, Thumbnailer will show you what they look like when you look in those folders. It is less than $45.

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Marlene Clausen

Do I need to place the same design in multiple folders if it fits more than one category? For example a design that is art nouveau, fruit, border. In my PEDesign I can’t “key word” a design, I actually have to store the PES file in folders for each “key word.” That creates a massive number of duplicate PES files and takes an enormous amount of space.

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Debbie Henry

It sounds as if that is the only option with PEDesign, Marlene. Embroidery files themselves take up very little space. The items that take up space are the photos and PDF instruction files.

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Anji

What a Godsend this post is! I have a question about the designs that I have already printed…. I have a billion (give or take a mill) designs that I have printed off and have them in about 10 binders, but I am DESPERATE TO SAVE THE SPACE those take up! :o( Ugh, I’m so frustrated, but I’m kinda scared to just toss all those printings… sheesh, what do I do, just suck it up and toss them anyway and use one of the programs above? Oh, please help, any advice would be SO appreciated!! THANKS in advance for any help!

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Debbie Henry

Anji, I wouldn’t throw them out – I’m sure that was a lot of work! I still want to see a print out of thread sequences/colors when I embroider. Plus, I often add notes to the sheets. The benefit to keeping printouts is that you have all of the information about the design for quick reference. The cataloging programs allow you to organize and find your designs more efficiently. I think there is great value to keeping your printouts. If you want to use the space that 10 binders take up for something else, consider printing or exporting your stitch information files as a PDF or JPG. (Most embroidery designs include a PDF or JPG of the stitchout sequence.) Then you can view the electronic version of the binders.

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Jenean Adams

If I were to purchase Embrialliance Thumbnailer….do I have to use/have the Embrialliance software? I currently use PE Design Next. In addition, I use a Mac and a Windows computer (use Parallels program so the Mac reads my windows files). I really just want all the files together in one central place so they are easy to find and I can see them. And be able to copy the entire “embroidery file/catalog to an external hard drive to free up space on my computer. Can anyone HELP ME??

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Debbie Henry

Jenean, I believe Thumbnailer is a stand alone program – it works independently of Embrilliance. Thumbnailer also comes with the windows version included so it will work on both the mac and pc.

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BRITTANY

I have been using the images that came free with my machine. a friend recently gave me 20,000 plus images for free on a USB. I bought a laptop just for embroidering and I am having trouble opening them up off the usb. any help with how to save them and to use them on a computer?

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Debbie

Brittany,
In order to open the files from a laptop, you need an embroidery program like Embrilliance or something native to your sewing machine model. Embroidery files are created to be used by specific type of machine. Only your machine or an embroidery editing/cataloging program will allow you do do anything else with those embroidery files. Enjoy your wonderful gift (I’m assuming the designs were purchased for you since it is illegal to share them)!

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Robin French

Do any of these software programs allow a backup/restore of your category/indexes so if you lose your hard drive, and then have to reinstall your software you can recover your category/indexes? I have Studio Plus & Studio III. I lost my hard drive and had to reinstall the software, but cannot seem to be able to find/hook to my categories. I was able to restore all of my designs. I spent many hours sorting and categorizing my designs and I don’t want to have redo them again…..

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Debbie Henry

Not sure Robin, but that is an excellent question. I’d check with each company for specifics.

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Vilma

Well, I have a dilemma. I have the Catalog it program. Four or five years ago, I bought a new latop just for my embroidery. Since then, I have tried to install it in my “new laptop). Amazing designs finally gave a new key so I could install it. However I was very disappointed that the same problems I had with the program 7 years ago, it is still there. No improvements have been done, and I need an organizational program as I have over 27,000 designs and I waste sooo much time looking for the designs. So, if you have a lot of designs and have a program that will organize the designs please,…. Let me know what works for you. Thanks. Vilma

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Debbie

I’m curious to know if you were able to get Catalog It! working on your new laptop. Also just have new laptop & Catalog It! won’t find my previous catalog. Their ‘support team’ says: Unfortunately you do basically need to start over filing your designs. I only have 7000 but still, what’s the point of having a paid for program that doesn’t allow backup and restore to a new PC?

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Sandykj

I have Bernina Artista Software, will this class really help me? What software program are you using to teach the class?

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Debbie Henry

Sandykj, it says that the class uses Brother PE-Design® Next and Babylock Palette.

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Carol

Brittany, this is why you can’t ope the designs on the USB from your friend. They weren’t purchased originally by you for your particular format. Illegal activity here, I think. Buy from the seller and not someone else who has already paid for the designs, the correct way.

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Angel

Hello, I currently have my designs sorted in multiple folders on my computer but many of my designs could easily fit into more than one design category ( an example would be a Christmas Penguin – it could be in my Christmas folder but also in my Animal folder & also in my Infant & my Kids folder) . I have Embrilliance Thumbnailer but I need something more like a database that would allow me to list my designs in more than one category without copying them into separate folders. I saw an interesting program from Wilcom called Design Workflow that looks like it would sort and list my designs in a much more cohesive manner BUT it’s very expensive! Is there a similar program that would allow me to set up a searchable database of my designs that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg?

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Debbie Henry

Did you check out any of the programs listed above? Many will allow you to try them before you buy them.

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Linda Garcia

I’m looking for software that not only catalogs designs but allows you to create a thread palate from the threads that you have (not just one thread manufacturer). I’d like to create a custom palate and replace the thread list of the design with my custom threads. Do you know of anything that does that?

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Linda Garcia

Have you ever heard of Easy Organizer Suite? It has an Easy Threads component that sounds like what I’m looking for. But I can’t find any reviews about it. Let me know if you’ve ever heard of this software. Thanks.

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