Design File Downloading Help & Hints

Download Printable Instructions
Below are some helpful hints, questions and answers, and downloading instructions for our IEC members.

IEC Requirements:
In order for our designs to work on your embroidery machine, you must have:

  1. A computer to download the designs to.
  2. Compatible hardware and/or embroidery software that can read the designs FROM the computer and transfer them TO your embroidery machine.
    These may include, but are not limited to, the capability to use serial or USB cable connections, a memory stick device, or a reader/writer box such as the Magic Box or Amazing Box.
  3. Compatible embroidery hoop sizes to match the design sizes we offer.
    The design sizes we most commonly support fit within either a 4x4" or 5x7" hoop. Whenever feasible, we will provide divided 5x7" designs for the benefit of 4x4" hoop users. Users of the smaller divided design formats will be expected to know how to sew the divided designs with their embroidery machines.

Preparation Guidelines:
There isn't anything complicated about the downloading process, but there are several decisions that you must make before you begin.

  1. Determine which embroidery format works on your machine.
    Most embroidery machine manufacturers recommend their preferred "default" format. Below is a list of common machine brands and the formats they recommend.
    .ART - for Bernina Artista users
    .CSD - for Toyota POEM, Viking Huskygram, and Singer EU users
    .DST - Tajima format
    .EXP - DOS expanded format
    .HUS - for Husqvarna, Viking users
    .JEF - for Janome users
    .PCM - for MacPfaff users
    .PCS - for Pfaff users
    .PES - for Baby Lock, Bernina, and Brother users
    .SEW - for Janome, Elna, and Kenmore users
    .SHV - for Viking Designer 1 (floppy disk-based format used in D1 only)
    .VIP - for Pfaff 2140, Husqvarna/Viking users
    .VP3 - for Pfaff, Husqvarna/Viking users
    .XXX - for Singer XL users

[Hint: If you ever experience problems with a format, we recommend that you try the DST format. Most all machines can also read the DST format in addition to their "default" format.]

  1. Determine where on your computer to store the downloaded embroidery files.
    1. We do not recommend downloading files to the computer's desktop (its messy and somewhat unsafe), or to floppy disks (its slow and not enough room).
    2. Always download files to your computer's hard drive in file folders of your choosing.
    3. Organize and create descriptive embroidery folder names for the design downloads so when you are asked to save them, you will know where you put them and can find them easily.

[Hint: We highly recommend that new computer users become familiar with "Explorer". Windows Explorer is a Microsoft's file management program that provides detailed information about your files, folders, and drives. It allows you to see how your files are organized and to copy, move, and rename files, as well as perform other tasks pertaining to files, folders, and drives. The simplest way to access Windows Explorer is to right-click the Start menu and select Explore.]

Design Downloading Steps:
The downloading steps are described below. Your browser's version may have slightly different messages, but the functions performed should give the same results.
1. From the desired design's Internet download page, SELECT (left-click) the embroidery's zipped format link for your embroidery machine.

2. A "File Download" dialog box will appear and ask: "Do you want to run or save this file?" Select the SAVE option button; the dialog box will close.

3. Next, a "Save As" selection window will appear.
a. The "Save In" selection box at the top of the window should contain the file folder name to save the zipped file to.
(In the example below, the "IEC2011Designs" folder is where I originally downloaded my zipped files to. See the Reminder notes if you need to change this folder.)
b. The "File name" selection box at the bottom of the window should contain the zipped filename that you're downloading to the new folder.
c. If everything is correct in the boxes, select the SAVE button at the bottom of the selection box to save the zipped file and close this selection window.

[Reminder: If the file folder in the "Save In" box is not where you want to save the design to, use the little arrow-down button at the end of the "Save In" selection box to go down the hierarchy of directories/file folders. Use the up-arrow-folder icon to go up the hierarchy of directories/file folders. Use the asterisk-folder icon to create a new sub-folder under the folder that is showing in the "Save In" selection box. Use the selection list area below the "Save In" box to select (double-click) the desired file folder in the list and place it in the "Save In" box.]
4. It is important to remember where you saved the compressed (zipped) downloaded file. If necessary, write it down because you will need to find it again later in these instructions when you unzip it.
5. You have completed the downloading steps and should have a zipped design file, so CLOSE or EXIT the Internet download website.

Once I download the design files from the Internet site, are they ready to use?
Not just yet.
The files you downloaded are compressed (zipped). They cannot be used in the compressed form and MUST be unzipped before your embroidery software or machine will recognize them as valid design files.
[Repeat Reminder: You must unzip the files before trying to use them in your embroidery software or machine, otherwise they will not be recognized and you may get file read errors].

What is a Zipped file?
A Zipped file is a special "compressed" file that may contain one or more regular files or folders, much like folders on your hard disk. However, a compressed Zipped file is reduced in size to be much smaller than the size of the files it contains. Zipped files take up less space to store, take less time to send or download, and are a convenient way to package and send groups of related files. Before you can use the zipped files, you MUST first unzip them back to their original state (expanding or decompressing them). Don't worry if that sounds complicated, the zipping/unzipping software takes care of all the details.
[Note: Our design files have been compressed (zipped, made smaller) to reduce transfer time between computers and to allow multiple files to be transferred in one single file. If your file settings are set to show file extensions, the compressed file will have a filename extension of ZIP.]

How to Unzip a Zipped File:
If you're using Windows XP, Vista, or Windows7... continue here.
If you're using Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT, or Windows 2000... continue here.

A. If you're using Windows XP, Vista, or Windows7, then your operating system has built-in software to support ZIP files, meaning that you do not have to have any thirdparty software installed. If this is the case, use your computer's browser software (Windows Explore) and go to the file location where you downloaded the zipped file. Double-click on the zipped filename to automatically extract (unzip) the file. The unzipping process should automatically unzip the files to the current location (folder) where the zipped file resides. Depending on your computer's settings if the program does not automatically extract (unzip) the file, it may present an Extraction Wizard.
Follow any prompts given in the wizard to complete the task.
If on the other hand you have one of the above operating systems and also have thirdparty software installed, then extracting (unzipping) may give you slightly different prompts. WinRAR software was installed on my computer and used to extract (unzip) the downloaded file. See the example steps below.
1. Use the computer's browser software (Windows Explore) and go to the file location where the zipped file was downloaded.
In the example below--the zipped file was saved the in folder "IEC2011Designs".

2. Double-clicking on the zipped file icon began the unzipping process. Depending upon your computer's settings, the files will automatically be unzipped to the same location that the zipped file was in when it was double-clicked. If not, follow any prompts you are given to tell it where to unzip the files to, or drag and drop the unzipped files into the same folder as the zipped file.
In the example below--the unzipped files are now showing in the right pane. The PDF file is the stitch order thread color chart; the PES folder contains the design files.

If you double-click on the PES folder, the right pane will show the unzipped PES design formats.

3. Once the downloaded file has been unzipped, the new files are ready to use in your embroidery software or embroidery machine. If your computer's Explorer settings are set at "show file extensions", you can now see the embroidery design's file extension after the filename (i.e., ART, DST, EXP, etc.).
[Computer Housekeeping tip: Once you have the design files unzipped, there is no reason to keep the zipped file version. If desired, you may delete the zipped version to save computer storage space.]
4. You are done! So, CLOSE or EXIT the Explorer window.
B. If you're using Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT, or Windows 2000, then you'll need a secondary software program installed on your computer, like WINZIP, to handle ZIP files. If you already have WINZIP or another third-party Zip/Unzip utility software installed on your computer, use it to unzip the downloaded files. (WINZIP was the first ever Zip/Unzip utility for Windows -- Refer to for program information and usage.)
If you don't have WINZIP or a third-party Zip/Unzip utility installed, do a search on the Internet for "Free Zip & Unzip Software." When you find one you like, download it and install it on your computer. Then use it to unzip your zipped files, following whatever prompts you are given until the files are extracted (unzipped).

How can I get a 3-1/2" floppy for my Viking Designer 1 Model?
Our SHV format designs are configured in the correct five-file structure for a DOS-formatted floppy disk. Here is our recommendation for creating the special five-file structured 3-1/2" floppy.

  1. Download the zipped SHV design file (e.g. SHV.EXE or SHV.ZIP) to the computer's hard drive in a file location of your choosing. Be sure to create unique file folders for different SHV downloads to prevent overwriting previous data.
  2. The downloaded SHV file needs to be unzipped before you can use it. You can do that by double-clicking on the filename. If you have at least Windows XP-SP2 operating system, then double-clicking on the zipped downloaded filename will automatically unzip the file to the current location.
    [If you don't have at least Windows XP-SP2 version, you may need to run an additional software program like WINZIP to unzip the file(s). Refer to for program information and usage.]
  3. Once the SHV file is unzipped you will see the file contents as five pre-named files: MENU_01, MENU_02, MENU_03, MENU_04, and MENU_SEL.PHV. These files and filenames are required for the embroidery machine to recognize the design(s) on a floppy disk.
  4. Place a new or empty 3-1/2" DOS-formatted floppy into your computer's floppy drive and copy just the five-structured files to the floppy. Use only one five-structured set per floppy to prevent overwriting previous data.
  5. When the copy is complete, remove the floppy from the computer's floppy drive and write a unique file description on the floppy using a permanent floppy ink marker.
  6. The 3-1/2" floppy is now ready to use in your embroidery machine's floppy drive area.
    If you need additional help on creating or using an SHV 3-1/2" floppy, refer to the nearest Viking/Designer 1 dealer.

Can I Resize the Design File?
We generally do not recommend resizing designs as doing so can often affect the underlay, finished stitching, and can often distort a design. We cannot be responsible for the results if you choose to do so.