Software Lessons

What are Stitch Files? What are Object Files?

There are lots of file formats in the embroidery world. File formats are identified by their file extension, which are the three letters after the dot in a file name (for example, .sew or .jef).

 

What you'll learn
There are lots of file formats in the embroidery world. File formats are identified by their file extension, which are the three letters after the dot in a file name (for example, .sew or .jef).
DigitizerPro has the ability to open a design in any of twelve file formats and save it to any of eleven formats. In other words, DigitizerPro can convert twelve file formats to eleven.

Let's take a look at what formats are and what they mean.

Stitch Files
Embroidery designs are actually computer programs that direct the computer in the embroidery machine to lay down stitches at specific locations on a grid. Grid locations are given as x, y coordinates (please see lesson #82 Design Position). These computer programs are also known as stitch files.
Stitch files are the proprietary file types of the embroidery machine manufacturers. Each machine manufacturer has their own computer language, which is why there are so many file formats available.
When you see a file format, it is an identification of the computer language of the design. For example, .jef designs are written in Janome language; .pes designs are written in Brother language. When a design is converted from one format to another, it is actually being translated into another manufacturer's computer language.
Embroidery machines can only read their own language. That is why you cannot use designs written in a file format different from your machine's requirement.
In a stitch file, the directions to create the embroidery design proceed from first stitch to the last stitch.
If we could "surgically" open up a stitch file, it would look something like this:

  1. NEEDLE UP
  2. MOVE HOOP TO LOCATION X,Y
  3. NEEDLE DOWN, FORM STITCH
  4. NEEDLE UP
  5. MOVE HOOP TO LOCATION X,Y
  6. NEEDLE DOWN, FORM STITCH
  7. COLOR CHANGE - SEND ALERT
  8. WAIT FOR START BUTTON
  9. MOVE HOOP TO LOCATION X,Y
  10. NEEDLE DOWN, FORM STITCH

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The design file would be written in embroidery language, but it would be similar to the above instructions. One stitch at a time for as many stitches as there are in the embroidery design.
The stitch files that DigitizerPro can read can be seen when you open a design.

1. Click the Open icon
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OR
Click File, Open
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2. The Open dialog will appear.
3. Click the down arrow in the Files of type: box. You will get a submenu of the file formats that DigitizerPro can read. The stitch file types have a manufacturer associated with them. 
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4. Click the Cancel button
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5. The stitch file formats that DigitizerPro can save to can be seen when we save a design.
Click File, Save As
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6. The Save As dialog will appear.
7. Click the down arrow in the Files of type: box. You will get a submenu of the file formats that DigitizerPro can write. The stitch file types have a manufacturer associated with them. 
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8. Click .jef format. Change the design (file) name to Swans
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9. Click the Save button.
Note:those of you who changed the hoop to Hoop B will get the following message:
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10. It will appear that you cannot save the design to sew in this hoop. You can. To do so, click OK to close the error message.
11. Click the Options... button
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12. The Save Options dialog will appear. 
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13. Click the second, third, or fourth radio button (any button except the first, which is MC11000).
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14. Click OK. This will reset the embroidery machine choice for a Memory Craft that uses Hoop B.
15. Click Save. The design will save with the new name of Swans as a .jef format file.

Object Files
DigitizerPro is object-based software. That means when you open an embroidery design onto your design screen, no matter what its file format, DigitizerPro will go through the code and transform it into a set of objects. Objects are logical pieces or segments of a design.
DigitizerPro creates a special file in which it places the object information. This file has a format of .jan.
A .jan file is like a grouping of cubbyholes or slots. Each cubbyhole contains information about a single object in the design.
In the bowling design below, you can see several objects in the design. Objects have been moved to make them easier to see.
Each object would have a "slot" in the internal .jan file that was created in a temporary location when the design was opened. 
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The "slot" or "cubbyhole" would contain information about the object, such as its thread color, fill pattern, underlay, location coordinates, density - all of the information the software needs to recreate the embroidery.

If we could "surgically" open up an object file, it would look something like this: 
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Object 1 Left Bowling Pin

  • White Thread
  • Fill Pattern #1
  • Weave Underlay
  • Etc.
  • Object 2 Middle Bowling Pin
  • White Thread
  • Fill Pattern #1
  • Weave Underlay
  • Etc.
  • Object 3 Left Bowling Ball
  • Navy Thread
  • Fill Pattern #1
  • Weave Underlay
  • Etc.
  • Etc.

That is why it is so easy to modify embroidery on the screen - because it is in object format. If you change any component that makes up the object, DigitizerPro recreates the entire embroidery instantly.
Note:You gain access to an object by selecting it.
For example, if you selected and changed the left bowling pin from Fill Pattern #1 to Fill Pattern #5, only the fill pattern instructions for the object have to change. DigitizerPro doesn't have to read through line after line of stitch instructions to find all of the left bowling pin instructions. It goes to the "slot" for the left bowling pin, changes the fill pattern direction, and then recreates the entire embroidery.
A .jan file is a working file within the DigitizerPro software.
You cannot run a .jan file on any embroidery machine.
However, if you have a design on your design screen, it will automatically be converted to a .jef file when you transfer it to your Memory Craft 11000, 10001, or 10000 via USB cable or when you write it to flash media for your Memory Craft 11000, 10001, 10000, 9700, 9500, or 300E.
When you create a brand new design, we suggest that you only need to save it as an object file (in .jan format). That way it will always keep its object integrity, and doesn't have to be retranslated from stitch file to object file when you plan to modify it.

If you are planning to transfer several designs at one time (which all must be in .jef format) to a Memory Craft, or you are planning to use it in Customizer software (where it also must be in .jef format), then save it as a .jef file, also. But, if you are going to modify the design in the future, change the .jan file and resave the .jef file.
1. To save the Kissing Swans design as a .jan file, click File, Save As...
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The Save As dialog box will appear. 
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2. Because the object format is so important, the .jan file type is the default file type.
3. Change the name to Swans.
4. Click the Save button.
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Baking Bread Analogy 
Here's a useful analogy: if we were to compare embroidery files to bread, when you start out making the bread, you can see the ingredients around the bowl, such as yeast, flour, and milk. When the bread ingredients are mixed together and baked, you can't distinctly see the ingredients. You know they're in there, but you can't see them.
The distinct ingredients are like a .jan or object-based file. You can change the ingredients to change the type of bread.
The baked loaf of bread is like a .jef or .sew or stitch-based file. 

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You cannot change the ingredients after the bread is baked.

However, the reason you can modify a design, even a stitch file, is that DigitizerPro can find the objects! It is like taking a loaf of bread and determining which ingredients made up the bread.
And, it lets you change the objects after the fact to recreate the embroidery.
That's very powerful software.

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