Delete or Keep? Cleaning Up Embroidery Files

Think it is a good idea to delete embroidery files that you are not using? Maybe not!

Since we are on the topic of organizing embroidery designs and cataloging them for easy retrieval, you may think that it is a good idea to delete files you aren’t using.

If you look at this directory of files included in Bonnie’s Santa Buddies 1, you will see a folder of SVG files that work with cutting machines. Two PDF files, a tutorial and color charts for the designs, are essential and should be kept. The rest are embroidery designs. They have file extensions of HUS, EXP, PES, etc.

If your machine uses JEF files, you may think that you don’t need to keep the other embroidery design files. You may want to delete them to free up space on your storage device. The Santa Buddies 1 file in JEF format is just 43 KB, DST is 54 KB, and EXP is only 42 KB. In the computer world, that is like a speck of salt. You could spend hours deleting all of the non-JEF files from your computer and only clear up additional storage space the size of a grain of rice.

Maybe you don’t currently have a cutting machine and want to delete the SVG folder. At just 2 and 6 KB, the SVG files take up even less space than the embroidery design files. Keep them, you may get a Scan’N Cut or Cameo some day.

So, it really is not worth your time or storage space to delete the files you may not need. Besides, you may need other formats in case

  • You buy another embroidery machine that requires a different file format, or
  • Your design becomes corrupt in some way and you need to convert another file.




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  • Phyllis M. - July 25, 2022

    Thanks Bonnie, you just same me a massive amount of time, because I thought all those other embroidery files were taking up a lot of space. I now know that are not.

  • Bonnie Welsh - September 16, 2020

    Kristine—Love your solution! =)

  • Bonnie Welsh - September 16, 2020

    Sharyn—There are some PDF compression programs that are on the Internet. Just Google “Compress PDF” and see what comes up. Sometimes the quality of the file will be affected but a lot of times not. Always compare the original PDF to the compressed one as I’ve seen pictures disappear on some too. But most are very helpful. Worth a shot.

  • Bonnie Welsh - September 16, 2020

    Jacque—Personally, I’d always keep your machine’s format (if it reads a couple different formats keep both). I’d also keep the format that the digitizer uses if available as it’s probably the “purest” version.

  • Bonnie Welsh - September 16, 2020

    Pea—Keeping 2-3 formats sounds good. If you happen to know the digitizer’s “native” format, saving that would be good too as conversions are normally most accurate the closer you are to the original file. Not all conversion programs convert all formats equally.

  • Bonnie Welsh - September 16, 2020

    Janet—Sounds like you’re covered! =)

  • Bonnie Welsh - September 16, 2020

    Pal—You’re exactly right and why it concerns me when I hear of so many ladies relying on digitizers to be their backup if or when their computer crashes. =/

  • Bonnie Welsh - September 16, 2020

    Dawn—Good points. I’m glad to hear you keep more than one version though. =)

  • Kristine Alvarez - September 15, 2020

    I keep a back up stick with my original zip files, and only download on my computer those that I would need to create. I agree with others, the visual clutter is distracting.

  • Sharyn - September 14, 2020

    I delete all but my format and a pes or art file. I have software to convert if need be. Although small, the extra format files just create visual clutter for me when looking for something. The biggest issue I have is the size of the PDF files that come with the designs. They are sometimes massive , and they all add up to be the biggest space takers. I haven’t found a solution for those. Thanks for your info.

  • jacque riese - September 14, 2020

    Thanks for the clarification on which files to keep. I am beginning to clean my files up and this really helped.

  • Pea Farm - September 14, 2020

    I delete all but 2 or 3 formats. As you can see, .pes takes up more space than 2 or 3 of the others but vip, hus and pes are my preferences. They, too are backed up on external and usbs as a well as saved in my organizational folders. Everyone has software of some sort that can convert easily to another format so why save them. Over time that little bit of KB turns in to larger and larger lost space on a computer plus to me they junk up my folders and have to forage for what I own and only need. Unless another brand of machine jumps into my lap for free or near free I would never plan on having to use them—3 formats are good enough for me.

  • Janet McBride - September 14, 2020

    Hi Debbie, I have an external hard drive where I keep all of my files. I then put only the DST, and PES file formats in my Designer gallery embroidery files and a folder in Documents. This way I have 3 places where they are safe. Especially in the external hard drive.
    I own a Baby Lock and Brorher but you are right some day I might purchase a different format machine.
    Besides that in some programs you can save one ie HUS to a DST if you happen to have lost it.

  • Pat Cunningham - September 14, 2020

    I always keep PES for my Brother machines, but also keep the DST files because they can be read by all machines as well as the software I use. Numerous times it has helped me recover a PES file by opening the DST file in my software and saving it as the PES. It is like having a backup for my designs, which comes in handy when a designer goes out of business. That has happened several times since I began embroidering.

  • Dawn Jennings - September 14, 2020

    Hi Bonnie and Debbie, One good reason I have found to delete designs in formats I don’t want, is when I do a search for designs on my computer it comes up with dozens of the design if there are multiple sizes and formats and it can be hard to see what you really have, so now I keep JEF for my Janome machines and PES for a backup and delete the rest. I really enjoy your tips and hints. Dawn Jennings

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