“How do I save my embroidery designs?” is one of the questions we hear the most. You’ve spent big bucks on some beautiful embroidery designs, and you want to be able to find them easily when you need them. You also want to keep your designs safe in the long run; in the worst case scenario of a hard drive crash, you’ll be so relieved and happy to know that your design files are securely stored and can easily be recovered. In this edition of Enlightened Embroidery, we’ll discuss the where, what, when, and how to do this!
Design files will come by way of online downloads, CDs, and USB memory sticks (also called flash or thumb drives). While you’ll keep all of these, you shouldn’t depend on them for extended storage. Downloads can be accidentally deleted, CDs and USBs can be lost, scratched, or corrupted. We suggest that you develop a storage system that is right for you: simple, user friendly, and error free. Think KISS! (No, not the heavy metal rock band–Keep It Simple, Sewer!)
The best place to store your embroidery design files is on your home computer. USB memory sticks are perfect to transfer designs, but not a good place for permanent storage. Create your storage area on the C: drive on your desktop or laptop. An example of how you can create your storage directories is shown below.
- A main directory “Designs” is created on the C: drive.
- Under the “Designs” directory, subdirectories have been created for each of the embroidery design vendors.
- As you add designs to your library you will create additional subdirectories under each of your vendors. Note the “Bernina” subdirectory and its subdirectories.
- BE SURE to create a “My Designs” directory so you have a place to store your modified or created designs.
What and When
It‘s best to copy ALL of your files to your computer as soon as you get them. It beats looking for a lost USB stick or CD when you’re ready to embroider. Bernina users, please note that you can copy the design files which come with your embroidery machine to a USB stick, and move them to your computer. Cool, huh? Now you have a backup of those gorgeous designs!
If you’re not a computer guru, you probably could use a little help. Let’s walk through the steps, based on our example above. The directories in these steps are guidelines only. Tailor the storage directories to suit you. (Windows 10 is used for these examples but older operating systems have the same capabilities.)
- Open up Windows Explorer. Navigate to your C: drive.
- Select the Create New Folder Icon. Rename to “Designs”. (If you get tired of scrolling down to your “Designs” directory every time you want to use it, I have a little tip for you: simply rename your “Designs” directory to “1-Designs”. This places it at the top of the list.)
- Click on the “Designs” folder. Create a subdirectory “Bernina”.
- Continue adding subdirectories for each of your vendors. (Make sure you remain in C: > Designs. Otherwise your subdirectories will end up under the Bernina directory.
Now, it’s time to copy your design files from your CDs, USB, and Download directory, into your storage area. The example below demonstrates how to copy files from a USB memory stick.
Copy Your Design Files
- Insert the USB memory stick into your computer’s USB port. Click on the USB drive in Windows Explorer (i.e. E:/LBQ Mixed Mutts)
- Once opened, select the folder containing the embroidery design folder(s) for your embroidery machine. (Note to Bernina users: include artV6/7 files along with the EXP files, just in case you want to edit the files). Click on the Copy to Icon at the top of the page.
- Choose Browse Location to open up the browse window. Navigate to the C: drive > Designs> Lunch Box Designs. Watch your files copy over to your computer.
That’s it! Repeat these three steps to move all of your designs to your chosen folders.
Backup of designs
Oh no! What happens if your computer crashes and dies? All of your designs were on there! There’s an answer to this : back up your designs on a regular basis. Once a month is good, if you are actively acquiring files, or else every time you add new designs to your library. There are numerous ways to backup your designs, including backing up the entire computer drive using 3rd party software (best method), or only the designs themselves. I suggest purchasing a portable, removable hard drive. There are several on the market, and are available at Best Buy or online. Most have way more storage capacity than you’ll ever use, but I recommend that you get at least 100 Gigabytes. (In this case, more is always better).
Here are some sample steps to move your design files over to the external drive
- Plug in the external drive to your computer.
- Navigate to the C: drive.
- Select the “Designs” directory and click on the Copy To Icon
- Select Choose Location at the bottom to open the browse window. Navigate to the external drive (i.e. E:/)
- Watch your design files copy over to the external drive.
Hope this helps you (and motivates you) to create, maintain, and backup your very own embroidery design storage. If you have any questions or suggestions, we’re always happy to hear them.
Sharon and Becky