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Embird or Buzz Tools-Which One?

Ringo4 | Posted in Machine Embroidery on

I have purchased a new embroidery machine, but the embroidery software was better on my old one.  I have been looking at Embird and Buzz Tools, but I have not had time to download the trial on each one.  Would you all please be willing to share your comments and experience with me so I do not overlook something important when I choose.

Thank you all



  1. Pattiann42 | | #1

    What brand of EM did you have and what brand do you have now? 

    Embird seems to be the most popular software with the forums I use.  If you check their website, you will see that you do not have to buy the entire program.

    My son tried Buzz to digitize photos and didn't care for it.  We switched to and are still using PE Design, because at the time I was using a Brother home embroidery machine and wanted to stay with the brand.

    1. Ringo4 | | #2

      Thank you for your reply.  I had a Pfaff with the 3-D embroidery basic.  Which went with my machine.  I bought the Janome 11000 last month.  I have the basic Customizer 11000.  From the little time that I have had to use it since I have to work also, my 3-D was better. I should have kept it so I have found out!!  I have tried to purchase it on Ebay.  But For a used copy, it sells fast and I believe for more than what I paid for it.  I had to  purchase Buzz Tools Explore just to be able to convert designs.

      Please give me the names of the other forums that you visit.


      Edited 10/24/2007 4:08 pm ET by Ringo4

      1. Pattiann42 | | #4

        Before you purchased Buzz Tools, did you check the free conversion software sites?

        I am not familiar with the brands of machines that you use, so cannot be 100% sure, but the sites are Pulse Ambassador and Wilcom.   Pulse, I used & Wilcom, I have seen recommended many times.

        You may get more responses on this forum, but the one I favor (sorry, Threads) is sewforum.com.  The other one is patternreview.

  2. MargieT | | #3

    Can I jump on my soap box and recommend Embird?  This is an amazing program with so may possibilities.  With this program you can store your designs, convert designs, split designs, print templates and thumbnails and view your designs in 3D. You can even work out how much thread you need for each design!  These are just a few of the functions off the top of my head - the ones I use most frequently.  The basic cost will enable you to do all this.  There is an extra cost for the digitizing program `Studio' and for the font management program - `Font Engine'.  Embird is a very cheap program compared to many others on the market and worth every cent.  Download the trial and give it a go.  Bye the way, I am not affiliated with Embird just a very happy user.

    1. maggiecoops | | #6

      Margie t, is there room on your soap box for another Embird enthusiast. I own Embird basic suite, Studio, the digitising plug in, and Cross stitcher. I also own Janomes Digi Pro and Customiser 11000, then you can add to those Generations as well.

      Embirds manager on it's own is a great file manager, embroidery conversion tool, thread colour changer, plus a whole lot more. The Editor is fantastic, it would be quicker to list what it doesnt do, the washing, ironing cooking. In those two elements of the program you have all you could want if you dont want to digitise your own designs. It's digitiser is good, it wont auto digitise, it was never intended for the auto digitising market. In fact initially it was intended for the commercial embroidery digitisers, so has some of the elements found in the commercial packages.

      I also have Janomes Digi Pro, a good honest not too many frills digitising program, with an excellent lettering facility and an auto digitising function. Something I dont use as auto digitising requires a lot of editing or careful thought, resequencing and altering start and stop points. Manual digitising from scratch is a much better option, plus Digi Pro has a shallow learning curve. Customiser I don't use,.

      Generations is awesome, has a steep learning curve but is well worth the climb.

      I did own PEDesign many years ago, but never got on with it, and the upgrades were so expensive. At the time a days tuiton cost a weeks salary for me and I had to travel miles to have it. I couldnt justify it so put the program away.

      Which brings me round to Embird again, I paid less for the 4 elements of Embird I own than I paid for PEDesign in the mid 90s, less than Digi Pro, and a lot less than Generations. The upgrades are a modest price, there's masses of support on the web, and the authors listen to the users. What more is there to say.

      Edited 10/30/2007 10:10 am ET by maggiecoops

      1. MargieT | | #7

        Welcome to my soap box.  Does anyone else out there want to join us? Membership is free.

        1. fiberfan | | #11

          I am another Embird fan.  I have Studio and 2 alphabets in additional to the basic program.  My latest embroidery use was a cat applique for a 50s circle skirt.  I scanned the applique from the pattern and digitized the design.  I used Studio the other day to draw an image with some curves, it is so easy to get a curve with just the right shape in Studio.


          1. MargieT | | #12

            I haven't tried Studio as I am not really interested in digitizing - it might be something that I could do in the future.  I have heard that the program is excellent.  Do you belong to Kathy Jones's studio club?

          2. fiberfan | | #15

            I do not belong to Kathy Jones's studio club.  I am a member of Amy Webster's yahoo group and have learned a lot from her tutorials.  I don't do a lot of digitizing but I do like Studio.


      2. Cherrypops | | #10


        Many thanks for your informative reply.

        I too, am choosing between Embird and BuzzTools.

        I have customizer but I haven't used it much.

        Please look up and read my reply to MargieT, as this site doesn't allow replies to more than one member, and then you get in trouble for posting the same message twice. 'spamming' the discussions.

        I will let you ALL know what my decision is.

        CherryP (sydney)

      3. MaryinColorado | | #16

        Thanks for the great overview of the software.  Very helpful.  Mary

    2. Cherrypops | | #9


      You and a lot of other embroiderers highly recommend Embird. Through my Forum trawls there is so much more help for that programme than there is for BuzzTools.

      Buzz2Stitches is on offer now, my mother-in-law has offered to purchase it for me for xmas. She bought me BuzzExplore and Edit for my birthday, and I am still trying to get my head around those! She uses Buzz software and also Generations....Never heard of Embird.

      I use a Janome 350e and am also considering the Janome Digitizer Pro software, as I have Customizer (updated for 350e).

      I will download the trials of Embird soon. 

      I would like a great programme at a great price. I'm not in a business, just a happy sewing mum!

      CherryP (sydney)





      1. MargieT | | #13

        For value for money Embird is an excellent option.. I have a 300E and have been using Embird with it for about 18 months with great success.  Machine embroidery can become a very expensive hobby with the cost of threads, stabilizers and designs etc etc.  Embird is a way that the cost can be reduced and as Maggie says there is very little it can't do.  Help with the housework may be in the next version!

        1. Cherrypops | | #14

          I'm with you on the expenses and housework issues.

          One question:

          Does Embird ( which package ) convert graphics files such as .jpg or .bmp into a .jef file.?

          Thanks for your help.



          1. maggiecoops | | #17

            Hi Cherry p, Embird wont convert a graphic into embroidery, it's not an auto digitising package. I'm not a fan of auto digitising or thedesigns they generate, unless the digitiser really knows their craft, the point, click and stitch designs leave an awful lot to be desired. It may sound strange, but to be able to auto digitise well, you need to have mastered manual digitising. It helps to build an understanding of the relationship between stitches thread and fabric, the importance of pathing, or travelling, density settings, the role of underlays, what push pull distortion is and how to help alleviate its effects,how using the angle of fills  and stitch lengths reflect light to create the illusion of movement and colour. Just importing a graphic and hitting the create stitches icon, wont do that, nor will it allow you to understand what you need to do to make your design stitch out perfectly.  It really is worth the effort learning to manually digitise, it doesnt matter which software you choose, and we will all tell you, ours is the best, because it's what we use and chose, it's how much you want to learn about your software, and discover ways to create designs you can stand up and say proudly, I digitised that.

            Embird has a steep learning curve, but theres plenty of groups out there offering support. Kathy Jones, Amy webster are two excellent embird teachers.  I use both Embird and Janomes Digi Pro, the latter has a shallower learning curve, but hand on heart I cannot and will not say one is better than the other, they are different, all I can say, is Embird is an awful lot of program for its price. How you use what they offer is up to you.

            Edited 10/31/2007 12:11 pm ET by maggiecoops

          2. Ringo4 | | #18

            Thanks to all of you for continuing my question.  I had almost given up on more responses.  I have just downloaded the trial for Embird.  Wow!  Just from briefly looking, the Embird setup is very different from what I had and the Janome Customizer 11000 which appears to be very basic.   I have not been at the machine embroidery for very long.  You all rave about the things that Embird can do, but I really do not understand a lot of those things.  I was just beginning to learn when I changed machines and software.  I knew enough about my old 3-D software to realize that the Janome Customizer is not as good.

            Before my trial time is up, would you all give the names and places to find the help groups that you talked about?  I know just the basics.  I do not know much at all about the editing tools that I see you all talk about.  Ignorance combined with 60 year old gray matter and lack of time due to being self employed makes for a difficult learning curve!! 

            I appreciate all of the help that you have given me.


          3. maggiecoops | | #21

            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/flyingneedle_studio_club/   Deals with the studio digitising plug in.

            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/flyingneedle_champagne_club/   Using the editor to split and realign large designs down into small hoops. Both these sites have an annual subscription. they really are worth it, kathies lesson are comprehensive and easily followed.


             http://www.aldawldup.com/ Amy websters group, and her web site. Another excellent teacher of Embird

            http://www.flyingneedle.ca/  Kathy Jones website, she has a nice gentle style.

            http://www.secretsof.com/content/1798   Carolyn Kebers tutorials are on this site, she's another good Embird teacher.

            If you google Embird tutorials you should see quite a few sites.

            When you first open Embird the screen is confusing, I wish I could fathom out how to post an attachment as I have written an intro to Embirds manager and editor for my group. I have tried several times but with no success.

          4. Ringo4 | | #28

            Thank you so much.  I still have several days left on my free trial since I just started it.  Now if I can just get the hang of using the Yahoo Groups.  What a new world all of this is! I hope that everyone else has gotten as much out of this as I have. 

            Thanks again to everyone- keep talking, and maybe we will all learn more.


          5. Cherrypops | | #29

            Hi Ringo,

            Glad you received more links for yahoo groups. I am a member of a few sewing ones. They do take a bit of getting used to so if you need help holler!

            Edited 10/31/2007 8:11 pm by Cherrypops

          6. Cherrypops | | #30

            Thanks for putting up the individual links. I am a member of a few sewing groups so I shall join these also and see what they have to offer.


          7. Cherrypops | | #24

            Hi Ringo,

            I am in the same boat as you on this.

            Thanks to Maggiecoops and her 'name drops',

            I found the website for Amy Webster  http://www.aldawldup.com/ and her yahoo group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DigiStudio/

            Kathy Jones is http://www.flyingneedle.ca/index.php

            I will begin with these as I am sure there are many more help groups

            This link has a bit more info about Amy Webster with other links to online groups http://tanyatheartbutcher.blogspot.com/2006/12/embird-resources.html

            Have fun!

            CherryP - sydney -


          8. MargieT | | #31

            There is a Yahoo group for embird beginners - I'm not sure of the exact name but if you look in Yahoo groups you will find it there.  I belong to [email protected] and that is very informative.  Kathy Jones is an excellent moderator and very helpful. Flying Needle is another great information source - Kathy Jones again.  http://www.flyingneedle.com

            Have fun!

          9. MargieT | | #20

            Excellent, clear reply regarding graphic designs. 

          10. maggiecoops | | #22

            Thanks Margie, it is a shame the basic suite is so confusing at first glance as it really is an excellent appliction. I use Janomes Digi pro for 60% of my digitising, the other 40 % I use Studio and Generations. However I use Embirds Editor for all my editing needs. I dont think there's another available that is as comprehensive, certainly the editors in my other packages dont even begin to compare. I love the way I can do  format changes in manager, doing one or a dozen at once, so easy, or writing designs to my compact flash card if I want to.  I'm exploring the x stitch plug in, when I get  2 minutes here and there. seems really promising.  

          11. Cherrypops | | #23

            Many thanks Maggie,

            "It may sound strange, but to be able to auto digitise well, you need to have mastered manual digitising".

            Manual and Auto is the keyword! Between posting and reading your reply I spent time researching online and upon reading your excellent comment, I feel Manual would suit me better. Also, the support for Embird through other sites and forums dedicated to embroidery is excellent - another plus.

            I have downloaded an Embird Manual .pdf (2003) there may be changes since then but it is a start and I have bookmarked the Flying Needle website. I have located the Embird Studio Group and website of Amy Webster.

            I understand you cannot compare software. they are and need to be different.

            I initially considered Janome Digi Pro. Does Janome Digi Pro need Customiser to work fully or is it a standalone? I have Customiser but don't use it a lot.

            I will be hiding for a while, reading all the new information.

            Thanks again for your help, I really appreciate it.




          12. maggiecoops | | #26

            Digi pro is 3 seperate applications in one, it's got a design browser, not bad, an editor, very limited, and the digitising application.  Digi Pro, Easy Design is an excellent digitising package, I use mine a lot and have a small group of Janome users plus some embird users, and no I'm not looking for members. The Customiser is a totally seperate application, it's a layout  customising application with a very limited digitising element. I do get annoyed when dealers tell new machine and software owners they need both.  That's naughty, you don't.

          13. Cherrypops | | #27


            Its so much nicer to talk about these issues with those who use the programmes, are happy with the programmes, understand the ins and outs of them, willing to spend the time giving advice to us novices, and honest about everything else.!

            Thanks again.

            CherryP - sydney -

          14. MaryinColorado | | #33

            You, "hiding for awhile"?  I'll believe it when I see it!  lol, just kidding ya know.  We will miss you sorely, hope you can speedread and get back on soon.  I know that dense material will take alot of concentration though, good luck! 

          15. Cherrypops | | #39

            Hiding to read and finish the nativity play costumes for the Kindergarten Class. 8 to go. I am happy with my progress. Won't be gone too long, ya know I love a good chat!

            I am playing with the Embird tutorial at night time. Reading the info from Maggiecoops has help a lot.


          16. MargieT | | #19

            Converting files is done in the basic Embird package.  Sorry, I can't answer the question regarding the graphic files as I have never used them.  I checked it out on the Embird help menu and it says that the graphic files can be viewed in Embird but does not convert them.  Perhaps someone who is familiar with using graphic files can give you more information.

            I have just read Maggie's reply so you have your answer.

            Edited 10/31/2007 5:42 pm ET by MargieT

          17. Cherrypops | | #25

            Thanks for being honest.

            I'm glad I have both of you.

            I replied to Maggie also, and I will certainly enjoy reading the Authors info she suggested.




  3. MaryinColorado | | #5

    I have heard good things about Masterworks and I eventually will buy the Correll DraWings digitizing software (as the 4D is just too expensive and Correll has such great graphics and computer savvy.)   It seems to me that the sewing machine companies deliberately limit thier software so they can sell you something more expensive in a year or two and always keep you on the line.  I'm still using the OLD software that came with my Husq/Viking D1.

  4. Cherrypops | | #8

    thanks for asking this, i too am deciding between the two. i look forward to seeing the replies.

  5. Cherrypops | | #32

    Hi Ringo,

    In a previous post MaggieCoops mentioned an Intro to Embird ; information she wrote for her group.

    I am uploading this on Maggies behalf as Maggie was having problems uploading the file.

    Give the attachment a second or two to open. either click on it directly or right click and say open in new window.

    I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


    Edited 11/1/2007 6:12 pm by Cherrypops

    1. MaryinColorado | | #34

      Sounds very helpful.  I tried the download and waited but it came up as a blank page.  Mary

      1. maggiecoops | | #44

        Hi Mary, if you right click on the attachment and select save target as, it should download for you. Otherwise right click on it, select open in new window, and when it opens go to the File heading in the top left tool bar , wopen it and ask it to save a copy, choose a destination and hit save.

        Forgive me if you've done all this, love mags

    2. Ringo4 | | #35

      Thanks once again for the info.  I am printing it off write now.  Life does interrupt much to my dismay.  I will hopefully get to it this weekend.

      Has anyone else experienced unusual visual screen effects with their computer after downloading Embird?  Since I downloaded,  I am getting weird background colors on my desktop and when I log in.  Since I work from home, I have it on my business computer for now.  But this is scary.  I may have to remove it and put it on my old laptop.

      Thanks again and everyone have a good weekend.



      1. Cherrypops | | #36


        I downloaded the Embird Tutorials for Manager and Studio.

        Yes! I have experienced visual screen effects. And like you am considering uninstalling it at re-installing on my other pc.

        The desktop screen icons 'refresh' a few times.

        I am yet to investigate this further. But it does not happen with any other programme.






        1. Ringo4 | | #37

          Thanks Cherrypops.  The computer that I have it on is a Sony about 2 or 3 years old not the new vista.  My big concern is that my laptop is about 5 years old.  Both run Windows XP.  How about you what do you have?

          I just checked my ram memory.  I only have 512MB.  This could be the problem.  Maybe someone else would check their computers and let us know how much ram they have.

          Love all you ladies for being so helpful.  Sorry- maybe some of you are guys too!!


          Edited 11/3/2007 9:09 am ET by Ringo4

          1. ricstew | | #38

            Hi Ladies

            I run embird as well. I have digitise studio and font engine and love em!.....but you do need a reasonable amount of computer to run them as they are big programes.....I upgraded my old desktop to 1 gig of ram and my lappy has the same....and have xp on both ( or at least on the lappy cause the desktop died of old age!)...and they run no probs......well worth the effort of upgrading to me.

            Once you play around with them and look at all the stuff on the internet it will all come together!



          2. Cherrypops | | #41

            Hi jan,

            good to have you on board.

            This glitch is happening with the Trial download. I am on xp and investigating.

          3. Cherrypops | | #40

            I am running xp.

            I will check all system requirements and do what Maggiecoops suggested and let everyone know.

        2. maggiecoops | | #43

          Cherrypops, you might want to set your display to the higest resolution your machine has. and your colour setting at the highest your machine will allow.

          Open Embird manager, find the "Options"heading in the top toolbar, open it and in the drop down menu choose "iconizer settings" in the screen that opens go to the top left pane and put a tick in every embroidery format box you're likely to come across. As soon as you get down to image files, make certain non of them is ticked.

          Now do the same in the lower left pane, tick every embroidery format you would like to see a pictorial representation of. The graphics types you don't select. Don't select all, below that is the icon sizer leave it at 32, dont select image file types Ok up to the top right hand side,dont tick enable viewer or enable indexer for google desktop. If either of those has been ticked, remove the ticks. don't touch the remove all button. bottom right there are 5 enable commands, click them all so they are enabled. Dont use the remove image file types button Leave the image size boxes at 200 x 100. Don't tick the verify file associations button. Now click OK top right. Hopefully now it wont rewrite your screen icons every 5 minutes.

          Calibrating embird is in the embird intro. Embird doesnt have a big footprint but it does need room. It should operate perfectly well with a 512 RAM, but 1 gig is better as XP is a ram gobbler with all its background processes, If you have Nortons that will eat up RAM as it has processes going on all over your PC as well. I ripped mine out completely as it's not that good anyway. Took 4 hours winkling it out of all the registry folders and elsewhere. 

          1. Cherrypops | | #42

            will do ....thanks!

          2. Ringo4 | | #45

            All right Maggiecoops do you want a good laugh!  After reading this a couple of times, I believe that I have finally figured out what you mean by "ticks!"  You mean to click on that item which puts a check mark on it - right?!!  I am just a little slow particularly when I get overwhelmed.

            I checked the Sunday ads this morning and they have the memory for my computer on sale.  I cannot get out until Tuesday to get it.  I never knew that I had that little ram memory on it. 

            I have to keep my nose to the grindstone the next few days.  Thanks again to everyone.


          3. maggiecoops | | #46

            Oops, I forget that though we share a common langage, our usage isnt always the same. Yes tick is what we call that little green symbol. Check I use to mean make certain , like check the gas is off.

            http://www.crucial.com/  if you visit this site it will scan your computer, and tell you how much RAM your machine has, how much it can support, the type of RAM to buy because they are different,  and a guide to prices. I bought from these people as  their prices were good, the delivery was fast and the support was there if needed. Even if you don't use them the information you get is useful and you can go to your computer store and tell them what you want, not let them sell you what they want.

          4. maggiecoops | | #47

            I forgot to say, if you run XP, you can check how much playroom there is for Embird or any memory hungry program. Go to "start> all programs>accessories>system tools>system imformation>" it should open showing a dialogue box split into 2 parts, on the left a heading "System Summary" on the right a list of items and values. Scroll down the right list till you see "Total Physical Memory" then look at the next item on the list "Available Physical Memory". It is that value a program is talking about when it says it needs at least  ??mb of memory. It doesnt mean your hard drive, but your available RAM memory. The available memory it mentions in the specs is the absolute minimum it needs to run.

            Embird is a small program, 55.5 mb, my Digi Pro is 255.5 mb but both need a lot of elbow room in that Available Memory playroom.

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