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Lettering Set-ups: Machine Fonts, Keyboard Fonts & Alphabet Designs

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Links used in this article

Preface:
There are several different ways that an embroiderer can create lettering for personalization or to add to an existing design. You can use the lettering function that is built into your machine, or you can use a keyboard lettering software program or you can create words by merging alphabet designs together. The three methods often cause confusion when you are shopping for fonts, so let’s see if we can shed a little understanding on the differences.
 


Machine Fonts
Most machines include the ability to set up lettering by choosing a font style on the machine, setting style parameters such as size, and then typing in the letters that you want to sew. This type of font is built into the software of the machine. To add more fonts to the machine, the manufacturer of the machine must be contacted and additional font styles are added with an upgrade. Machine font styles are proprietary to each machine manufacturer and not sold at embroidery design web sites.


Keyboard Fonts
There are many software programs that can be used to set up lettering on the computer. A lettering software program allows you to create design files of words, such as a name for personalizing an item, or you can import a design and then add the lettering around the design, save as a machine file and sew. Most lettering programs come with a few font styles installed. This type of font is called “keyboard lettering” because the keyboard is used to type in the words that appear on the screen. You choose the font style; adjust the parameters such as size, underlay, density, stitch length and column width or push/pull compensation, and then type the letters you want to appear on the screen. After the words are created, the screen is saved as a design, and then this file is sewn on the machine like any other design.
 
Most lettering programs offer the option to add font styles to the program. Different font styles are available to purchase as data files that are in a format compatible with the software. Some font data files are accompanied by a self-installer and others require that the data file be manually moved to a specific folder. The data file is commonly stored in a “Fonts” folder of the program, so that when the program loads, the font file is recognized and the style becomes available. Complete instructions for adding a font style to your software program should be found in the software program’s manual.

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EmbroideryDesigns.com carries a variety of font style data files available to purchase that are specifically digitized for Wilcom and Pulse software programs. They are found on our site by placing the cursor over the top of the “Fonts & Alphabet” category under “Products” at the left side of the Welcome page to activate the drop down menu, and then click on “Wilcom Fonts” or “Pulse Fonts”.


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Keep in mind you cannot use this type of font unless you have either the Wilcom or Pulse software program installed on your computer. The sun icon that is seen on the product pages designates the keyboard lettering software program that is compatible with that particular font data file.


Another keyboard lettering font data file that is available at our site is specific for Embroidery Fonts Plus software, identified by the abbreviation EFP. The EFP software program is available from the vendor Internet Stitch and offered as a free download at: https://www.embroiderydesigns.com/productdetails/Internet-Stitch/FreeSoftware/1/EFP.aspx.
 
EFP installs with three font styles: Century_Block.elp, Block_Euro.elp and Embroidery_Script.elp. The ELP extension is the format for EFP. There are help guides available for using the program, as well as free online training found in the tabs on the EFP download page.
 
After you have become familiar with using EFP, you can then add more font styles to the program by purchasing the EFP keyboard fonts. You can find the EFP fonts from the drop down under the “Fonts & Alphabets” category or at: https://www.embroiderydesigns.com/fonts/EFP-Fonts.aspx

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Instant Lettering
 
Instant Lettering is an online keyboard lettering software program that helps you create a design of lettering. You can find it on our site at: https://www.embroiderydesigns.com/OnlineLetteringInfo.aspx
 
Type in the letters, choose the font style and other settings, and then add it to your shopping cart. The completed design that you created will then be stored in your Order History for download. If you find that you’ve made an error when creating the design in spelling or size, you are welcome to contact Customer Service and we can help you edit the design that is in the download of your Order History.


Alphabet Designs
The Alphabet Design Fonts are designs that just happen to look like letters, numbers or other keyboard characters. You can sew one character just as you would sew any other design; however, if you plan to sew out an entire name or phrase, you will want the letters to sit evenly and balanced, so it’s best done by creating the design first by merging the letters together in editing software program, found on our site at: https://www.embroiderydesigns.com/productdetails/BriTon-Leap/DLSoftware/1/ATG40238.aspx
 
Use an editing program that allows merging designs like Embrilliance Essentials.
 
There are a couple of ways that you can merge:
 
1) Open the first letter that you want to sew in the design in your editing software program. Select the entire design with the select tool. Click on the COPY icon in the top tool bar, or click on EDIT and then click on COPY. Then open a new design window and click on the PASTE icon, or click on EDIT and then PASTE. The letter will paste into the new design window.
 
OR if your software will merge a file that is dropped into the software:
 
2) Open a new design window and make your software window smaller to allow room on the desktop. Open your folder of alphabet designs and arrange the screen so that you can see both open program and folder. Hold your left click key down on the file you need and drag the file over the top of the software window and let go of the click key; the character will drop into the software.

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Do this with each letter of the words that you are creating. When you are done merging the characters, kern them to be appropriately spaced, and then save the new design window in your machine format. Save the design to whatever media runs your machine, such as a USB drive or program card, floppy disk or CD, or send the design to your machine through a USB cable and sew.

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Meet The Author: Bonnie Landsberger
Bonnie Landsberger has been a crafter and hand embroiderer since childhood and a machine embroiderer and digitizer since 1986. She was the in-house head digitizer for a 50-head embroidery shop for 11 years and later offered custom digitizing services and stock design sales through her web site for Moonlight Design since 1993. She currently also holds a position as a customer service representative at EmbroideryDesigns.com. Bonnie has won several awards for digitizing, including a gold medal in the 2002 Digitizing Olympics and grand prize in all categories & first place for Winter Holidays category in the Stitches Magazine Great Greeting Card Contest 2003. Her embroidery and digitizing technical articles can be found in various trade magazines and she is currently a contributing writer and Editorial Advisory Board Member for Stitches Magazine. You can also find more of her articles online at EmbroideryDesigns.com and will continue to contribute articles to our Learning Center.

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Fran E Jan 04, 2015
When setting up a three letter name monogram, the last name is in the middle, but which side should the first name initial be placed and then the same question for the middle name? If monogramming initials for a husband and wife, the last name will be in the middle. Which side does one use for the husband and then the wife? I feel the husband should be to the right, but am I correct? Thank you for your help, Fran fme22012@gmail.com
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Susan W Nov 18, 2017
Hi Fran- 3 letter monogram for one person- (Left) First Name Initial, (Middle) Last Name Initial, (Right) Middle Name Initial. Husband and Wife - (Left) Wife's first name initial, (Middle) Last Name Initial and (Right) Husband's First Name Initial. Examples: Susan H Wilkinson = SWH My husband and me= Susan and Allen Wilkinson SWA
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CARMEN H Mar 25, 2015
That's very nice Mrs BONNIE I HAM LOSE DONT NOW WHAT I HAM DOING THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
Reply

Carrie S Oct 21, 2016
Your articles are very informative and helpful, especially for someone new to machine embroidery. THANK YOU for sharing your expertise and shedding light on many questions I've had. Your customer service is top notch. They helped by resizing a design I purchased. THANK YOU!
Reply
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