Alphabets In DesignShop - Overview

Current embroidery Alphabets are specially digitized files, with a file extension ending in .OFA. These are different than regular embroidery files, for example, .EXP, .DST and .OFM files, which might have individual letter within them. With those regular embroidery files you would need to copy and paste each letter to create text.

It is important to note that in DesignShop v9 and earlier the alphabets are not graded, this feature became available as of DesignShop v10.

Here are the types of Alphabets or embroidery lettering you might see: 

  • Digitized Alphabets (.OFA) - .OFA files are the preferred method to create digitized text in DesignShop. These designs are specifically digitized alphabets. Their quality is dependent upon the ability of the digitizer who created them. When using .OFA Digitized Alphabets, you only type in the desired text. You can also use the Alphabet Editor to create digitized alphabets. 


  • Early Alphabets (EA) - Similar to .OFA files, EA files are also digitized alphabets, but were created with earlier technology, and typically have a file extension of .ALP.   If available, it’s recommended to use .OFA alphabets over EA alphabets. You can distinguish Early Alphabets in DesignShop as being listed with an exclamation point ( ! ), whereas .OFA files will have a star in front of them.     



  • Embroidery Files (.EXP/.DST/.OFM) - These are professionally digitized files where the quality is dependent on the artist that created them, just like .ofm files, but these are not genuine alphabet files for DesignShop. Instead these files just contain letters as elements that would need to be copy-pasted manually to create text. Depending on the quality of the digitization you might be able to turn this into .ofa files using the Alphabet Editor.


  • True-Type - These fonts are Vector fonts that Windows uses. DesignShop can convert these fonts into stitches. Because these are converted by the computer their quality won't match the artwork a human could create. If you have sew quality issues using these fonts, it’s recommended to have a professional digitizer create the alphabet as an .OFA for you. For more information see our video about Alphabets and TrueType Fonts.    


In DesignShop v11 .TTF fonts are listed with TT icons.



In DesignShop v9, .TTF fonts are listed with this icon.

  • Open-Type - These fonts are typically Post-Script (PS) used in some Windows fonts. They are similar to True-Type fonts but DesignShop might not always support the conversion to stitches.  Some of these might end in .OTF file extensions. Please see Open-Type Font Compatibility With DesignShop for more information on compatibility with these fonts. For more information see our video about Alphabets and TrueType Fonts.   DesignShop v11 is recommended for best results when working with Open-Type fonts. 


In DesignShop v11 .OTF fonts are listed with O icons.

  • Monogram Alphabets - DesignShop v11 has newer monogram alphabets.  Monogram alphabets in previous versions of DesignShop were EA style alphabets adapted to monogramming.


In DesignShop v11 Monogram Alphabets are listed with M icons.


If you purchased an optional alphabet in the past, you will need to add it into DesignShop v11, v10, or v9.00.128.


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