How To Download Designs To The Brother SE400

Download designs with the USB port and cable

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the new USB port and downloading designs. This article will explain step-by-step how to download embroidery designs from your computer into a Brother SE400.

You can connect the Brother SE400 directly to your computer (PC or Mac) with the included USB cable. You can then download embroidery designs saved on your computer into the SE400 for stitching. You can also upgrade the internal software in the SE400 when Brother releases an upgrade.

NOTE: The USB port on the SE400 only accepts a USB cable that attaches to your computer. It is not compatible with USB drives, thumb or jump drives, memory sticks, etc.

Find Embroidery Designs that Work with the SE400

There are many websites where you can purchase embroidery designs and download them directly to your computer. Most sites have free designs you can try. You can also obtain designs on CDs. Designs on CD can either be saved to your computer first or copied directly to the SE400.

Make Sure the Design File Is Compatible with the Brother SE400:

.PES or .DST Embroidery Data File Format

The Brother SE400 can only read embroidery data files in .PES and .DST format. The best format for Brother embroidery machines is .PES because it contains information about the design such as number of stitches, number of colors, thread color names, and allows displaying an image of the design on the LCD panel.

Tajima (.dst) formats have some limitations that make them less convienent. Only the first eight characters of the file name are displayed in the LCD control panel. The image of the design cannot be displayed. Because the .dst format does not contain the thread color information, the design is displayed with Brother’s default thread color sequence. You will have to look at the design and pick the color you want for each displayed color.

Sometimes embroidery design files that you download from the Internet are “zipped.” You’ll know because the file name ends with “.zip”. On Mactinoshes and Windows XP and later, you can just double-click the file to “un-zip” it. (If this doesn’t work on Windows, you’ll need to install a free utility such as WinZip.) Then you’ll see the .pes files.

Design Fits in the 4×4 Inch Embroidery Area

Although the maximum embroidery size is commonly refered to as a 4×4 inch hoop size, it really doesn’t depend on the hoop. The embroidery unit of the Brother SE400 is physically incapable of embroidering a larger size because that’s the maximum amount the unit will move. The actual maximum size is 3.93 inches (9.98 cm or 99.8mm).

Check the File Name

The SE400 won’t recognize embroidery files with special characters in the name. If you have a file name with special characters, rename the file before uploading it to the machine. It’s safest to use only letters (upper and lowercase), numbers, “-”) and underscore (“_”) in file names.

Connect Your Computer to the Brother SE400

Included USB Cable USB Cable to SE400 USB Cable to Computer SE400 Connected to Computer

USB Cable Included
With The Brother SE400

Plug the square end
into the SE400.

Plug the flat end
into the computer.

The Brother SE400
Connected to the Computer

Plug the square end of the included USB cable into the USB port on the right side of the SE400. Plug the flat end of the cable into a USB port on your computer.

Make sure both the computer and the embroidery machine are turned on.

Brother SE400 LCDOn the SE400 LCD screen, press the USB icon. This will take you to a screen that will give you information about the designs you’re downloading.

Look at the LCD Screen

It’s helpful to glance at the Brother SE400 touch screen while you’re copying files over. The message “Transmitting by USB” will appear briefly during the actual file transfer. And then you’ll see this screen giving information about the designs you have transferred over:

Brother SE400 Control Panel after copying file

The first number at the top left of the screen is the total amount of memory you’ve used. The second number is the total amount of memory space. The SE400 can hold up to 12 designs or 476KB of data in its memory. After that you have to delete some old designs if you want to download more designs.

Next there is the button (looks like a pocket with an up arrow) for retreiving the pattern.

Under the button, there is the number of the current page and the total number of pages. Two designs are displayed on each page. In the photo above, I’ve uploaded three designs. So I’m on page 1 out of 2 pages.

At the bottom, there are images of the embroidery designs on the current page.

Copy the Embroidery Design Data Files to the Brother SE400

For Windows Computers (For Macintoshes, See Below.)

Back on your PC, you’ll have “Removable Disk” listed in “My Computer”:

Removable Disk on My Computer

Open the folder on your computer where you keep the embroidery files. Navigate to the particular design you want to download to the SE400. Right-click on the design file. Click on “Send to: Removable Disk”

Removable Disk on My Computer

Do not copy .zip files. You must unzip them first.

Do not copy folders to “Removable Disk.” The SE400 cannot recognize folders or find embroidery files in folders. The individual files must be added to “Removable Disk.”

Do not copy more than 12 designs to “Removable Disk.”

Embroidery Files in Removable Disk

For Macintoshes (For PCs, Skip This Section.)

Although the manual says the SE400 is only compatible with PCs, it’ll work just fine with a Macintosh.

The SE400 will show up as an external hard drive, named “No Name.” Just drag and drop the embroidery files to this drive.

No Name Drive on Macintosh

Do not copy .zip files. You must unzip them first. Just double-click it.

Do not copy folders to “No Name.” The SE400 cannot recognize folders or find embroidery files in folders. The individual files must be added to “No Name.”

Do not copy more than 12 designs to “No Name.”

A weird thing happens on the Macintosh. The Macintosh system puts invisible system files in “No Name” which the SE400 transfers over. So the amount of memory used can be 16 to 28KB when the machine is first connected to the computer, even before you’ve downloaded any designs. These files aren’t embroidery designs so there aren’t any images. Only the amount of memory used increases. This is isn’t a problem unless you’re pushing the memory limits with large embroidery files.

Retrieve the Embroidery Pattern

Move to the screen that displays the image of the embroidery design you want using the Next Page [<] and Previous Page [>] buttons on the right. Select the design by touching the image. The selected design will be displayed in reverse highlighting.

Retrieve the Embroidery Pattern

Then, press the Retrieve key (circled in red in the photo above).

The embroidery screen appears. From here you can check the colors, adjust the pattern, embroider it and/or save it to the machine’s memory.

embroidery screen

Embroider the Design

You can either embroider the pattern now or save it in the SE400’s memory to use later. If you want to embroider it now, make any adjustments you like, set the machine up for embroidery, and press the Start button to begin stitching.

Saving Embroidery Designs

Unsaved designs are lost when the SE400 is turned off. So if you want to use a design again without copying it from your computer, you must save it to the SE400’s memory. This is a convenient way to save names and designs that you use frequently. Or if you’re starting a project or several projects that involve several designs, you can transfer them all over at once and save them. I do this so I don’t have to keep moving my computer next to the SE400 because I don’t have a large working space.

You can save up to 12 designs or 476KB of data.

After retrieving the design you want to save by pressing the Retrieve Key and going to the embroidery screen, press the Memory button. “Saving…” appears while the pattern is being saved.

Saving the embroidery pattern

Retrieving Saved Embroidery Designs

From the first menu, press the Retrieve Key.

Retrieving the embroidery pattern

The saved designs are displayed. Go to the design you want using the Previous and Next Keys. Select it by pressing it. You can then delete it or retrieve it to embroider.

Retrieving the saved embroidery pattern

Hope This Helps

I get a lot of questions about how to download designs into the Brother SE400 and the manual isn’t very clear. Being able to easily transfer designs from my computer with USB is very important to me because I’m always wanting something different. So I hope this article helps you do it too.

If you don’t have your embroidery machine yet, check out my Brother SE400 review for detailed information. Click here to see today’s price on Amazon.com.

Please Join The Conversation

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Our Readers Respond ...

  1. amanda everett says

    Thank you so much for putting this together. you are the only person that I found who could tell me what I was doing wrong. It was the file type. I was almost in tears and ready to give up. Thank you so much and well written as well. I knew exactly what to do

  2. Pamela Williams says

    On Etsy I bought the Disney Alphabet font in 12 sizes. Each alphabet has to be transported from the computer file to the embroidery machine separately. I do not know how to put letters together to form a name to embroidery all at once. I have to embroidery each letter separate and manually figure out how to position each letter. Could you please tell me if there is an easier way to do this? Thanking you in advance for your help.

  3. Gail says

    I just purchased Brother Embroidery/Sewing machine SE400. Can I buy blank memory cards for my machine and download designs on them and keep them?

    Also I read you can download free “Pulse Ambassador” you can easily convert to other formats. Do you know if this is true?

    • Kamala says

      Hi Gail, yes you can use memory cards. But it’s expensive and I don’t know where to buy them anymore since Amazon stopped carrying them. You will also need PED Basic software and card writer to write the cards. So unless you have a particular reason for using cards, I recommend organizing and saving designs on your computer and transferring them over to the SE400 using the instructions in this article.

      I don’t know anything about “Pulse Ambassador.” Since it’s free, why not just try it out?

  4. Dawn Hutchins says

    I just got the brother se400 – watched many videos – yours is the best ! thank you for all the info. So I have one question that may seem dumb … I see some places that sell embroidery designs individually, All I really want is some different fonts other than what came on my machine- so If I buy one will it download straight to my machine or do I have to have a software program to send it to first ? this is what I am getting mixed up on.

    • Kamala says

      Hi Dawn, when you buy designs, you download them to your computer first and then send them over to the SE400. You don’t need additional software. The program for transferring to the SE00 is built-in. I give instructions and photos in this article above.
      However, you’re talking about fonts. Fonts come one letter in each embroidery design file and the SE400 can only stitch one file at a time. So you need software to combine the letters into words, names, or monograms. See my article on monogramming for details.

  5. arlene says

    I had to get a new computer, my xp crashed any way windows 7 won’t recogonize my brother esante embroidery machine. is there a way to get designs turned into xp files on my windows 7 computer. any help would be appreciated.

  6. Leanne says

    I have made a design with Embroidery magic 2. It saved under dst. The design will come up on the machine but when I try to go any further it won’t do anything. I have downsized my design to 2.12 and 3.6 so it should work….. help me please I am so stuck!

    • Kamala says

      I really don’t know anything about Embroidery Magic 2 and very little about dst. Can you save it as .pes? Size is OK. Look carefully in Embroidery Magic. Make sure you have the 4×4″ hoop selected. Make sure the design is centered in the hoop and there are not stray stitches (like stop stitches) outside the frame. Read some of the recent comments here for other ideas.

      What do you mean it won’t go farther? In .dst, the image doesn’t show–just the file name. So you select it and then tap the other options for stitching.

  7. Sharon Schaafsma says

    I Send a pattern to my machine from my pc and numbers show that it has so many kBMXG and said that it is transmitting from usb,but no pic comes up and can’t retrieve a pattern. HELP! Going nuts!!

      • Kamala says

        Hi Tracy, Here’s what I wrote to Sharon.

        I don’t fully understand all the reasons why this doesn’t work.

        It’s usually something with the design. Open it up in an embroidery editing program and have a look. If you don’t have embroidery software yet, you can use the free Wilcom TrueSizer Software. Make sure the design is less than 3.9″x3.9″. Many designers think they can create designs exactly 4.0″x4.0″ inches, but it’s really too large even thought the specs say it’s 4×4. I think that’s just marketing convenience or maybe a round off from the conversion from metric to inches.

        Make sure it’s centered in the frame and that there are no stray stitches or stop stitches outside the frame.

        But I saw a design once that had been created in SewWhat Pro and wasn’t recognized by the SE400. I saved it in Embrilliance and it worked. I don’t really know why, but I suspect that it was because the design was made of letters with overlapping objects. Not that the letters themselves overlapped, but the outline of the objects containing the letters overlapped and Embrilliance merged them.

        I know one other weird case. A guy tried to download a design three times without success, but then tried one last time and it magically worked. Neither he nor I really understand why.

        I’m sorry, this isn’t very helpful, unless your design really is a smidgen too large. But I’ve never had this problem myself and don’t understand all the cases.

    • Kamala says

      Hi Sharon, I don’t fully understand all the reasons why this doesn’t work.

      It’s usually something with the design. Open it up in an embroidery editing program and have a look. If you don’t have embroidery software yet, you can use the free Wilcom TrueSizer Software. Make sure the design is less than 3.9″x3.9″. Many designers think they can create designs exactly 4.0″x4.0″ inches, but it’s really too large even thought the specs say it’s 4×4. I think that’s just marketing convenience or maybe a round off from the conversion from metric to inches.

      Make sure it’s centered in the frame and that there are no stray stitches or stop stitches outside the frame.

      But I saw a design once that had been created in SewWhat Pro and wasn’t recognized by the SE400. I saved it in Embrilliance and it worked. I don’t really know why, but I suspect that it was because the design was made of letters with overlapping objects. Not that the letters themselves overlapped, but the outline of the objects containing the letters overlapped and Embrilliance merged them.

      I know one other weird case. A guy tried to download a design three times without success, but then tried one last time and it magically worked. Neither he nor I really understand why.

      I’m sorry, this isn’t very helpful, unless your design really is a smidgen too large. But I’ve never had this problem myself and don’t understand all the cases.

    • Kamala says

      Hi Traci, You need Embroidery digitizing software to convert your a jpeg file to an embroidery data file that the SE400 can stitch (.pes format). Have a look at Embird. You will need the Embird basic engine and then add-on module(s) for the digitizing like the photo module (I forget what they call it). There are other choices too, but make sure it coverts jpeg.

    • Kamala says

      Hi Kathy, You need Embroidery digitizing software to convert your a jpeg file to an embroidery data file that the SE400 can stitch (.pes format). Have a look at Embird. You will need the Embird basic engine and then add-on module(s) for the digitizing like the photo module (I forget what they call it). There are other choices too, but make sure it coverts jpeg.

  8. leslie says

    I have a company logo I’d like to start using on my SE400. Do I only need the software if I hook the machine directly to my computer to add it to the machines memory? Will I need to digitize it first? And does that require separate software? Thank you!

    • Kamala says

      Hi Leslie, You don’t need extra software to copy a design from your computer to the SE400. However, you will need Embroidery digitizing software to convert your company logo file to an embroidery data file that the SE400 can stitch (.pes format). Exactly what software depends on the format of your logo. Have a look at Embird. You will need the Embird basic engine and then add-on module(s) for the digitizing. There are other choices too.

  9. jackie says

    I’ve had the SE400 for a few months now. What is the best embroidery software you recommend to use for this machine? I’ve come across a few but am confused with all that each can do. Which one is the easiest yet gives you a lot of options?

  10. Meg says

    Hello Kamala,
    Thank you SO MUCH for this tutorial. It was so helpful! I have a basic question for you. The machine comes with white embroidery bobbin thread. I have purchased red embroidery thread for my first project. Do I need to use the embroidery bobbin thread that came with the machine, or should I thread a bobbin with the red embroidery thread I purchased? IE is there specific embroidery thread that is just for the bobbin or will my red embroidery thread work for both the top threading and the bobbin? Thank you so much for your help!

    • Kamala says

      Hi Meg, Use the white bobbin thread that came with the machine for the bobbin and the red embroidery thread for the top. Bobbin thread is different–it is 60 weight, finer than regular thread. Pull out a piece of both threads and you can see the difference. Different machines use different weights for bobbins, so when you need to buy more bobbin thread, make sure you get 60 weight. You can also get it in black. The bobbin thread normally only shows on the back.

  11. Tempie says

    Hello I have been reading some of your suggestions, but I have a question I hope you can answer. I have a brother se400 and made monogram initials on word. I saved it in download and transferred it to my machine. It seems to have gone over but not seeing the pattern. Is there anything wrong I am doing or can you even transfer this since it is not in PES. I would great appreciate your advice or any help you could give me. I am new to all of this I just got my machine for Christmas.

    Thank you
    Tempie

  12. Lainie says

    Hi, I’m very new to the sewing and embroidery world. I recently purchased a brother se425, I’m liking it so far, but I’m stuck on what to do after I download Disney letters the machine from my computer. it’s showing on the machine but I cant select more than one letter to make a word. I don’t know what to do from there. Can you help or give me any suggestions or resources. Thanks!!

  13. Sharon Schaafsma says

    Thank you for your web site.just purchased a 400 and a little green at it.please keep posting info.thanks ,Sharon

    • Kamala says

      Hi Sharon, Welcome! Please read a couple of the “Getting Started” answers I just posted to the comments below. Enjoy and have fun creating beautiful projects.

  14. Gena says

    I have a SE425 embroidery machine . I got a design boutique 1 disk with 100 patterns on it to download to my machine but I can’t get it to download . I have windows 8 not real savy with it can you help?

    • Kamala says

      Hi Gena,
      CDs usually have a lot of files in different sizes and formats on it. I would first copy the designs that are compatible with the SE425 (.pes and less than 3.94″x3.94″) to your computer. I might also organize them in folders so I could find the ones I like. If they’re zipped, you need to unzip them. If you don’t know how to do this, get someone to show you. I don’t know anything about Windows 8 because I only use a Mac.

      You can’t download a whole CD with a hundred patterns to the SE425. The SE425 doesn’t have enough memory. The maximum number is 12, but start with just one that you want to use and follow my instructions in this article.

      Your computer can’t open embroidery designs. You need software to look at them on your computer just like to need Excel to open an Excel spreadsheet. For a very simple, free one, try Wilcom TrueSizer Software. There is also software (some free) for viewing designs, but I don’t remember what they are.

  15. Gwynne says

    I’m looking for an embroidery machine that will embroider something I designed. Does this machine do that? Or does it only embroidered pre-made designs?

    • Kamala says

      Hi Gwynne, It will embroider designs that you make. You will need embroidery digitizing software that runs on your computer to create your designs. Then you save the design as a .pes file and transfer it to the SE400 using the instructions in this article. There are many choices in software. Make sure it digitizes and not just edits. For example, Embird has the basic software that does editing and then add-on modules for creating your own designs.

  16. Nancy brown says

    I just bought the brother se400 embroidery machine.
    I am new to embroidery.
    Do you have to buy the ped basics?
    Why and why not ?
    I heard that brother is coming out with a driver u can download that will take place of this ped basic software.
    I am brand new to embroidery.
    Where do I begin?
    Thanks for your kindness.

    • Kamala says

      Hi Nancy, PED Basic is used to write designs on memory cards. You don’t need it unless you want to use cards instead of the USB port for transferring designs to your computer. For example, you can’t move move the computer next to the SE400 because you don’t have a laptop and the computer is in a different part of the house. I don’t have PED Basic. I prefer to just use my computer.

      I don’t know anything about new drivers. Anyway the USB port on the SE400 eliminates much of the need for PED Basic which is maybe what they’re referring to.

      To get started: Buy some cotton or blend, medium weight, woven fabric to test and learn on. Not a knit and no piles like towels. Buy some spools of embroidery thread in different colors. The bobbin thread comes with the SE400. Buy some medium-weight cut-away stabilizer. I think that’s all you need to get started.

      Start with the Quick Start guide. Learn to use the machine–the controls, menus, touch panel, threading top and bobbin (very important). Learn to hoop and position fabric and stabilizer. (look on YouTube for videos.)

      Forget software and downloading designs from the Internet for now. It’s just a distraction and another thing to learn. Use the built-in designs and learn how to select and position them, stitch, change colors, etc. Get your embroidery looking neat and the way you like it first with a built-in design. This eliminates a lot of variables when you’re just starting because if you have problems with a new design you downloaded, you never know if it’s the design, the software or something else. Once you’re comfortable with the machine and like your test embroidery, go on to downloading and real projects. This seems slower at first, but is actually a faster way to learn because you’ll save yourself a lot of time and grief fussing with software, etc. before you’ve learned the basics of the SE400 and embroidery. Build yourself a strong foundation and then go step-by-step.

  17. Anne says

    Hi Kamala, well having spent the last 4.5 days trying to figure out how to get me downloaded designs onto the machine, it all fell in place yesterday afternoon, it seems I didn’t have the right size hoop in the Embrilliance programme which I rectified by ‘adding’ 4 x 4, clicking on that and making sure my designs were in PES and not above the 3.93 x 3.93 has solved the problem. I can now get on with my quilting project.
    I am so pleased I stuck with it and I thank you for all your help

    • Kamala says

      Hi Anne, Congratulations for sticking with it and figuring it out. I’m so glad it’s working. I think if you have the wrong hoop size, the SE400 counts the empty space and thinks it’s too large even though the actual design is the right size. Maybe DST somehow removes the unused areas and that’s why it works with that other format.