Converting ART Designs to EXP for Bernina Embroidery Machines

Every embroiderer experiences having a design that needs to be converted to another format. One of the most common issues is the need to convert an ART format to an EXP format for Bernina embroidery machines. The 830, 780, 750, and 580 Bernina embroidery machines read the EXP format for designs. The Bernina 630 and 640 also read the EXP format.

There are two EXP formats in the embroidery world: Melco EXP and Bernina USB EXP.

  • Melco EXP is the commercial EXP format with NO thread colors - it pulls whatever default thread colors from the software you are using (possibly making the design blue, green, red or yellow).
  • Bernina USB EXP is the non-commercial (home machine) format that DOES have the thread colors that matches the color chart.

Most of OESD’s design collections offer the Melco EXP format, and many of our newer collections contain the Bernina USB EXP format. ART files are always included in OESD’s design collections.

A Bernina USB EXP is actually THREE files for each design: the EXP file, the INF file, and the BMP file.

1. EXP - the design itself
2. INF - the thread colors
3. BMP - the picture that shows in the 830 machine

If using a collection which offers the Bernina USB EXP format, copy all three files (EXP, INF, and BMP) to your Bernina Personal Design USB stick and insert into your machine.

If you need the Bernina USB EXP file and it is not available, you can use the ART file to convert to Bernina USB EXP. Open the ART format in your Bernina software, and then convert the design to a Bernina USB EXP file through the WRITE to CARD/MACHINE (small sewing machine icon in the top menu).

Screenshot from Bernina V7 software:

A device selection box opens and you choose the appropriate selection or box. In Bernina v7 software a box that states EXP is selected.

For older versions of software, choose the machine and USB stick options. The design is saved to your USB stick in the Bernina EXP format which will have the BMP and the INF extensions as well.

Saving a design to Melco EXP will save ONLY the EXP format (the commercial format) which will NOT include thread colors.

That covers the differences in the EXP files and methods to convert files. If you have any questions you can contact us at

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