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To download SewIconz, or to make an online purchase, please go to our Download/Purchase webpage.
SewIconz is software for viewing the contents of embroidery files, quilting files, and certain common image files as icons from within Windows Explorer©. With SewIconz, the stitch pattern contained in embroidery files and some cross-stitch files will appear as icons as you scroll through your Windows folders. Information about the number of stitches, colors and pattern size (in either mm. or in.) will appear as your cursor moves over the icons. You may download the user manual for a more detailed explanation of all the features of SewIconz. Starting with v1.7.4, SewIconz is fully UNICODE compatible, so that folder and file names for any set of keyboard characters are now supported.

SewIconz is a stand-alone application that does not require any other embroidery software to be installed on your computer. It will coexist with all known embroidery editors and can be used to display embroidery icons in the File/Open dialogs of those applications as well as in Windows Explorer.

A free viewer for AutoCAD© and Quilt files - CadQView - may be downloaded
here. CadQView is stand-alone software developed by S & S Computing that allows viewing and printing of individual CAD and Quilt files. It is intended as a useful adjunct to SewIconz.

After installing SewIconz on a Windows 8 computer, and selecting the file types (from the Desktop, double-click the SewIconz(32/64) icon there), you MUST restart the computer for the selections to take effect. Do that from the Settings->Power menu, by clicking on the Restart option.


SewIconz can display icons for many home and commercial embroidery file formats. In addition, numerous quilting formats and common image formats can also be displayed. Below is a list (by category) of the file types supported by SewIconz:

Embroidery File Types

Quilting File Types

Image File Types


.art   .art42   .art50   .art60   .c2s   .clf   .cnd  .csd   .dem   .dsb   .dst 
.dsz  .emb   .emd   .exp   .gnc   .hus   .jan  .jef   .jef+   .krz  .ksm   .ngs  
.pat   .pcd   .pcm   .pcq   .pcs   .pec  .pes   .phb   .phc   .sew   .shv  
.sst   .sti   .tap  .t01 .tbf .tcf .vip .vp3 .xxx .wte .zsk

.4qb  .cqp  .hqf  .iqp  .plt  .qli

.bmp  .cdr  .cmx  .draw  .dxf  .gif  .jpg  .png  .svg  .emf  .wmf

SewIconz ZIP Viewer

The Zip viewer feature of SewIconz displays icons for embroidery files inside Zip archive (*.zip files) when used with the native Windows Explorer Zip viewer. In addition, some third-party Zip utilities such as StuffIt© and jZipwill work with SewIconz to display icons in their file view panes. (jZip will also display icons in RAR files).  Other popular third-party zip software (WinZip©, WinRar© or PKZip©) will not allow SewIconz to display icons in zipped files, although they will can still be used to zip and unzip files as an alternative to the native Windows zip utility.

At present SewIconz will not display embroidery files that are in folders inside zipped files. Only embroidery files that are at the top-level in the zip file will be displayed.

Users of SewIconz with licenses prior to v1.40 may purchase an UpGrade license below if they wish to activate this new feature. Otherwise, they may UpDate for no charge.

File Associations and Preserving SewIconz Icons
In order to preserve file associations and display the icons produced by SewIconz, you must set the associations using the "File Assoc" button in SewIconz. If icons do not display correctly, then download (save) the file association cleaner file, unzip it, and double-click the extracted .reg file to clear the file associations. Now reopen SewIconz and reselect the file type to iconize and click "OK". The pattern icons should now display. You will then need to re-associate using the File Assoc button. 


Removing an Application Icon Overlay

If an embroidery file type handled by SewIconz is also associated with another program (such as an editor), a miniature view of the program icon may appear on the thumbnail icon that SewIconz displays. To hide that program icon, go to the menu bar in Windows Explorer and select "Tools/Folder Options/View". Uncheck the box entitled "Display file icon on thumbnails" to remove the application icon.

Setting Up and Using SewIconz
SewIconz is unlike our other software. After the initial installation and setup are complete, it requires no further user interact to perform its tasks. It is a class of software known as icon handlers, which means it interacts with the Windows© Operating System rather than directly with the user.

After SewIconz is installed, you need to configure it by double-clicking its desktop icon to select the file types to iconize. This will open the setup dialog shown in the figure below. The setup dialog contains lists of embroidery and graphics file extensions (types) that you select to be handled (iconized) by SewIconz. Click on the types you want to iconize (hold down the Ctrl key to select multiple types). You may select the units (mm or in) for displaying file information. Also, for file types (like *.dst and *.exp) with no internal color palette, you can select the color palette by clicking on the Color Order button and following the steps on the palette dialog. You may also change the background, or fabric, color by pressing the Fabric Color button. This is useful, for example, when viewing white lace patterns which would otherwise be invisible on a white fabric background.

Finally, press the OK button to complete the setup process. This is the last time you need to interact with SewIconz - until you want to change the types of embroidery and graphics files to iconize or to uninstall the application. You will be given the option to reboot your system at this time. Most modern operating systems do not need to do this, but on some older (XP) systems, you may need to reboot to see icons for the selected files.

SewIconz Setup dialog

In addition to the embroidery file types handled by SewWhat-Pro, SewIconz will also display Janome jan files, Viking krz cross stitch and PCStitch pat cross stitch files. A variety of quilting design files are also displayed. Certain types of graphics files can also be viewed with SewIconz: Wings XP ngs, Corel draw, AutoCad dxf (also used for quilting), png, gif, and jpg files. Graphics formats to iconize should be carefully selected since rendering some of them (especially jpg) can sometimes dramatically decrease the responsiveness of your computer.

SewIconz is a stand-alone application that does not require the installation of any of our other products to run. A view of a Windows folder, with SewIconz installed, is shown belowWhen your mouse is dragged over the file icon, SewIconz will automatically display fly-over information about the number of stitches, color changes and pattern size.

Starting with v1.40, SewIconz will display embroidery and graphics files that are inside Zip folders. (Files inside folders inside Zip folders can not be viewed, however.) In VISTA/WIN7, single left-click on the Zip folder icon in the left directory/folder pane to view the contents of that folder which will display in the right file pane. At present, the pattern information is not available for zipped embroidery files.

On XP, Zip files do NOT show in the folder (left) pane. To see the files inside Zip files in XP, users need to either (1) DOUBLE-CLICK the zip file icon in the file (right) pane; if this extracts the zipped files then try the second option (2) RIGHT-CLICK on the zip file and choose "Explore".

Windows Explorer view showing icons produced by SewIconz. On the right is the preview pane.


Once SewIconz has been installed and you have selected the various viewing options, you will now see "icons" (or thumbnails) displayed when you open a folder (using Windows Explorer) that contains embroidery files (see the figure above). These images represent the stitch pattern contained in each file. The figure shows an Explorer folder containing embroidery files with large-sized thumbnails displayed in the middle pane. The file "Assortment.PES" has been "selected" by clicking on it, and its magnified textured thumbnail is displayed in the right Preview Pane (available in VISTA and W7). 

When the DEMO period expires, or for any other reason you wish to disable the SewIconz icon-handler, just double-click its desktop icon and click the "Disable SewIconz" button. This will return the display of your embroidery icons (by Windows Explorer®) to the state before SewIconz was installed. It is recommended that you follow this procedure, or uninstall the DEMO, before installing the retail version of SewIconz.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Does SewIconz work with VISTA and Windows 7/8? I installed SewIconz on my Windows 8 computer and the icons don't display - what did I do wrong?

A Yes, SewIconz works on computers running VISTA and Windows 7/8. You must be sure to install the correct bit version - either 32- or 64-bit - corresponding to your computer's operating system. If you are not seeing icons after installing SewIconz, it is likely due to having installed the 32-bit version on a 64-bit system. Simply install the 64-bit version (download from the SewIconz64 link). If you still don't see icons, run the File Association cleaner file (as described above) and then reselect the file types.

Q Should the "Always show icons, never thumbnails" option be checked?
A  Generally, this option should be left unchecked. If it is checked, you won't see folder icons displaying a preview of the files in your folders. Also, it may prevent certain built-in image types (jpg, etc) from displaying icons. You should check in Windows Explorer Tools/Folders Options/View to make sure that this option is unchecked there (SewIconz will try to set this option according to how you choose it).

How do I determine if my computer operating system (OS) is 32-bit or 64-bit?

A The easiest way on VISTA or Windows 7 systems is to press the Windows key (the one with the "wavy flag" logo) and the Pause key simultaneously. An information sheet will appear which displays System Information, including the bit-size of your OS. Alternatively, you can try to install the 64-bit version of SewIconz. If it installs, you have a 64-bit OS! If you have a 32-bit OS, the 64-bit version will fail to install, and you must use the 32-bit installer.

After installing SewIconz and selecting the file types to iconize (by double-clicking the SewIconz desktop icon), only the icons for small views display properly. The medium and large (Tiles, thumbnails) views show up as black boxes or with "weird" icons in them. What is wrong?

A This occurs because there are several settings in VISTA that can be used to block the display of large icons (thumbnails). To fix this, first open the SewIconz desktop application. Make sure the item "Always show icons, never thumbnails" is unchecked. Now click the OK button and check to see if your large icons display correctly.
If thumbnails are still not appearing, then one more setting has to be adjusted. Go to Start->Control Panel->System & Maintenance->System->Performance Information & Tools. (This assumes you are using Control Panel Home View. In Classic View, click Performance Information.) Now click the "Adjust Visual Effects" link. On the "Visual Effects" tab, make sure the check box "Show thumbnails instead of icons" is checked. One of the two option "Let Windows Choose What's Best for my Computer", or "Custom", needs to be selected to be able to make this change.

Q After setting a file association ("Open With") for an embroidery file type, the SewIconz icons no longer display for that file type and only the application icons show. How do I recover the SewIconz (pattern) icons?

A Follow this two-step procedure to recover the correct pattern icons and save the file association:

    1. Double-click the SewIconz desktop icon to open the SewIconz dialog screen and click the "Disable SewIconz" button.
    2. Click the "File Assoc" button and navigate to the folder (usually in Program Files) containing the application you want to associate with (to open) the embroidery files. Click on that application (executable file) to set the file association. (This should be done instead of setting the association through Explorer's "Open With" option, which can sometimes overwrite the registry settings needed by SewIconz to display icons.)
    3. Reselect the embroidery file types to iconize. Press "OK". Usually here is no need to reboot.

Now your SewIconz (pattern) icons should be redisplayed correctly, and your file associations will be intact, too. If not, run the association cleaner file and redo steps 1-3.

After setting the icon size in the current folder using the Window Explorer View menu, I navigate to a different folder and the icons are a different size there. How do I keep the same icon size for all folders without having to reset it each time the folder changes?

A This can be done using the Tools menu option in Windows Explorer. If there is no menu bar in Explorer, then click on Organize/Layout and select the menu option there. Then follow these directions:

1) first be sure to set the desired icon size for the current folder, using the View menu
2) click the Tools menu, then Folder/View option.
3) click the "Apply to Folders" button to apply the current icon size setting to ALL folders subsequently opened.

Now when you open ANY folder (of the same type) containing embroidery files, the icons should display in the size you have chosen.

Q Some of my files display a red "X" instead of an image. What does that mean?

A If SewIconz can not read one of the file types it was assigned to display, it assumes the file is corrupt and displays the red "X". If the Preview Pane is open (in VISTA/W7) and you (single-left) click the file, it will display a "Corrupt File" image in the Preview Pane. Note this doesn't mean the file is actually corrupt but only that SewIconz can't read its contents.

Q Will SewIconz display icons in the VISTA/Win7-8 Details/Preview Panes?

A Yes. To open the Details (Preview) pane, click (in Windows Explorer) Organize->Layout->Details (Preview) Pane. You can use these viewing panes to see an enlarged view of any embroidery (or image) file that you click in the Windows Explorer file pane.  

Q When do I need to open (double-click) the SewIconz desktop icon?

A You only need to do that when you wish to change the choice of file types that should appear as icons, or if you want to change some viewing properties (such as the units displayed for the pattern properties which display when you hover your cursor over the pattern file icon). The first time after SewIconz is installed on your system you need to run the SewIconz setup dialog. Otherwise, the desktop icon for SewIconz can be ignored and just serves as a reminder that it is installed on your computer and handling the display of embroidery (and some quilt and image file) icons.

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