I was recently asked on this janomelife blog if I could be specific about the differences between previous Janome Digitizer versions and MBX (which is version 4). I started to answer the query & then realized I would be writing for a long time as there is SO much that is new, better, enhanced and simply wonderful. Instead I decided to post the notes I wrote at the time MBX was launched (Sept/Oct 2011). Here are the notes. There is LOT to read so make yourself a cup of coffee and get comfortable. I will also post some pics of samples that were made at the time the MBX software was launched…..but for the most part these are NOTES……..so listen up all you owners of JANOME DIGITIZER MBX out there>>>>>this is valuable information for you. Copy/paste it, read it, use it……to get the most out of your incredibly comprehensive software.

This banner used graphics to create the "swoosh" under the word Janome and the FANTASTIC  splitting function to divide the entire design for 2 hoopings in the SQ23 hoop.

This banner used graphics to create the “swoosh” under the word Janome and the FANTASTIC splitting function to divide the entire design for 2 hoopings in the SQ23 hoop.


  1. WORK SPACE:  new look & colourful, contemporary icons.
  2. MC12000 hoops added.
  3. COLOUR CHART  now docked at the top or bottom. Used to float which was often in the way while working (can still float if desired). I love this feature.
  4. SOME NEW DESIGNS in Embroidery Album.
  5. NEW JPX FORMAT –  for Horizon Link – now can open & bring into MBX.  .jpx is an graphics format. Not an embroidery stitch format. For layered multimedia projects.
  6. SEVERAL NEW FONTS now over 100 fonts PLUS all the True Type fonts already in your computer. New fonts include 4 new running stitch fonts which are great for tiny lettering.
  7. PAN TOOL   hot key: P. Escape to let go.  Can zoom in View: magnify or type B (hot key) 
  8. MOUSE – scroll wheel:zoom in & out. To switch on: Work Environment>scrolling tab>choose how you want the mouse to behave. Hold ALT key> mouse scrolls.
  9. MONOGRAMMING TOOL – Big improvements and additions. Much more functionality. LETTERING TAB > initials or a word; Style – 16 layouts for monogram; alphabet font > size of font > rotation > colour > zoom in & out.  ORNAMENTS  TAB > can select from Blackwork; Emb Gallery, etc > NEW show as outline or 3D embroidery look > position of ornament – grid of 9 positions >can off set or have right up against monogram >duplicates & mirror imaging >delete at any time. BORDERS TAB > off set distance from monogram to border > off set ratio alters shape of border >outline or fill border –choose from bunch of options >change type of fill > colour choice > can add a second border > can break apart with the hammer NEW break apart tool. We could not break apart before V4. Monogram was “sealed unit”.

10.AMBIANCE QUILTING  can choose quilting type to surround a design. See pic below. Echo, stippling etc . This feature is very cool indeed! 

Notice the Ambiance quilting around the tree - too cool!

Notice the Ambiance quilting around the tree – too cool!

11.NEW STITCH FILL TYPES :  cross stitch fill and stippling fill have been added to flyout menu’s. Will work with Cross stitch program which can be added to only version 3 & 4 of digitizer. This cross stitch fill does NOT take the place of the full cross stitch program. It just adds another fill option with limited options for type of cross stitch fill required. MUCH more in full add on Cross stitch program.  STIPPLE: in version 3 we had to apply & redo, undo, retry if we didn’t like the effect created. NOW we can change it on the fly – don’t have to undo & retry so much quicker & easier to alter the look of a fill.

12.IMPROVED (not new) COLOUR MATCHING TOOL. Choose thread brands. Match |& replace all or do manually. Thread colour set up: build a custom colour thread chart to customize & then start a new design. Save as a JMT & then you’ll have your customized thread chart when you open the software again in a new screen, it will give you the choice between normal & my customized thread rack. So you can make up a thread rack with what you have in your sewing room and not just a particular brand.

13.HOVER OVER ICONS WITH MOUSE: EXPANDED DETAIL about the function of that tool if you hover a little longer – gives brief name of icon then more detail. Can also press F1 while on the tool and it will take you directly to the manual/HELP for more information about how to use that tool.  VERY helpful tool.

14.ROTATE TOOL now shows a dialogue of what angle you are rotating to. Also for Skew. Version 3 only showed size in resizing the selected box.

15.IMPERIAL/METRIC SWITCHNOW totally easy. Before you had to close down, go to Control panel & change in Language & regional settings, then re-boot computer for changes to take effect. NO MORE! Just click on the US/Metric selection box in the tool bar. You can also type in the little box and it will convert to mm right away –  so instant conversion calculator is there at your fingertips.

16.IMPROVED APPLIQUE TOOL – version 3 you had appliqué tool which showed 3 colours after digitizing your appliqué shape: placement line, tack down line & satin stitch for over cut edge of fabric.  NEW: Can now DISPLAY FABRIC for the appliqué so you get a much more realistic look instead of seeing the empty space with screen gird lines inside the appliqué.  This is FABULOUS!

The new applique features were used for this tree: choosing applique fabric colour; show applique fabric + omit applique overlapping fabric

The new applique features were used for this tree: choosing applique fabric colour; show applique fabric + omit applique overlapping fabric

17.CHOOSE YOUR APPLIQUE FABRIC  – choose from various types of “stock” fabrics or choose your own under custom tab: scan your fabric into the computer, save it and bring into the MBX careen to see EXACTLY what it will look like after embroidering!

18. NEW can remove the appliqué jumping off stitch. This is so the hoop will move for trimming fabric. Version 3 left that stitch which was a pain as it had to be trimmed out afterwards. Now V4 will remove this stitch.

19.NEW – REMOVE OVERLAPPING SATIN STITCHING IN APPLIQUE.  Overlapping appliqués often left ugly, noticeable ridges underneath where overlapping edges were satin stitched. NOW you can remove all the overlapping satin ridges so it will just stitch the placement line & tack down line but omits the satin stitch when it lies underneath another appliqué.

20.DUPLICATE WITH OFFSETS TOOL Embroidery gallery – select for example the heart & flower. Ungroup so that just the heart can be selected and then you can duplicate a PART of an embroidery gallery design. RMC & drag duplicates. Could not do this before. Control D is hot key for duplicating. Makes it some distance away due to offsets.  Using these tools mean you can fill up a hoop real quick  instead of the slow laborious way we had to do it before.

21.IMPROVED SMALL LETTERING ART. NEW Can add other lettering art. Can combine different styles eg diamond & curve.

22. AUTO DIGITIZING –  we of course had this before but now it will automatically reduce # of colours. Improved functions such as we can do colours manually so we have more control over stitching order; we can add colours and we can now zoom in to stitching objects.

23.REMOVE OVERLAPS & FILL HOLES:  Has been added to the toolbar. Fill Holes: so flowers on eg. that Tiffany design lie on TOP of the black hair rather than leaving a hole in the black under the flower.

24.IMPROVED OBJECT RECOGNITION  What can be done to a design which is a different format? Sometimes objects are not easily recognized as the format being used is a stitch file and not an object based file. So this is where odd things can creep in. V3 DID take the stitch file & turn it into objects but this has been improved. For example: v3 turned it into a series of small objects. V4 understands the shape much better and makes 1 object so we can do editing. We could not edit easily before.  There are other improvements such as stitch generation and reshape view – better and easier to work with now.

25.ALWAYS TIE OFF & TRIM: Remember those tiny letters with tiny jumps between letters. Less than 1/8 inch and the machine could not trim these jumps. NOW we have a tool in digitizing that FORCES the trim. You can change the settings on the Embroidery machine for jumps and trims. (3 jumps a trim) Now you can set to be more or less jumps. Switch the visualizer OFF so you can see the connecting threads.  Little triangle shape is the knot or tie-off stitch. The little o is the tie-in (start lock stitch). View the display needle points to see the stitch points. 3 jumps will ensure you have a thread trim. The distance between the objects determines whether it will trim or not – this is somewhere between 2 -3mm. This was difficult to predict in V3.  Version 4 has a new tool: select both objects between which is the jump stitch and select ALWAYS TIE OFF & TRIM. This will force the machine to trim these tiny jump stitches.  WOOOHOOOO!!! This alone is worth the upgrade!

When the MBX letteres were digitized there were small jumps threads between the letters. using this "Always tie-off & trim function" removed those as quick as you can click your mouse!

When the MBX letters were digitized on the tree there were small jumps threads between the letters. using this “Always tie-off & trim function” removed those as quick as you can click your mouse!

26.IMPROVED OUTLINES & OFFSETS. – refer to the Christmas tree exercises to see this in action.

27.BRANCHING AND BREAK PART TOOL. In the resequence menu you will often see a little sign of 2 dots with arrows pointing to each dot. Other objects may indicate the object is a satin border or a stitch fill etc. When you have a group of embroidery objects, they are tied together with BRANCHING which is a technical digitizing term: it connects all the bits together. Also known as PATHING. This is quite important as a poorly digitized design invariably has poor pathing so it jumps all around and connects sloppily. We can use the NEW BREAK APART TOOL (little hammer) to break apart these objects so that we can edit. They are now no longer connected so we can resize or move individual parts. Edit>branching> asks us where to start and end. This is VERY useful for digitizing as it connects up a bunch of objects in an orderly manner and starts & ends in same place or close by. All this gives a much neater finish and more professional digitized design.

28.LINE TOOL – The NEW open line tool is used to close a shape automatically. V3 & before we had to connect the start & end points of a shape or it would not digitize at all or poorly. NOW choose the closed line tool and click for a circle at 12 o’clock, 3, 6,9 & then enter. It will complete the perfect circle for you – automatically closes the shape. It will do this for a number of recognizable shapes.  This works for CLOSED LINE and CLOSED SATIN BORDER.

29.IMPROVED RADIAL FILL: Sew around a central point in v3 was based on the turning angle tool so was not so easy to edit. V4 is very different: you can change using the reshape tool. This opens up creative ways to change the radial fill.

30.NEW SPLITTING GUIDE – WOOOHOOO AGAIN!!! This got a standing ovation when it was revealed. V3 features for splitting has issues. We could work around the issues but it WAS fiddly to fix and be able to split neatly  and easily. V4 comes with a NEW SPLITTING GUIDE that works SO cleverly and easily that it is a total joy. Simply click through the section of the design you wish to split and everything turns lime green – voila! Done. The new interface shows the 1st hooping & second hooping etc. For example: African lady in Embroidery album. She presents problems because of the run stitch outline around the edge. You cannot write to the card to split the block in v3. In V3 we got combine mode added and then you could draw the splitting guide which was an improvement. But to split a run stitch was as far as you could go. You still had to redigitize the fill or satin stitch so as to split the sections properly. NOW with v4 it is SO much easier as that splitting line just cuts through ALL parts. Then it shows where it has split on the interface and will stitch out these separate parts whether they are run lines, satin lines or fill. Will also split an embossed fill which was impossible before. It also doesn’t just cut a clean cut just anywhere. It chooses automatically the best place to split so that when you stitch out the sections, the join is invisible. It splits with the angle of the fill etc.

31.MBX COMES WITH COREL ESSENTIALS V5 This is a  top notch graphics software which is now an inbuilt component of MBX so you can switch seamlessly from embroidery mode to graphics mode & back again. Go back & forth as many times as necessary to complete your digitizing. You do NOT have to close one program down & open up another. Many Corel graphics are included (100’s of them). You are no longer limited by graphics format (.bmp). You have ALL sorts of graphics formats you can use. Vector images which are considered superior. MBX works seamlessly with Corel Essentials.  SMART DRAW tools perfects and corrects your untidy graphic doodling into perfect circles, triangles, squares etc.

32.There is LOTS more to Corel essentials. This was just a start.

33. There is a DVD Tutorial in the JANOME DIGITIZER MBX  – Trevor Conquergood of Saskatoon, Canada shows you the new features – not to be missed!

We used the Corel essentials graphics tools for the all the trees – so easy and effective. You do not have to be a graphics software wizard to work with this software!!

Voila! One delightful Christmas wall quilt!

Voila! One delightful Christmas wall quilt!

WOULDN’T YOU WANT TO UPGRADE TO THIS VERSION OF JANOME DIGITIZER TODAY????? I sure would do it without thinking for even 10 seconds! And when I heard the price of the upgrade….I nearly tripped in my frantic dash to be sure I did not miss out……I sure know a good thing when I see it!!

About lizafrica

I am the National Education Manager for Janome & Elna Canada (including Artistic Creative products) and I LOVE to sew! I have been employed full time in the sewing and quilting industry for almost 30 years so I bring a wealth of sewing knowledge & expertise to this blog. I enjoy all forms of sewing from quilting to sewing garments to machine embroidery and software. Pretty much everything in my life is seen through the eyes of a passionate sewer! I am constantly on the look out for fun, innovative and inspiring ideas to share with you all on this blog. I also love to read, knit , travel and spend time with my family and friends.
This entry was posted in Creativity, JANOME EMBROIDERY SOFTWARE and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Kristy Sipe says:

    Hi Lizafrica, I have Janome Digitizer Pro V.1 with the upgrades added to make it a 2. I just recently purchased the Janome Digitizer MBX 4.5 uprgrade. My ?’s for you is why wont my windows 10 computer install the disc at all? My older computer running windows 8 will install it but will not open it. What do I need to do to get it up and running on both computers? Thanks so much, Kristy


  2. Karen Marie Ewankiw says:



    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Karen,

      Is your software working well? If so, I would not necessarily think you need the dongle driver. But downloading the dongle driver for Windows 8.1 should not affect the operation of your software. But you may call the Software Helpline 1-800-631-0183 Ext 775 if you wish to confirm this. They deal with all specific software related queries for North America.



  3. Marguerite Hopaluk says:

    Can I operate digitizer Jr V5 from my Mac. I have a Janome 350E


  4. Cris says:

    Hi, I have the Janome Digitizer Pro/Mb Version 2. It has been working fine on my Windows 7 for two years. All of a sudden i received a system error. The dongle seems to be malfunctioning. It does the same thing on my laptop which has Vista OS.


Share your comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s