The main problem with buying software when you first purchase a machine, most people don't know what they want to do, or what they CAN do, so they let the dealer talk them into what ever software their brand of machine sells.
I purchased the software that my dealer sold when I first bought my machine, and could never figure it out. It was expensive and when they came out with an update, they wanted a whole lot more money.
I found out about Embird, purchased it, and have never regretted it. It is one of the least expensive programs out there, but it does as much if not more than some of the others. And when they put out an upgrade, you only pay the difference between the cost of the version you have, and what ever the price of the new version is. Usually it's no more than $15 to $20, if you keep current when they release a new version.
I can't compare it to most of the other softwares out there, but it does what I need it to do. It does all the "basics" such as converting designs, changing colors, resizing, rotating, you can edit designs, combine designs, you can watch how your design is going to sew out, print templates, print a thread color list, search for designs. You can even create a jpeg image of your design, so if you wanted to show someone that doesn't have embrodiery software what a design looks like, just create a jpeg, and send it to them.
With the addtion of their Font Engine plugin, you can easily create text from any font that is loaded onto your comptuer, including Wingdings. With Studio, you can digitize your own designs. There are a number of Yahoo Groups that support Embird, and a number of people that have tutorials on the program, so there is always help available. They also have a plug in, that allows you to view your designs as an icon of the design, rather than a generic icon, so you can see what your designs look like in your windows explorer window, with out having to open the design in the software. There are other programs that do that also, so you don't need Embird to be able to view your designs.
The trial version of Embird is the same as the full version, the only limits that are on the program is either 30 days, or 100 uses (a use is every time you open the program, so be careful if you open it 20 or 30 times a day). The additional plugins (Font Engine, Studio, Cross Stitch and Sfumato (picture stitch) have other restrictions for their trial. But with the basic program you can try everything, and save your work. Once the trial period is over, the only designs you can open are the ones that came with the program, until you register it.
I'm still learning how to digitize, so I don't know what all Embrid can do in that department. And I'm sure there are things this program can do that I haven't mentioned. I think for the price, you can't beat Embird.
Diane in Colorado Springs