Ursa Software Support Pages What are other people asking about?

On this page, we list questions asked in emails by customers and prospective buyers, together with our answers. 


Q: I have changed my computer or upgraded to a new version of OSX /Windows and now something doesn’t work?
A: Sadly, although Windows runs programs written years ago, every other release of OSX changes something that a breaks older programs.
(e.g. PowerPC versions don’t work on intel Macs. OSX 10.2 versions don’t work on Mavericks.
2014 versions and earlier may not work on the summer 2015 versions of Yosemite
2016 versions onwards only work on OSX 10.7 and later)

We change what needs to be changed for shipping versions of Macstitch, but we cannot go back and change the old versions.
If you upgrade your Mac OS, you may sometimes need to upgrade to the latest MacStitch too.
Please use the
upgrade link to obtain a new version at a very discounted price.

Q: Due to a computer crash, I have lost my program, how can I redownload it?
A: Normally, you should make a backup of any software you buy as a download, and we recommend using TimeMachine on the Mac as a great way to recover your machine if it dies.
We and our retailers offer an extended download option: if you bought that at the time of purchase, or you have our ‘lifetime upgrades’ option, then send an email and we will send you a new download link.
If you do not have either of those options, please use the
upgrade link to obtain a new copy at a very discounted price.

Q: What is the difference between the Lite/Standard/Premium versions?

A: Click here for a list of most of the differences.

Q: Why is there no telephone number on the site?

A: We are based in the UK, but trade internationally, particularly with the USA. This means that during the evening in the US, (when most people use the internet), it is night time in the UK. When we had a phone number on the site, many of the phone calls happened at 1 or 2 in the morning.
We’re more than happy to speak to you in person. Please send an email in the first instance, and we can arrange a suitable time between us.

Q: I ordered from your site and have heard nothing yet: is there a problem?
A: PayPal process our orders, and are supposed to send us confirmation emails at the same time as they send one to you.
Sometimes they fail to do this, or delay the email by a few hours. Often a customer types an incorrect return email address, or
the one used by Paypal is an old one, and all we can do is wait for a ‘real’ email to arrive so that we can respond to it.
We aim to respond to you within 24 hours at the latest.
If you have not received an email from us about your order in that time, please email us directly and we will leap into action for you.

Q: Is it possible in the future to obtain updates to any program I'll buy?
A: We only charge for upgrades when we change the version number. So if you have a version 1,2 or 3 ( or X-Stitch Studio) and want to upgrade to a version with a bigger number, then this is a chargeable upgrade. But minor updates (eg we issued 7 releases of MacStitch 3.x and Stitch 2008) are free to registered users with extended download, and available for a small download fee in other situations.

Q: I am trying your demo version, and I can't print. Does the full program print? A: The demo version will allow you to print. However, you must load one of our sample charts, and print that before it has been amended in any way. The demo will not print a chart you create or amend yourself. The full program is not limited in this way.
Q: Why is the price I am charged not exactly what I see on your website?
A: For many years, UK VAT regulations meant that we don’t need to register for VAT, and could set a VAT-free price available across the world. New VAT regulations that came into force on 1 Jan 2015 mean that EU countries insist upon collecting VAT for any digital sale , taxed at the country of purchase. We are unable to determine the true country of origin of an online order, and so we have had to switch to using a reseller that is VAT compliant , to deliver download sales. They must add tax for your local situation, and that can cause the actual price charged to vary by country. We live in hope that the VATMOSS petition will show Europe that the new VAT laws (designed to stop large corporations avoid tax by basing themselves in Luxembourg or Dublin) are crippling smaller businesses.
We still sell direct, at a fixed , non-VAT price for physical goods only.

Q: Will MacStitch work on OSX ?
A: Yes. all versions from 10.6 and later. When the 2016 edition becomes 64 bit during the year, it will need OS X 10.7 onwards.
Q: Is MacStitch Retina compatible?
A: All versions run on Retina machines without trouble. The latest MacStitch Premium is now Retina enabled.
Q: Is WinStitch compatible with Windows 7 and Windows 8 and 10?
A: Yes!


Q: It seems to take a long time to save?
A: In the preferences screen, there is an option for ‘Zip archive’ This option was added due to the large number of people who mislaid or accidentally deleted their charts. It makes a side copy of the chart every time you save so that we can retrieve it for you if lost, and you can get back a version of the chart from days ago if you make changes today then decide you shouldn’t have. The zip process takes a few seconds, so if you want faster saving and don’t need this safety net, just untick the box.

Q: When I import a picture I want to use only threads which I already have. How do I do that?
A: To force the program to use a fixed range of colours, you need to create a custom palette. Add all you threads to the palette, and use the Palette/ Save palette as.. option. Save the palette as ‘Mypalette.palette’ or any other name you like. (If this is going to be used a lot, you might save it as the default.palette)/ In the advanced image import window, when you choose the set of threads you want to use, instead of choosing DMC.threads or Anchor.threads, select your palette. Only your colours will appear in the imported image. This won’t give you as close a match as allowing a full set of threads to be used.

Q: I added a small key and some text boxes using the new features, but they do not seem to be saved with the chart? A: You have the ‘save in old format’ option checked in the preferences screen. Older versions of our programs do not have these textboxes as a feature, and so they are not part of the saved file. Untick the option in preferences.
Q: The blurb says that you offer rectangular grids for knitting, but I cant see that feature anywhere?
A: The shape of the grid defaults to cross stitch, but there are other shapes available. We put this option in the ‘View’ menu.
Go to the View menu
From there, select the type of knitting you are doing (aran, DK, etc)
The grid will change to rectangles of the right aspect.
While the grid is rectangular,stitched view will look like stocking stitch.)

The menu item
Edit/Adjust for knitting is to let you take a cross stitch design and add extra rows to make it the right shape for knitting.
So a circle of cross stitch would be a flattened oval when knitted.
But f you use the 'adjust for knitting', then switch to knitting view, you should still have a reasonable circle

Q: When I paste a letter or motif, it will not stop pasting: how do I stop?
A:The quick answer is : you stop pasting by starting to do something else. Simply click on the full stitch icon to switch to normal drawing, for instance. However, this behaviour is by design: it allows you to build up a row of motifs to act as a border. When using lettering, the program has another trick up its sleeve. Assume you want to make the word HELLO. You click the letter H, and paste it. Normally, you would now click the letter E, but you can quickly change to E by pressing the letter E on the keyboard, while the mouse remains in the correct area of the design. The letter shape will change to E, and you can paste that. Then press L and paste it twice. Next, press O and paste that. Finally, click on the full stitch icon to stop pasting letters.

Q: I am trying your demo version: how will I know which thread to use when stitching a particular symbol?
A: When you print the chart, the last page to print is a key, which shows the symbol, and the name and color of the thread. If you print as symbols, the key shows symbols.  If you print as color blocks, the key shows color blocks.

Q: How big are the charts ?
A: A single chart can be 999 x 999 stitches in size. If a tapestry is worked on 10 stitches to the inch, that is a finished work of 100 inches square, or 8 feet by 8 feet. If you are doing cross stitch on 20 hpi cloth, the maximum size is about 4 feet by 4 feet.

Q: When I print out, I get a lot of extra pages I didn’t expect. Why?
A: If you start with a larger chart area than you need (for instance 300 x 300 when you are actually using 80 x 80 stitches), then there is an area of chart you did not use.
But some people like to have a space around the printed design, so the program prints the whole chart.
If you have done this, and do not want the blank area, simply choose EDIT / SHRINK TO FIT from the menus.
That will remove all the unused area from around your design.

Q: The program talks about ‘holes-per-inch’ but I stitch over 2 holes , or on Linen, and I am unsure what to choose as a size.
A: For years, our program has worked on the basis that 18 count = 18 hpi = 18 stitches per inch.
But holes-per-inch only makes sense for some cloth types.
If in doubt, treat this as ‘number of full crosses in every inch’ when choosing the setting.

Q:  Hi, I have downloaded to test the Mac Stitch before I decide to buy it, but cant find where do you get the colors for the symbols to stitch from ...e.g.  symbol 'T" or any symbol is for which color.
A: Hi. We assume you mean 'how do I make red stitches use a symbol that looks like T'?,
• Click on a color.
• Then click on it again, and choose Edit This color ( Or choose Edit This Color from the palette menu.)
• In the screen that opens, click on any unused symbol to assign it to the thread.
• In MacStitch 2009, click on the symbol in the footer area, and choose a new symbol from the window that appears

Q: How can I erase a large area?
A: To erase a big square, just choose the erase color, and draw a big square. Prior to the inclusion of the erase mode as 'color', the technique was to draw the big suare while holding CTRL But the select an area tool allows you to CUT or COPY the chosen area, using items on the edit menu.
Q: I have tried to read and understand the part about making a cross stitch pattern out of a photograph but find it very confusing so could you just clarify if this is possible with Winstitch and if so .... how difficult/easy is it?

A: There is a long answer and a short, so in reverse order, here goes..

Short Answer: Its easy. You open a picture, tell the program how big the cloth should be, what make of threads you want to use, and how many different colors it can use.
Click finish, get chart.

Long answer: When you do that, people are often surprised at the results. Sometimes in a good way, sometimes bad.
The bad experiences stem from unusual expectations, and often need to be explained.
So here are the things that catch people out:

Imagine a work of art. Imagine all the colors it contains, and how the subtle shading is achieved by blending shade upon shade, light with dark.
Reds, greens blues...
A photograph or picture may have millions of different actual colors.
But when cross stitching, we try to represent those millions of colors with just 30 or 40.
So something has to give.
Imagine a photo of a field with a brown dog in it.
Most of the picture is green. So if you blindly pick 40 colors to represent the picture, most of them are green, which does not make for a good dog.

The millions of dots that form the picture are squished to make only hundreds of stitches.
So if the picture is mostly grass, there are very few stitches to be dog.

All of that means you normally need to think about things when you import a picture.

1: Crop the picture to as close to the subject as possible.. don’t waste picture on a field or building
2: Stitch on as big a piece of cloth as you can.. more stitches = better resolution
3: Use as many colors as you can justify.. more possible colors = better matching to the original
4: Focus on the centre of the design (usually the subject) so that if you are restricted to a number of colors, it is the grass and the building that suffers, rather than the face/dog in the middle.

Remember you can always have another try, tweaking the settings to see how things change.

Q: After importing an image, is it possible to erase the whole background by clicking on it? A: Yes and no. If the background is all one color, use the eyedrop tool to find out which color it is, then use the option in the palette menu to remove stitches of that color. You can erase large rectangles by drawing in the ‘cloth’ color (erase mode). We find it is easier to erase the background if you change it to a solid color before importing the image.
In the 2014 edition, we added a freehand lasso tool to the the Advanced Import screen. You can now quickly select ‘just’ the part you want to import, and the background is not converted at all.

Q: I imported a picture of my son/daughter/dog and it is very blocky, without much detail. How can I improve this? A: The quickest and best answer is ‘use more stitches’. One common mistake people make is to take a 6 x 4 picture and try to create a 6 x 4 piece of cloth from it. The original picture has thousands of small dots (pixels) in each square inch. But aida typically has 14 stitches per inch.. thats a lot of dots to lose. So..use 18 or 20 hpi instead of 14. And make a chart of 8 inches by 6 or 10 inches by 8 instead of 6 x 4.
A second useful tip is ‘do not waste cloth on something unimportant’. If a chart is of a person, import a picture of just the face. If the picture is of an animal, do not include the grassy field they were lying upon.
Q: I created a chart of my son a few years ago, and now I want to do one of my daughter to match the size..how can I do that? A: First, know the hpi (holes per inch) of the cloth: in our example, assume this is 18. Next, measure the stitched area. It is useful to note how much of the stitched area is occupied by the head. So, as an example, the original measures 6 inches tall, and 4 inches wide. (note: this is quite small for a face.. see earlier question about detail). Of the 6 x 4, the head is 2.5 inches tall.. almost half the picture.
First, crop the new image so that you have a picture which is the right shape (the height is 1.5 times the width). Make sure that the head is a little less than half of the picture. Import into the program, and set the hpi to 18. Set the height to (18 x6) = 108 stitches. Set the width to (18 x 4) = 72 stitches. Click OK and your new design will match the size of the old one.
Q: Does your software work with embroidery machines? A: Not directly. Our charts can be converted into files for these machines using software from www.myriacross.com
Q: Why does a color on screen print in a totally different color on paper? A: Every thread has an alternate color, for printing purposes, which lets you print using a color that is easier to see than the ‘real’ color. For instance you may have a very pale yellow which is difficult to see, and choose to print this as blue. By accident or design, these alternate colors are different from the real colors in your chart. Use Palette menu/Alternate Symbol Colors/Reset To Original Thread Color