A direct digital synthesis (DDS) waveform generator for electromagnetic non-destructive testing (NDT) is presented in order to improve the measurement quality. The advantage and disadvantage of analogue and digital circuit waveform generators are analyzed. The DDS technique is preferred. The principle of DDS technique is introduced and the hardware and software design of a DDS waveform generator is described. The characteristics of the waveform generator based on a DDS chip AD7008 are that the signal frequency is of high stability, high precision and high resolution. Furthermore, the amplitude, frequency and phase can be continuously adjusted. An experimental electromagnetic NDT system is built and the testing results are analyzed. The system uses digitally generated sine waves as exciting, reference and demodulation signals. Experimental results show that the DDS waveform generator improves the signal-to-noise ratio. This kind of wave generation circuit is used not only in NDT but also in other instruments, such as electrical impedance tomography (EIT), which need signals with high stability, high precision and high resolution.