Graphic File Extensions


A file created in Adobe Illustrator, a vector graphics editing software. Because Illustrator files are saved in vector format, they can be enlarged without losing any image quality. Shapes in Illustrator are created using mathematical lines and curvature, which is why there is no such thing as resolution until the image is exported or printed. If a third-party program opens the .ai file and the image looks blurry, it is because the program converted the image to bitmap format and has been rasterized.

In order to open a .ai file in Photoshop, the file must have been saved from Illustrator containing PDF content. If the file does not contain PDF content then the file will not be able to open, instead a message will be displayed stating,"This is an Adobe Illustrator file that was saved without PDF Content. To place or open this file in other applications, it should be re-saved from Adobe Illustrator with the "Create PDF Compatible File" option turned on."

Programs That Support .ai Files

  • Adobe After Effects can read and use .ai files for video editing.
  • Cinema 4D allows importing .ai files in order to convert to 3D images and can also support basic editing.
  • CorelDRAW can edit .ai files natively, but with some limitations.
  • Corel Paint Shop Pro can edit .ai files natively.
  • DrawPlus allows importing version 9 and above files, but must be saved from Illustrator as PDF Compatible.
  • FlexiSign is a program used to make signs. Can read .ai files.
  • FreeHand supports .ai files version 8 and lower and will export version 7 .ai files.
  • Ghostscript can convert .ai files into several different formats.
  • Inkscape allows importing .ai files up to version 8 and also .ai files based on PDF (version 9 and above).
  • OmniGraffle is a program for diagramming and digital illustration.
  • Scribus can open, edit and embed PostScript and PDF .ai files.
  • Skencil has very basic .ai support.
  • sK1 is a free vector graphics editor which supports .ai files up to version 9.
  • UniConvertor is a free vector graphics translator program which supports .ai files up to version 9.
  • Xara Xtreme has basic .ai file support.
  • XnView uses Ghostscript to read .ai, .eps, .ps, and .pdf files.
  • Zamzar is a free web-based tool that converts .ai files into a variety of image formats.

Several other programs support viewing .ai files. Some common ones are: Adobe Reader, Adobe Photoshop, Preview, Irfanview, and Evince.


Also known as bitmap image file or device independent bitmap (DIB) file format. Raster image format used to store and display images. Supports 24-bit color, and suitable for photos. The .bmp file can store two-dimensional digital images in color and monochrome in various color depths and supports data compression, alpha channels, and color profiles.


Short for Encapsulated PostScript. Essentially a graphic format for vector images that Adobe Illustrator uses. A .eps file is a platform independent and is fully scalable. If opened in a vector program it can be resized without loss of quality, but if imported into a program like Photoshop, the image will be rasterized and uneditable.


Short for Graphics Interchange Format. Raster format used for screen presentation only. Used on the internet for images with 256 colors or less. Commonly used for annimations.

.jpeg, .jpg

Short for Joint Photographic Experts Group. Raster format for a compressed image. Commonly produced by digital photography. The .jpg file format is the most common format for storing and transmitting images on the world wide web.


Short for Portable Document Format. Enables files to be viewed cross-platform and without the original program that created them. A .pdf file includes complete descriptions of a document including the text, fonts, vector graphics, raster images and any other needed information in order to view the file.


Photoshop Document. Adobe Photoshop's native raster image format.

.tiff, .tif

Short for Tag Image File Format. Platform-independent raster image format. Supported in almost all software.

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