History of the AI file.
Adobe introduced the AI image format with Illustrator 9 in 2000. Before, Illustrator used the EPS file format.
AI files were designed to display vector-based EPS files and single-page PDFs. The previous EPS format combined both vector and raster image data.
Today, designers can still save, edit, and reopen EPS images as AI files, though EPS files don’t support transparency in the same way that AI files do.
How to use an AI file.
Because of their small size and easy scalability, many designers prefer to use Adobe Illustrator files for their artwork. Typically, designers will use AI files for:
AI files designed in Illustrator give logos clarity and scalability so they can be used in everything from a business card to a billboard in Times Square. Plus, AI is great for laying out typography that will remain crisp and legible at any size.
AI files are perfect for printing digitally designed images, drawings, and graphics because they retain detail and clarity at different sizes. This distinguishes them from raster images, which can appear grainy and pixelated in print when scaled beyond their intended size.
Transparent graphics and designs
Unlike Illustrator’s previous EPS format, AI files allow for transparency. This makes AI a great starting place for creating web graphics that need to layer on top of different backgrounds.
Discover more vector file types
When to use an AI file.
Depending on your project, the AI file format may work better in some scenarios than others. Here’s what you need to know:
Advantages of AI files.
- With infinite resizing capabilities, AI files are your go-to image file type for reproducing Illustrator drawings in print.
- Simple AI files tend to be small, making them easy to share, upload, and store.
- You can use AI files for transparency, layering, and pristine typography in graphics, logos, and icons.
- AI files are tailor-made for Illustrator, so if you’re creating a design in the program, you know you’re working with the intended format.
Other considerations for AI files.
- AI files are only fully compatible with Adobe Illustrator. You can view and lightly edit AI files in certain other apps, but you won’t be able to make the same kind of changes that would be possible in Illustrator.
- If you need to edit pixels, you’ll want to use a different file format since AI files work best with vector-based images.
How to open an AI file.
To open an AI file in Illustrator, choose File > Open and select the file from your computer. Ensure that your file has the .AI extension. You can also open PDF, EPS, and SVG files.
Note that, while you can open AI files in other applications, this may convert your image from vector to raster.
How to create and edit an AI file.
Follow these easy steps to create an AI file in Adobe Illustrator.
- Launch Illustrator and choose File > New.
- Choose your document type, like Mobile, Web, Print, or Film & Video.
- Click a document pre-set to select your size.
- Click Create to open a new document.
- Once you’ve finished creating, save your design as a .AI file type.
To edit your design:
- Open your .AI design in Illustrator.
- Use the toolbar to edit your design.
- Save your image as a .AI file.
AI files: frequently asked questions.