AI files are the native vector file type for Adobe Illustrator. With an AI file, designers can scale their graphics, drawings and images infinitely with no affect on resolution. Learn more about the pros and cons of the AI image format and discover how you can create, open and edit them.
What is an AI file?
AI, which stands for Adobe Illustrator, is the proprietary Adobe file type for vector images. Other common vector image file types include PDF, EPS and SVG. Unlike raster files made from pixels, vector files don’t lose resolution when scaled because they’re built on a complex graph-like formula that is infinitely expandable.
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:
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 programme, 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.
AI files: frequently asked questions.
Can I view AI files on applications other than Illustrator?
What’s the difference between a raster and vector file?
Unlike raster files made from pixels, vector files don’t lose resolution when scaled because they’re built on a complex graph-like formula that is infinitely expandable. Because raster images contain a set number of pixels, they can become grainy or “pixelated” when scaled beyond their intended size. Vector images, on the other hand, can scale to any size without any loss in quality.
Find out more about the differences between raster and vector images.
Can I edit an AI file without Illustrator?
How do I convert an AI file to a PDF?
How do I send an AI file via email?
Package your files, fonts and images to easily email your AI file. Here’s how:
Select File > Package and a location for your folder. Select Package and attach the folder to an email. Alternatively, you can save your full image as a PDF and send it via email.