What kind of files can Adobe Illustrator open?

Teodor Nechita
by Teodor Nechita
Software Managing Editor
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  • Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based graphics editor created by Adobe.
  • The program is capable of opening a wide variety of image files, as well as create them from scratch
  • Adobe Photoshop is an equally-good graphics editor, only that it is raster-based rather than vector-based.
  • For more articles like the one below, check out our dedicated File Opener page.
Adobe Illustrator
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Adobe is well-known for the host of products that it provides to users worldwide. This also includes their line of programs aimed at graphics design, such as Adobe Illustrator, or Adobe Photoshop.

Adobe Illustrator is Adobe’s de-facto vector graphics editor, and many people use it in order to create intricate drawings. These can be both artistic in nature or precise designs used in real-life applications, such as architecture.

However, no matter how popular Adobe Illustrator is, not a lot of people know just what kind of files it can open. Normally you would probably think that it supports all standard image formats, such as JPG, BMP, etc, and some of Adobe’s proprietary formats, such as Photoshop’s PSD.

Of course, you couldn’t be further away from the truth, since the list goes way beyond that.

What are the supported file formats for Adobe Illustrator?

Depending on what exactly you want to do with Adobe illustrator, the list of supported file formats varies.

1. File formats supported for opening

Adobe Idea file (idea)CorelDRAW 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (cdr)PCX (pcx)
Adobe Illustrator (ai, ait)Encapsulated PostScript (eps, epsf, ps)Photoshop (psd, pdd)
Adobe Illustrator Draw (draw)Enhanced Metafile (emf)Pixar (pxr)
Adobe Illustrator Line (line)GIF89a (gif)PNG (png, pns)
Adobe PDF (pdf)Illustrator EPS (eps, epsf, ps)SVG (svg)
Adobe Photoshop Sketch (sket)JPEG (jpg, jpe, jpeg)SVG Compressed (svgz)
AutoCAD Drawing (dwg)JPEG2000 (jpf, jpx, jp2, j2k, j2c, jpc)Targa (tga, vda, icb, vst)
AutoCAD Interchange File (dxf)Macintosh PICT (pic, pct)Text (txt)
BMP (bmp, rle, dib)Microsoft RTF (rtf)TIFF (tif, tiff)
Computer Graphics Metafile (cgm)Microsoft Word (doc, docx)Windows Metafile (wmf)

2. File formats supported for placing

Adobe Illustrator (ai, ait)GIF89a (gif)PNG (png, pns)
Adobe PDF (pdf)JPEG (jpg, jpe, jpeg)SVG (svg)
AutoCAD Drawing (dwg)JPEG2000 (jpf, jpx, jp2, j2k, j2c, jpc)SVG Compressed (svgz)
AutoCAD Interchange File (dxf)Macintosh PICT (pic, pct)Targa (tga, vda, icb, vst)
BMP (bmp, rle, dib)Microsoft RTF (rtf)Text (txt)
Computer Graphics Metafile (cgm)Microsoft Word (doc, docx)TIFF (tif, tiff)
CorelDRAW 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (cdr)PCX (pcx)Windows Metafile (wmf)
Encapsulated PostScript (eps, epsf, ps)Photoshop (psd, pdd)
Enhanced Metafile (emf)Pixar (pxr)

3. File formats supported for saving

Adobe Illustrator (ai)AutoCAD Interchange File (dxf)PNG (png)
Adobe PDF (pdf)BMP (bmp)SVG (svg)
Illustrator EPS(eps)CSS (css)Targa (tga)
Illustrator Template (ait)Enhanced Metafile (emf)Text Format (txt)
SVG (svg)Flash (swf)TIFF (tif)
SVG Compressed (svgz)JPEG (jpg)Windows Metafile (wmf)
File formats supported for exportingMacintosh PICT (pct)
AutoCAD Drawing (dwg)Photoshop (psd)

4. File formats supported for saving for web

GIF (gif)
JPEG (jpg)
PNG (png)
File formats supported for saving for screens
Adobe PDF (pdf)
JPEG (jpg)
PNG (png)
SVG (svg)

All in all, if you’re into graphic design, then Adobe Illustrator is a must-have in your toolkit, as it is an industry-standard with pretty much everybody using it.

Download Adobe Illustrator for Free

Other software tools that are similar to Adobe Illustrator

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As far as supported file formats go, there are plenty of other software solutions that do pretty much the same job as Adobe Illustrator.

Here are our suggestions for Adobe Illustrator alternatives:

As you can see, Adobe Illustrator is quite handy at opening a wide variety of formats. While it is a bit more limited when it comes to formats that it can place or save, they are more than enough for the common user.

Do you think Adobe Illustrator supports enough file formats, or should the list be expanded? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.


FAQ: Learn more about Adobe Illustrator

  • Can I get Adobe Illustrator for Free?

Adobe Illustrator can be acquired for free and tested over a 7-day Trial period. If you want the raster-based alternative, then check out our Adobe Photoshop product page.

  • Is Photoshop better than Illustrator?

It all depends on what you want to do with the software, with Illustrator being better at creating graphic designs, while Photoshop is better at enhancing and doctoring them.

  • Is Adobe Illustrator worth the money?

If you make a living creating graphic designs using tools like Adobe Illustrator, investing in a subscription is well worth the cost. However, there are some free alternatives out there as well.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in May 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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Editor's Note: This article was originally published in December 2019 and was revamped and updated in June 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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