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There are many different file types in the design word: PNG, JPG, PSD, SVG, and more. An EPS file is another one you will commonly find. Here’s what an EPS file is and how to open one.

All About Vectors

All of the aforementioned file types and others essentially fall into two categories—raster and vector. Raster-based applications—and their accompanying file types—use pixels to create images. When you zoom in, you can literally see the individual pixels.

Vectors, on the other hand, create shapes with “nodes” and “points.” The points and nodes can be moved to change the shape, and it can be scaled to any size without losing quality, unlike a raster-based image.

Raster vs Vector
Raster vs Vector

Think about it like a canvas. Raster is like when you use paint. It may look clean from certain distances, but when you get up close, you can see all the irregularities in the brush strokes. A vector is like cutting out a shape and gluing it to the canvas. It kinda “floats” on top and the edges are clean.

Photoshop creates raster images, while Illustrator creates vectors, such as EPS, AI, and SVG files. An EPS file is a vector file that contains all the information needed for vector-based applications.

RELATED: What's the Difference between Illustrator and Photoshop?


SVG Logo on a Blue Background

EPS and SVG are both vector-based file types, but they exist separately for a reason. EPS is an older standard that’s primarily used in print. SVG is newer and more suitable for use on the web.

On a technical level, EPS is based on PostScript while SVG is based on XML. The differences really come down to print vs web. An EPS file may be used to print something out, while logos and graphics on a website are more likely to be SVG.

RELATED: What Is an SVG File, and How Do I Open One?

How to Open an EPS File

EPS files are slightly different than other vector file types. An SVG file can be viewed in a standard browser such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox. However, EPS files cannot.

To open an EPS file, you’re going to need a dedicated application. Adobe Illustrator can open EPS files with no issues. Photoshop and the open-source alternative can also import EPS files, but they convert it to raster in the process.

If you use the open-source alternative to Illustrator—Inkscape—you’ll need to use a workaround to load an EPS file. It’s actually very simple, though. All you need to do is convert the EPS file to a PDF. All the vector points and nodes will be correctly stored as a PDF.

In short, an EPS file is simply another specialized file that works with compatible computer applications. They’re still commonly found if you download vector images online.


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Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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