All about AI files

The ai file extension is used by Adobe Illustrator, a vector graphics editor. As a proprietary file format, the ai (Adobe Illustrator Artwork) format is maintained by Adobe Systems. However, it is based on the non-proprietary eps and pdf formats (ai files may be saved with the option of either pdf or postscript compatibility).

As opposed to raster graphics (bmp bitmap images), ai files store picture information not as single pixels, but as combinations of lines and curves that can be described by mathematical formulas with relatively few parameters. Thus, ai files are considerably smaller than bmp files, with the additional advantage of infinite image size scalability without becoming pixelated.

Besides Adobe Illustrator, some other graphics editors can open and edit ai files. Examples are CorelDraw, Corel Paintshop Pro and the free Inkscape software. The Mac OS Preview software lets users view ai files. Some programs only support either the postscript or the pdf compatible ai versions.

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