An EPS file, or Encapsulated PostScript file, is a file format used to store images, especially for professional use. It is best known for its use of vector graphics, which means the images can be easily enlarged without loss of quality. This makes the format popular for professional printing such as banners, posters and brochures.
An EPS file allows you to adjust each element (such as colors and shapes) individually. For example, if you download a vector illustration, you can open the EPS file and change the colors of the elements within the illustration to your liking.
Advantages of the EPS format
EPS is a popular standard graphics file format for a number of important reasons.
- Versatility: The EPS format can be read by many applications and programs. Most vector-based design programs support EPS files. Some examples include Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, CorelDraw, Gravit Designer and Xara (see our list of the best vector editing apps).
- Built-in previews: EPS files contain a built-in sample image in raster format. This adds to the versatility, although it does increase the file size, as many programs that do not support EPS files can at least display the preview. The preview allows you to see what the image looks like even if you can’t open or edit it in the program you’re using.
- Support for vector graphics, bitmap images and text: Although EPS is a vector file format, you can also include bitmap/raster images in the file. For example, if you create a flyer in EPS format, you can include a bitmap image in the design. Of course, EPS files can also contain text.
Limitations of the EPS file format
While there are significant advantages to using EPS files, it is also important to be aware of some disadvantages or limitations.
- Does not support transparency: Although you can set a background color for your design and then place vector drawings or text on it, you cannot make the background transparent.
- Files with bitmap images are not 100% vector: You may encounter problems when printing a bitmap/raster file in an EPS file because bitmaps are created at specific resolutions that are not always suitable for printed documents. The vector aspects scale nicely, but the bitmap images do not.
- Limited support for page layout programs: Some software, especially formatting programs, allow you to open and view EPS files, but they cannot be edited. This means that in the page layout software, you cannot change details or features such as color or text. Instead, go back to the design software that was used to create the work to make the necessary changes.
How can I open an EPS file?
What software is required to open an EPS file?
To open an EPS file, you need special software. With vector design software such as Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW, you can open and edit EPS files. If you don’t have professional vector design software, you can also use free options such as Inkscape or Vectr.
- Adobe Illustrator : Adobe Illustrator is the premier software for designing vector graphics and Illustrations. You can easily save and open EPS files in Illustrator
- Inkscape : Inkscape is free open-source software and an excellent alternative to Adobe Illustrator. Although it does not offer all the capabilities of Illustrator, Inkscape is extremely capable. Inkscape’s default file format is .svg, but it also supports .eps files.
- CorelDRAW : CorelDRAW is another popular and powerful program for vector graphics. Unlike Illustrator, you can buy CorelDRAW for a one-time payment instead of a monthly subscription. CorelDRAW’s default format is .cdr, but you can also use it to open and edit .eps files.
- Adobe Photoshop: Adobe Photoshop is not an application for vector graphics, so support for .eps files is limited. You can open a vector .eps file, but you will have to rasterize the file, which means it is no longer a vector image. Also, you cannot edit the individual elements in the file as you can with Illustrator, Inkscape or CorelDRAW.
Other important things to know about EPS files
There are a number of other things to consider when it comes to EPS files. For example, you can edit an EPS file with vector design software, but it can be more difficult to edit than other file formats. You can also convert an EPS file to other file formats, such as JPG or PNG, but this may result in loss of quality. As an alternative to using EPS files, you can also consider saving images in other vector file formats, such as SVG or AI.