What is an AI file?

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AI file

An AI file, or Adobe Illustrator file, is a vector file used for creating and editing graphic designs and illustrations. This type of file can contain multiple artboards, layers, editable shapes, and paths. They are commonly used in industries such as graphic design, fashion, advertising, and publishing.

AI files are typically created using Adobe Illustrator software but can also be opened and edited by other programs such as CorelDRAW or Inkscape. These files often have the extension .ai or .ait. A major benefit of using AI files is their ability to maintain crisp quality when resized or scaled without losing image resolution. However, they cannot support photographic images as well as other raster formats like JPEG or PNG.

Origin of AI file


The illustrator file began in 1987 when Adobe released the first version of Adobe Illustrator. Since then, AI files have become the standard format for vector graphics. Because of their flexibility and high quality, AI files have become essential for graphic designers around the world.

When to use


An AI file is a vector which means it can be resized without losing quality, making them ideal for logos, illustrations, or icons that will be used in various sizes. Because of this, AI files are often used by graphic designers and print shops. If you plan on using graphic art in multiple sizes or need a high-quality version for graphic print, an AI file is likely the best option.

When to avoid an AI file


Generally speaking, one should avoid AI files when looking to work with photographs and other raster images. AI files are better suited for logos, illustrations, and flat graphics rather than designs including photographs.

A camera can’t produce a vector image so you should avoid using raster images within a vector file. The main disadvantage of vector files is that they cannot realistically recreate complex images like photographs.



AI files are vector files which means they are fully scalable. You can increase or decrease the size of your design without losing any quality. This is perfect for creating designs that need to be used in multiple sizes, such as website icons or logos. Additionally, AI file layers and transparency features allow you to create complex designs that can be easily edited.



AI files are compatible with various software but they are only fully supported by Adobe Illustrator. No other software can match the full compatibility of Adobe Illustrator.

  • Although you can view AI files on other apps, you won’t be able to edit them as comprehensively as you would be able to in Illustrator.

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Leon Olagh

Leon Olagh is an experienced photo retoucher and editor. He shares insights and expertise in the field of photography through his blog posts. His work reflects a meticulous approach to the art of creating and refining visual content.

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