Vector Image File Formats
- EPS – Adobe’s EPS format (Encapsulated PostScript) is perhaps the most common vector image format. It is the standard format in the print industry. Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW read and write EPS. Inkscape can only export it.
- AI – The native format of Adobe Illustrator is the AI format (Adobe Illustrator Artwork), a modified version of the older EPS format. The AI format is fairly widely supported, but is less ubiquitous than the EPS format, and most programs that read AI can also read EPS.
- PDF – Adobe’s PDF format (Portable Document Format) is very widely used as a general purpose platform-independent document format. And while it is not exclusively used as such, it is also a very good vector image format. Adobe gives away the Acrobat PDF reader, but sells the tools required to create PDF files (third party tools that perform the same task are also for sale). Those tools work with any program that is able to print. Support for reading and editing PDF files is much more limited.
- SVG – The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) standard vector image format is called SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics). Inkscape and recent versions of Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW have good support for reading and writing SVG. Further information on the SVG format may be found on the official SVG website.
- DXF – Drawing eXchange Format. A CAD format from Autodesk, used by CAD tools from many different vendors. Some programs have difficulty reading DXF files with splines (curves), so the Desktop Edition supports line+spline as well as line only output modes.
Bitmap Image File Formats
There is an extremely large number of different bitmap formats. Some of the most common include: JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, and TIFF. Broadly speaking, they fall into two categories:
- Lossy image formats (e.g., JPEG) have smaller file sizes but do not store a perfect copy of the image. They are best suited to photographs and other images where perfect accuracy is not important. They are also commonly used on the web to save bandwidth.
- Lossless image formats (e.g., PNG, BMP, and TIFF) store an exact pixel-by-pixel representation of the image, but require more space. They are more suitable for things like logos. Arguably the best of these formats is PNG. It is widely supported and has very good compression.
Some specific comments on these formats:
- JPEG/JPG – One of the most widely-used image formats is the JPEG format (Joint Photographers’ Expert Group). This format has excellent compression characteristics and has the nice feature that the user may specify what level of compression they desire, trading off fidelity for file size.
- PNG – The best of the lossless image formats is called PNG (Portable Network Graphics). This format is widely supported by web browsers and image viewers/editors.
- BMP – There are actually several BMP formats (BitMaP). Windows and Macintosh have their own formats, both of which are called BMP. Most modern image editing tools are able to read both.In any case, all of the variants of BMP should be avoided when possible, as they use little to no compression and consequently have unnecessarily large file sizes.
- TIFF/TIF – This format (Tagged Image File Format) is used to store raw bitmap data by some programs and devices such as scanners. This format comes in a compressed and an uncompressed variant. The former is comparable to PNG, while the latter is more like BMP.adapted from vectormagic.com
GRAPHIC COMMUNICATIONS FILE FORMATS