2011-05-03 08:38:24

Basic information about vector graphics files and how to open vector graphic files

About vector graphics files

Vector graphics file types are typically generated by drawing or illustration programs (e.g. Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW) and are composed of mathematically-defined geometric shapes-lines, paths, objects and fills. Since vectors entail both magnitude and direction, vector elements thus are comprised of line segments whose length represents magnitude and whose orientation in space represents direction.

Vector graphics usually are easily modified within the application, which created them and generally are not affected detrimentally by scaling (enlarging or reducing their size) compared to raster or bitmap image file types, where image scaling reduces picture quality. Because vector elements are mathematically-defined, scaling simply requires modification of their mathematical locations.
However, vector files don't support photographic imagery well and often can have difficulties with cross-platform exchange.

The most used vector graphics formats are: SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), AI (Adobe Illustrator Graphics), CDR (CorelDraw Vector Graphics), WMF (Windows Metafile Format) and DRW (Vector Drawing file).

You can check all Vector Graphics file formats sorted by name in our Vector graphics file type category, that you can access from the main page on the left category bar.

How to open and view vector images

Vector graphics can be usually opened and viewed by most image viewers or graphic editors. Some special  and often proprietary vector graphics formats can only be opened in a special viewer or editor, but the common formats are supported by most if not all  f them.
Simply check our database for the vector graphics file extension you are looking for and in the table below its description you will see a table with software, sorted by platform and actions, that is able to perform a specific action with the the the the vector graphics files, such as open, edit, print etc..

Example of vector graphics software table of recommended applications, sorted by platforms and by actions they are able to perform.

You can also click on each software to open its own web entry on our website, that often contains additional useful information about it, such as developer, website, reviews or other useful articles.

How to open unknown vector graphic file

If you want to open a vector graphics file with file extension that is not recognized by your image viewer by default, you can try the following and open the file. If the file is really in vector graphics format you will be able to open and view it. Otherwise an error will occur and tell you that the image viewer is not able to open the file.

Try to use the FileOpen... action, that is available in most programs and select All files (*.*) option in the browse menu, that will show even files that are not supported the application by default. If the file is a common vector graphics file, you will open it regardless of its file extension and see it.

More information can also be found in our how to identify unknown file formats article.

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