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TechnologyJan 06, 2010

Viewing and working with .ai files (vector art) without Adobe Illustrator

Credera Team

I recently received some .ai files from a design partner and needed a way to view and manipulate the data. My first assumption was that I would need Adobe Illustrator in order to open the proprietary file format. Turns out there are a couple of simple and free options:

1. Rename [filename].ai to [filename].pdf — the file can then be opened with a PDF viewer like Adobe Reader. This is a great option is you just need to view the content.

– or –

2. Download the free, open source vector graphics editor Inkscape.  Here’s a blurb from the Inkscape website:

Inkscape is an open-source vector graphics editor similar to Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, Freehand, or Xara X. What sets Inkscape apart is its use of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), an open XML-based W3C standard, as the native format.

Even though Inkscape uses SVG natively, it can open and manipulate .ai files. You can download it free from Sourceforge.