Vector Based Image File Formats & Extensions and their Definitions

Vector Based Image File Formats

When you think about quality logo, banner, marketing design, and some other corporate identity designs, you can’t skip vector images. For advertising purposes, you should use images of high quality, distortion free, and extended at any sizes. You should use vector images, because only vector format can serve you the purposes. Raster images cannot keep their original quality zoom or expand them for larger media, since pixels are made up of dots. So, when you zoom or expand, all you see is pixilated stuffs or dots. However, vector image formats contain vector lines, fills, & patterns which can be zoomed at the maximum sizes without losing image quality and dynamically retain their original look, as they are not limited to pixels.


Various Image File Format Lists
>> Different Types Of Raster Image File Formats And Their Features Explained


There are various types of vector formats considering many useful features and usage sectors. Some of them are perfect for graphics or 2D images, some of them are highly portable and web-friendly, and some are convenient for print industry. All the vector formats produce distortion free high quality, fully extended graphics.

PDF (Portable Document Format)

PDF is a platform-independent image file format. That’s why the file system is not affected by Operating System and you can open the file in Windows, OSX, and even Linux. It can be used for storing many raster formats (which most often is the case), but you can also use this format as a very good vector format. It can contain both raster and vector file. But, it depends on how you have created the file. If its layers can be flattened, it is a raster image in the file. But, you may find difficulty in flattening a vector file.

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AI (Adobe Illustrator Artwork)


Nope, AI here is not Artificial Intelligence, we are talking about Adobe Illustrator file format. AI file acts like PSD that can be reopened and edited as you want. AI file is the native image format of Adobe Illustrator. It is a modified version of the older EPS format. The tools that can read EPS can also read AI format. This file format is mostly used for creating logos, Illustrations, and print layouts. In short, this AI Formats are best from of Vector File Formats.


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SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)


Scalable vector graphics are actually high quality image formats. The image of this format can be created by various Adobe Programs including Adobe Illustrator, Flash, After Effects, and more. The image of this format is quite lightweight, scalable, and OS independent. That’s why this file format is very popular for web resources. It provides much flexibility while editing. These images can be scaled up at large sizes without a bit of distortion. And the best thing is, SVGs are supported by almost all browser now-a-days. However, SVG file size can be higher if it contains many small size contents. It is not possible to read object partly, but entire object which may slow you down.

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EPS (Encapsulated PostScript)

It is now an almost becoming legacy format, as new formats are becoming more popular. However, there are still many software in the market that support EPS files. It is the most common vector image format that still has good popularity. It can be reopened, edited, and exported any time at any sizes. The best use of EPS file is for logo, graphic, and print design. It is mostly supported as an export format. Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW can read and edit EPS file, Ghostview is a reader, and Inkscape is an exporter.Read More:



DXF stands for Drawing eXchange Format. It is also known as a ‘tagged data’ which is preceded by integer- ‘group code’. It is a CAD from Autodesk and used by CAD tools. All programs cannot read DXF files having splines (curves). Anyway, DFX is not so useful now because AutoCAD has become more powerful meanwhile with its supporting complex object types.


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CGM (Computer Graphics Metafile)

It is a free and international standard file format for 2D vector & raster graphics and text. But, it is not supported for web pages. This file format has been succeeded by other graphic art formats. But, this format is great for product design. That’s why this file format is being still used for aviation, engineering, and many other technical tools and applications.

SWF (Small Web Format)

You might have seen flash on many sites. But, SWF is the file format that helps you to see the flash animations. This is in fact an Adobe Flash file format and it is used for multimedia, Vector graphics, and ActionScript. A SWF file format contains various interactive and functional animations or applets. They occur in a lot of programs using ActionScript. Many programs can generate SWF files.


For instance, Adobe products including Flash, Flash Builders which is an IDE, Adobe Animate, After Effects, etc. Adobe Illustrator can generate SWF files using ‘Export’ function, but it cannot open or edit those files. There are some other 3rd party tools like Multimedia Fusion 2, Captivate, SWiSH Max, etc. can produce SWF files. SWF can also contain both raster and vector images, but vector SWF files are way too smaller than the raster counterpart.

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It is a geospatial vector data format for geographic information system (GIS) software. It can spatially elaborate vector features such as anchor points, lines or polylines, polygons, etc. As a result, this format is useful for creating vector map and presenting water wells, rivers, lakes, building, and other things. In fact, this format is a digital vector storage to store location and other information associated with location.

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WMF (Windows Metafile)

This file format is designed for Microsoft Windows. It can contain both vector graphics and bitmap components. WMF format acts almost like SVG files. It also can store a list of function calls issued by Graphics Devices Interface (GDI). WMF is the native vector format for some Microsoft Office applications like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Publishers, etc. From 2015, WMF file format is available for online reading or download as PDF.

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GBR (Gerber Format)

It is an open ASCII vector format for 2D binary images. This industry-standard format is used in PCB fabrication data. The vector based format is used as a way of transferring printed electronic circuit board information to many devices. The latest version of GBR format supports polygons, ovals, circles, outlines, arches, etc. and many other shapes that are necessary for creating a circuit board. It also can represent copper layers, legend, solder mask, drill & route data, etc. and its attributes can supply meta-data about the images.

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 CDR (CorelDRAW)

CorelDraw is in fact a vector graphic editor and creator. The images created by this software get .cdr file extension. It can create two dimensional vector graphics which act same as the vector images created by other tools like Adobe Illustrator. The graphics of this format like logo, banner, poster, etc. are distortion free high quality vector images and they can be used anywhere for personal or commercial purposes. The CRD images contain all necessary quality of vector graphics including zooming capability at any sizes and others.

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EVA (Extended Vector Animation)

It is a vector graphic file format. It is different from other vector image formats. It is one of the popular formats in Japan and has been produced only for the Japanese versions of Windows. It has never been created for English versions. This format is comparable with the Macromedia Flash format, nevertheless EVA file format size is less than that of Flash. Anyway, this format has been declared to discontinue from January, 2016.

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HVIF (Haiku Vector Icon Format)

It is a vector storage format and created to store various icons, specifically for Haiku Operating System. The vector image of this format renders fast due to its small file size. Its native icon size is 64×64 pixels. It has three basic path types like path with commands, straight lines, and curves and for creating icons, there are four paths such as horizontal line, vertical line, line, and cubic curve. It contains two colors- plain color and gradient. HVIF consists of three sections- first one encodes styles, second one the paths, and the last one shapes. Its average icon size is of 500-700 bytes. However, the vector graphics of this format are less in size than any other vector image formats.

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PGML (Precision Graphics Markup Language)

It is basically an XML based language that represents vector graphics. This format for those graphic artists who want their graphics show precisely the correct fonts, layout, color, and composite. This format was not adopted as a recommendation though it was a W3C submission as a proposal by many great companies like Adobe Systems. However, it later took part and improved upon to produce SVG.

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This graphics file format was developed for original Apple Macintosh. It was a standard metafile format of Mac. It allows the interchange for images from both raster and vector formats. This format was designed to make vector graphics compact. Later, it was replaced by PDF, though there was taken a measure to retain the format.

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Anyway, vector image formats are necessary to have distortion free fully scalable graphics. The images of this format can be used anywhere for commercial or personal purposes. Vector images are very useful for logo, banner, real estate ad design, industrial product design, catalog & manual design, corporate ad design, and many more.

We at Color Experts International, have been providing all types of vector design services such as raster to vector conversion, vector illustration, vector line drawing, vector artwork design, and more at the most competitive price packages. We provide high end quality vector design services. We have worldwide customers and if you need to judge our service, take our Free Trial offer up to 2 images and then take your decision.

If you are interested in different types of raster image file formats, read our previous blog post
>> Different Types Of Raster Image File Formats And Their Features Explained