Best Practice Recommendations for Saving EPS Files

Preparing your vector for saving

Vector files can often have hidden objects or unexpanded elements that may increase file sizes. Here is what we recommend to help reduce the file size of your vector, making it easier to work with and optimized for downloading by our customers.

Delete unused swatch patterns, brushes, and/or symbols

When you create a new file in Adobe Illustrator, there are a number of default swatches, brushes, and symbols in the file. Unless you are using these in your design, they can add unnecessary weight to the overall file size. These can be manually deleted from their respective windows. There are also third party plug-ins that can help you get to them quicker.

Remove excess points

Complex vectors with thousands of paths will have tens of thousands of points, increasing the size of the vector. Using the “Simplify” command, you can reduce the amount of paths while maintaining the curves of the vector. This works best with more geometric straight-line shapes.

In Adobe Illustrator Object>Path>Simplify brings up the following dialogue box showing that the vector point volume was reduced from over 25K to 8800:

There are third party plug-ins available that can further remove unneeded paths while maintaining the integrity of bezier curves.

Use symbols

If you are creating a complex vector with repeated elements (e.g. a starry sky), creating a vector symbol of the objects can reduce the file size significantly.

First, create the vector grouping needed to create the pattern.


Next, save the symbol through the Symbols palette (Window>Symbols>New Symbol)

This is very effective in reducing file size, especially with groupings of large or complex vector designs.

Reduce the number of steps in object blends

While additional steps in a blend will result in a smooth color shift, using too many can increase file size without much benefit to the color blend. To lower the number of steps, go to Object>Blend>Blend Options. Choose the number of blends from the blend tool dialogue box and reduce until you are satisfied with the result.

Best practices for saving EPS files

As vector experts, you may already have your preferences when it comes to saving your work. That said, if you need a starting point or are having trouble with large files, we recommend the following settings in Adobe Illustrator (you can ignore the Transparency setting if it is grayed out):

The settings above can be seen in the Save As>EPS dialogue box in Adobe Illustrator. Note: if your file does not contain any transparencies, you do not need to change the Transparency setting above.

If your vector contains transparencies, you will be able to reduce its file size dramatically by setting the Raster/Vector Balance to 0 and the Resolution settings to 72 ppi. These settings will not affect the quality of the JPEG preview we create for you, nor will they affect any customers using Adobe Illustrator.

Preserving the white space around your artwork

If your artboard is larger than your artwork and you’d like to preserve any blank space around your artwork, the best way to do so is to use the Rectangle Tool. Create a white fill rectangle measuring the same dimensions of your artboard. Align the shape to the artboard, then make sure the fill box is the bottom-most layer of the artwork. This shape will act as a background “frame” to ensure the blank space of your artboard is preserved when a JPEG preview is generated.

User-added image


Appending metadata to EPS files

You can append a description and keywords to your EPS files in Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Bridge.

To append metadata directly to your EPS file in Adobe Illustrator, go to File>File Info and enter your description and keywords into the following fields:


Note: in order for the metadata entered in Adobe Illustrator to be exported, you must save your file as Adobe Illustrator 10 EPS. An Adobe Illustrator 8 EPS file will not include any metadata saved as above.

Metadata can also be appended to EPS files in Adobe Bridge. To do so, open the file and fill in the description and keywords in the right-hand toolbar:


Note: a description and keywords added through Adobe Bridge will be appended successfully only to Adobe Illustrator 10 EPS files.

Once you’ve added the metadata directly to your EPS file, you will see it show up directly on the Submit Page on the Contributor website.

If you have any additional questions about preparing your artwork for submission to Shutterstock, please contact us.

Here are some additional resources you may find helpful:

EPS Uploading Frequently Asked Questions

What are the technical requirements for images?

How do I submit vector illustrations for review?

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