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Adobe Illustrator is a powerful vector graphics program that lets you make original assets from your own designs quickly, and it integrates well with other Creative Suite products to make editing across programs simple. Still, if you don’t have access to Illustrator itself, it can be frustrating to get a AI file you’re expected to somehow edit. Luckily, there are a few ways to see and even manipulate the data from an Illustrator file outside of Illustrator. First, though, let’s talk about the easy way to do things.
How to Edit Adobe Illustrator Files in Photoshop
There are two ways you can make your AI files work in Photoshop. The first is by exporting as a PSD photoshop project file, and the second is by saving it as a PDF. Either option will make it easy to open in Photoshop, but if you are intentionally sending the work to Photoshop editing and not just sharing it widely, it’s more efficient to use the PSD option. Both are accessible through the Save As dialogue.
Viewing AIl Files Without Illustrator
It’s also possible to simply rename the AI file so the extension is PDF if you have access to Adobe Acrobat. This will allow you to open the file and edit it, and then you can select another file type to export it to if you need to continue editing it.
How to Edit Adobe Illustrator Files in Inkscape
It’s also possible to use a competing program called Inkscape to edit Adobe vector files. You need to download and configure the software, but it is an open-source piece of software that works across platforms and provides access to most of the same core creative functions offered by Adobe. It presents a good alternative for situations where access to Illustrator is limited by the OS or the number of licensing tokens available to an organization. It’s also the best option for quickly viewing and manipulating Illustrator files as vector graphics. All other methods require some file conversion into another file type.
Selecting Your Best Option for Editing Illustrator Files
If you don’t have access to Illustrator and you need to view or edit the vector files themselves, you will probably be best served by using an alternative vector image software. If, however, you need to integrate the graphic into a larger project that includes Shutterstock photos or edit its visual effects, an export to Photoshop is probably going to suit you better. When it comes to document access for viewing only, though, nothing is more convenient than knowing you can just rename it to a PDF and take a look.