How to Use EPS Files in Illustrator

In this handy guide, we've shared how to use EPS files in Illustrator, so you can quickly transfer vector graphics between applications. 

What is an EPS File?
Short for Encapsulated Postscript, EPS is a popular vector format supported on Adobe's Creative Suite. You can download some EPS inspiration online and then import it into Illustrator, or you can use EPS files that you've created in the past. By default, EPS vectors in Illustrator are linked to the original file and previewed at the highest resolution possible. Even if you've created an EPS file in another program, Illustrator will try to optimize it for the Adobe platform. 

How to Use EPS Files in Illustrator
First, we recommend copying the EPS file and pasting it into your Illustrator project folder, so that you can always find it later. Then, launch your desired Illustrator project.

Choose "File" > "Place" from the top menu bar and find your EPS file in the directory. If you select "Link", Illustrator will create a link to the EPS file, and if you deselect it, the file will be embedded in the project. When you're happy with the settings, click "Place".

How Does Illustrator Interpret EPS? 

  • In general, it's better to link to an EPS file within Illustrator, rather than embedding it in the program. This will ensure that data isn't lost when Illustrator converts the EPS objects into native objects. 
  • Avoid importing transparent files from other programs into Illustrator, as the EPS format does not support transparency.
  • When you link to an EPS file, Illustrator's color management settings will not affect it, even if the program has global color-management settings enabled. On the other hand, embedded EPS files will be color-managed with the rest of the document.
  • If Illustrator can't find a linked EPS graphic, you can locate the original file with the Extract option. This will copy the EPS file into the same folder as the other Illustrator project files.
  • You can also import EPS colors into Illustrator and add them to a swatch library. If your EPS file has the same name as an existing color, however, the program will prompt you to make a decision about the color. If you choose "Use Linked File's Color", Illustrator will replace the current color with your new EPS color. On the other hand, "Use Document's Color" will leave the color alone.  
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