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Exporting an AI/EPS file in OSX

Tue 31 May 2016

Don't have illustrator, but need to export an AI file and Preview won't open it? Well actually it can.. here's a small tip.

Will it open by itself?


Sorry but it appears preview does not want to open illustrator files (.ai) however much they appear to be just another form of SVG file.

I still need to open it

Ok, so let's try and wrangle preview to open the file - because whatever project we're doing will need a PNG or JPEG, or at the very least we want to get at the image data to use in something like Pixelmator.

Start with finding the .ai file that interests you. In this instance I am using a preview of an adobe stock image so they don't sic their lawyers on me for infringing copyright - in practice the file would look much sharper.


Now try seeing what files OSX thinks will open it.

Don't even bother, neither GIMP nor Inkscape will open it (and we already tried using preview earlier!).


Choose other, and I'll explain

Yes, you read correctly, I want you to pick safari (you'll have to untick the 'recommended' applications and go against OSX's recommendations), to make life easier you can even tick 'always open with' if you so desired to enable double clicking a .ai file to open it in safari.


It's now opened in safari

Didn't expect that huh? Well it's just a type of SVG, and safari is usually very accomodating for SVGs given their uniquity across the web. So you can view it, and print it (even to a PDF), but we aren't done yet...

Check this out

Yes, that's right - right click on the image area and choose 'open with safari', despite our earlier problems with this, I dare you to go on right ahead and try it.


It... worked?

Damn straight it did. Pat yourself on the back. Then prepare to convert your file.


Click Export

As per normal - you know this.


I'll let you take over from here, convert it to PNG or JPEG as you desire (of course PNGs work better with transparency than JPEG, which doesn't work at all...). If you just want to copy it into another application you are best exporting it first, being a vector based image your regular select all and copy won't give you the pixels you need.

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