What is an EPS File?

By Matic Broz, editor-in-chief of Photutorial covering stock media, Adobe, and design. He founded Photutorial while finishing his PhD in computational biosciences.
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EPS files - thumbnail

An EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) file is a graphics format for vector images that can contain text, bitmap images, or 2D vector graphics. It is used to store images and drawings within a PostScript document.

Created by Adobe in 1992, EPS files also contain an embedded low-resolution preview used by programs that cannot otherwise open and display these vectors.

In contrast with raster graphics files such as JPEG and PNG, a vector graphic is an image defined with points on a plane. These points are then connected with lines and curves to form polygons. In other words, EPS files are defined by a series of equations.

This concept allows EPS files to be infinitely scaled or zoomed in without losing resolution.

Thus, the main advantage of vectors over raster graphics is their scalability while retaining the original resolution. When you zoom into a JPEG file, it starts to lose resolution. If you zoom in even further, you’ll soon see individual pixels.

Vector files, on the other hand, can be scaled indefinitely, which makes them perfect for billboards, for example.

What is an EPS file used for?

Since they don’t lose resolution, EPS files are most commonly used in designs that will be produced into large prints, incorporated in other vector designs, or as logos.

EPS files are the most commonly used for:

  • Logos
  • Billboard designs
  • Illustrations
  • Wallpapers
  • Diagrams
  • Figures
  • Charts
  • Graphics for large surfaces

However, photographs cannot be a part of a vector because they are defined with pixels.

How to open EPS files?

Based on your operating system, you might or might not need additional software.

On Mac, you can open EPS files by default without any additional software.

On Windows, you need software that can open vector files without flattening them, such as Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, or GIMP.

Below I list 7 best programs to open EPS files (free and paid):

1. Adobe Illustrator

EPS files - Adobe Illustrator Cover

Adobe Illustrator is a popular software capable of creating and editing vector graphics. It is arguably the best program to open and edit EPS files.

Its interface resembles Photoshops’s, but it works with vectors rather than raster files. Therefore, it’s the most popular graphic design software among professionals. And it comes at a very reasonable price.

In addition to opening EPS files, Adobe Illustrator also supports SVG, DWG, PDF, and FGX formats.

If you’re serious into vector design and want to create professional-grade vectors, this software is a must-have for you.

Adobe Illustrator costs $20.99/month.

Start a free trial »

2. Photoshop

Photoshop Cover.

Photoshop is probably the most famous photo editing software in the world. Although it’s mainly used to edit digital images, Photoshop can also open EPS files.

However, be careful that you keep it as a smart object. When you rasterize a graphic, it’s no longer a vector.

Keep in mind that while Photoshop can handle vector files, it’s not the best option to create them.

Photoshop costs $9.99/month.

Start a free trial here »

3. CorelDraw 2020 Suite

EPS files - CorelDraw

CorelDraw is a great alternative to Adobe Illustrator if you want to edit and open EPS files.

Not only it’s capable of opening numerous formats, it houses a huge library of images, templates, and fonts, so you don’t have to add your own.

Having some unique and professional-level features and highly customizable interface, you’ll love working with this software. 

CorelDraw costs $33.25/month or $785.00 as a one-time purchase.

Start CorelDraw 2020 Suite free trial »

4. Inkscape

Inkscape Best photo editors thumbnail

Inkscape is a free open-source vector graphic photo editor that is a good starting choice for beginners and hobbyists.

It can open various file formats, including EPS files, although it’s not all that easy to do so.

Here’s a full tutorial.

Being a free program, you should definitely at least give it a try, and if it doesn’t fit your needs, you can always go back to Adobe Illustrator.

Get Inkscape »

5. Adobe Acrobat Reader

EPS files - Adobe Acrobat Reader

If you ever needed to open PDF files, you must have come across the Acrobat Reader.

To open EPS files with this software, go to the File menu, select Create PDF, choose the option “From File”, find your file, and open it.

Adobe Acrobat reader costs $1.95/month.

Start a free trial here »

6. Gravit Designer

EPS files - Gravit Designer Pro

Gravit designer is a graphic and web design, inexpensive alternative to the Adobe Illustrator.

The software features a set of powerful tools, giving you a freedom to unleash your creativity and design detailed vectors.

Gravit designer has both a free and a premium version, with the latter being available $3.50/month.

Start a free trial here »

7. Gimp

Gimp Best photo editors thumbnail

GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program) is a free and open-source photo editor. Thus, it’s considered as one of the best Photoshop alternatives.

Apart from opening vectors, it has a large toolset that can be used to edit photos.

GIMP is also allows multiple expansions via third-party plugins that add numerous additional tools and features.

Get GIMP »

Where can I buy EPS files?

You can buy EPS files from virtually any stock photo site that sells vectors.

I recommend the following:

I’ll show you how to buy EPS files from one of the most inexpensive sources, Shutterstock, where you can get them for only $0.22/vector.

To purchase EPS files from Shutterstock, go to Shutterstock.com, enter the keyword in the search bar, select Vectors from the drop-down menu on the left, and search.

Once you find the vector you like, click on it, and then download it. That’s all.

Related reading: Best Stock Photo Sites & Cheapest Stock Photo Sites

How to merge EPS files?

EPS files can be easily merged virtually every software I listed above.

First, make sure that you have the program of choice installed.

How to merge EPS files in Adobe Illustrator

  1. Click File > Open.
  2. Select the first EPS file and confirm.
  3. Click File > Open again.
  4. Select the second EPS file and confirm.
    This opened the second file in a new tab.
  5. (Optional) Repeat steps 3. and 4. for additional files.
  6. Click Create New Layer from the layers panel of the first file. Press F7 to open the layers panel.
  7. Click and drag the tab of the second file to the tab of the first file.
  8. Position the vector where you want it and then release.
  9. Click File and then Save As to save the merged files on your computer.

How to view and convert EPS file online?

To view an EPS file online, you’ll need to find a proper file viewer. Here’s list of a few EPS online viewers:

An easy way to convert an EPS file is to use EPSviewer. It’s a free EPS file converter that runs in your browers and convert EPS to .jpg.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is EPS a vector file?

EPS file is a vector file of a illustration, graphic, or text. Therefore, it can be resized without any loss in quality, and then reopened and edited.

How to open an EPS file in Word?

As of 2018, you can no longer open EPS files in Office products, including Word. In an older version, go to the Insert menu and choose Picture. Change the criteria from “All Graphics Files” to “All Files” to make EPS file visible.

How do I convert EPS to JPEG in Adobe Illustrator?

1. Open your EPS file in Adobe Illustrator.
2. Go to File > Export > Export As…
3. Choose the name and location for your file.
4. Click on the Format drop-down menu and choose JPEG (jpg).
5. Check “Use Artboard”.
6. Click Export button.
7. In JPEG Options dialogue box, choose colour model and image quality.

How to preview EPS files?

You can easily preview EPS files in older versions of Word or by opening them in any software that supports this formats.

Can Inkscape open EPS files?

Yes, but the process is quite complex. Refer to this complete tutorial.

Can Photoshop Open eps files?

Photoshop can open EPS files in the following way:
1. Go to File > Open
2. Select your vector file
3. Select a large canvas size, at least 5000×5000px.
4. Press OK.

Can you edit EPS files in Photoshop?

You can edit EPS files in Photoshop, but they will become raster files, meaning they will be defined with pixels. Consequently, you won’t be able to resize them without the loss in quality.


To conclude, EPS files are vector files that may contain graphics and texts. Being a vector file, meaning that they don’t lose resolution when you scale them, they are widely used in graphic design.

You can download them from virtually every stock photo site and open them with with a plethora of photo design software, such as Adobe Illustrator.


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