Files with the AI ​​extension: how and with what to open them

Adobe Illustrator graphics editor by default generates the format of the project file .ai. This article will discuss ways to open such documents and work with them.

How to open a file with the extension AI.

What is the ai data format and how good is it

As already mentioned, the file extension in the form “” belongs to the program “Illustrator”, in which vector drawings are created. This format allows you to infinitely scale the graphics without losing quality. That is, the finished image can be printed on the cover of the book, as well as on a multimeter banner, and it will look equally good. This circumstance should be taken into account when opening a project with the help of other software - some editors convert .ai into a raster, which threatens loss of quality.

Soft to open ai

The biggest problem when working with the ai format: how and with what to open it in the absence of "Illustrator". For such purposes, there are two types of software:

  • graphic editor;
  • viewers.

In the latter, you can only get acquainted with the contents of the project and print a small layout for clarity (remember the loss of quality). Therefore, before choosing which program to open the file, decide whether you will edit it or not.

Adobe Illustrator

The easiest way is to open ai in the native program: there will be no errors with its display and difficulties with making changes. Just click: "File - Open" and select the desired one. However, remember that if you try to view a document in Adobe Illustrator earlier than the one in which it was created, it will not work. In this case, the online illustrator will help you. It lacks some functions, but it does not need to be downloaded and installed into the system, and you can resave the document in another version or finish the drawing. The only requirement is having a good internet connection.

Adobe Photoshop

The display of ai-files also supports Photoshop. You can simply drag the document icon into the workspace or click: File - Open. A settings window will appear, in which you are offered to set your own parameters for size, proportions, colors, etc. You don’t have to apply them at all - just click “OK” and wait for the project to open. Photoshop converts a vector image into a bitmap image, and it can no longer be ungrouped and edited each element separately. That is, it can be processed only as a normal photo. After viewing, close the document without saving changes so that it is not converted to the working format .psd.


This program is a cross between "Photoshop" and "Illustrator" with lightweight functions (the interface and features resemble Corel Photo Paint). It is usually cropped photos, adjust the brightness, contrast, lighting, draw with a small set of tools. Here you can also view the project with the extension .ai. To do this, press: Ctrl + O, select the file and click "Import". An image converted from a vector to a raster will be loaded into the field.

Acrobat reader

Software from the line of Adobe, with which you can also watch the projects "Illustrator". Press Ctrl + O and find the document. Before opening the file ai, specify "all formats" - so that its icon appears in the folder. After downloading, you will see an image that was developed in Adobe Illustrator, but already rasterized, without the possibility of adding something to it or decomposing the shapes into its components.


Viewer for files in different formats. Most often, it is used to open e-books, but it is able to recognize the project saved in .ai. After running the utility, right in the window, you will see an icon with a suggestion to download the file. It will open as a regular bitmap image, without the ability to make any edits.


Another useful photo viewing utility that can open ai files. Right-click on the desired document, select "Open with ..." and find XnView in the list. There is also no possibility to change anything, since the picture is rasterized, but you can familiarize yourself with the project content or convert it into a more convenient extension and then transfer it to a vector editor.

PSD Viewer

It may also be useful if you need to view a file created in Illustrator, but the program is not an editor and you cannot modify the finished project in any way. The way to open a document is no different from the previous one: right-click on the file, click "Open with ...", and then select PSD Viewer and wait for the image to load.

What else can cause problems with the file?

PDF incompatibility

If you tried to open ai in any of the above programs, but it did not work out for you, it is possible that the file was not initially saved as pdf-compatible. If you are preparing a project yourself, consider this circumstance and when exporting, tick the corresponding parameter. But if you really need to view a file that does not support pdf, you can use another type of software - the vector editor Corel Draw. To do this, open it and click: "File" - "Import" or simply drag the document icon into the working field. In addition, you can use the online converter and change the file extension from ai to pdf, eps, cdr or any other.

File created in Battlefield 2

Perhaps the project that you wanted to open does not contain vector drawings and was created not in Adobe Illustrator, but in the gaming software. Derivatives of these programs have the same extension, but Battlefield 2 files cannot be unpacked and viewed in graphical editors — there is a sequence of gameplay written in characters and letters.

The file belongs to the ADS database management system

Another possible manifestation of the ai format, which cannot be opened by the above graphic editors, belongs to the server of the electronic database Advantage Database Server. For the file to work correctly afterwards, it is better not to try to make any changes to it.

Corrupted file

Sometimes while working on a vector pattern, the Illustrator program crashes and it closes. Later when opening, the following notifications appear: "Format ai file with damage" or "The illustration contains incomplete or hidden descriptions of objects." To restore, you need to install third-party software, for example, Recovery Toolbox for Illustrator. It works with all program builds and returns access to “broken” files.

So, now you know how and with what to open a file with the .ai extension. If you still have questions after reading this article, then ask them in the comments.