Illustrator // Saving Artwork

About saving artwork

When you save or export artwork, Illustrator writes the artwork data to a file. The structure of the data depends on the file format that you select.

There are five basic file formats—AI, PDF, EPS, FXG, and SVG—to which you can save artwork. These formats are called native formats because they can preserve all Illustrator data, including multiple artboards. (For PDF and SVG formats, you must select the Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities options to preserve all Illustrator data.) EPS and FXG can save individual artboards as separate files. SVG saves the active artboard only;  however, the content from all artboards is displayed.

You can also export artwork in a variety  of file formats for use outside of Illustrator. These formats are called non-native formats because Illustrator will not be able to retrieve all of the data if you reopen the file in Illustrator. For this reason, it is recommended that you save artwork in AI format until you are finished creating it, and then export the artwork to the desired format.


Click here for a video about saving artwork for the web!

Save in Illustrator format

If your document contains more than one artboard and you want to save to a previous version of Illustrator, you can choose to save each artboard as a separate file or combine the content from all artboards into a single file.


  1. Choose File > Save As or File > Save A Copy.
  2. Type a filename, and choose a location for the file.
  3. Choose Illustrator (*.AI) as the file format, and click Save.

Click here for more information!

Illustrator and PDF’s

Step 1) Go to File> Save As. Change the format to Adobe PDF, then press Save.



Step 2) Change the following options

  1. Adobe PDF Preset to Press Quality
  2. Change Compatibility to Acrobat 4 (PDF 1.3)
  3. Turn off Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities
  4. Click on Marks and Bleeds to bring up more options.
  5. Click Use Document Bleed Setting (Or manually set them all to .125 inches if they default to something else)
  6. Click Save PDF

    step5More information here!

Create PDF Compatible File Saves a PDF representation of the document in the Illustrator file. Select this option if you want the Illustrator file to be compatible with other Adobe applications.

Use Compression Compresses PDF data in the Illustrator file. Using compression increases the time required to save the document, so deselect this option if you’re experiencing very slow (8 to 15 minute) save times.


In depth with PDF’s! Click here for a comprehensive guide to bleed lines, color management and saving PDF’s for print.


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