Opening .ai files when you don’t have Adobe Illustrator

Written by James McDonald

November 7, 2012

User just sent me an ai file they couldn’t open (because we don’t have an Adobe Illustrator license). Found that Gimp does the job nicely.

Just needed to set the resolution up a bit (to 600dpi) to get a nice hi-res image to forward on for the user.

Best thing about the GIMP is it’s cross platform Window/Mac/Linux.

Update: As per comment from Juan. Inkscape also can open ai files. I tried it and found that it gave edit access to the ai image.


  1. Juan Mesa


    With Inkscape and Google Draw, You can open .ai files too 😀

  2. Chris Bourne

    Can you confirm GIMP will open AI as I have read else where that it is not possible.

    Many thanks

    • James

      I’m not entirely sure if what I think is correct but I think GIMP import will only work if the AI has a PDF component embedded. If I recall correctly I have failed to open an AI in GIMP when it’s missing the PDF preview embedded in the AI file.


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