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How to convert the AI image file to PNG image files

by Casey Schmidt  |  February 19, 2020

3 min. read
A blend of different colors.

The AI extension gives users an amazingly efficient file type to create important logos and image text. However, this comes with certain limitations. When these restrictions become too much, it’s time to change it up. Here’s a guide to convert the AI to PNG.

What is an AI image file?

The AI image file is the official format for the design tool Adobe Illustrator. It is a scalable extension that uses vector graphics, a very rare computer image type. Vector graphics build image representation by connecting different points that indicate what type of image to display. The AI is resizable without any loss of image quality. The AI is usually ideal for companies because of how well it builds brand logos.

What is a PNG image file?

The PNG image file is a Portable Networks Graphics extension that is high in resolution and accessibility. The PNG is a raster image, meaning it creates image representations based on divided sections of a photo. Each division is used to specify which color shade goes where. This makes the PNG construct itself piece-by-piece. The PNG, like the AI, is lossless compression, meaning it retains quality as the size reduces.

A PNG file icon.
The PNG file builds itself up through different sections.

How to convert the AI to the PNG

There are fortunately a lot of different methods to convert the AI to a PNG. The first and most natural method is a manual conversion using the Adobe Illustrator software program. If you don’t have access to Adobe Illustrator, don’t worry, we will give alternatives as well. To make this conversion, first open the AI file you wish to change in Illustrator. Select the part of the image you want to convert, then select ‘File’ and ‘Export’. In the dropdown bar, select ‘PNG’ and click ‘Export’. You’ll now have a PNG file wherever you saved it to on your computer.

Now, for users who don’t have access to Adobe products, there are two different third-party software methods of conversion. The first involves a web-based conversion. This is ideal for anyone who has fast internet access, limited hard drive space and only a few files to convert. All you’ll need to do for this is upload and then download a file. I recommend CloudConvert for browser-based conversions.

Finally, the other third-party conversion method is system-based, requiring users to install a program onto their computer before using it. This is best-suited for users who have a lot of hard drive space, slow internet access and a lot of files to convert. Once these programs are installed, you’ll never need the internet to make a conversion. I recommend reaConverter for system-based conversions.

A man walking, replicated by himself five times.
There are plenty of ways to convert the AI to PNG.

Why make this conversion?

The AI file type is extremely helpful for creating designs that fall into niche categories. It’s unique compared to other image files, typically doing things other files cannot. Though all of this is great, there comes a time when the AI doesn’t measure up. This usually is a result of lack of functionality and accessibility.

For all of its impressive features, specificity limits the AI file extensively. It typically is only opened using Adobe Illustrator, a program not everyone has access to. By converting to the PNG, you’ll be able to share files quicker. Not only that, the users who receive these shared image files will have an easier time opening and editing them.

The AI was intended to help create very specific design details. At some point, the AI format will have served its purpose and you’ll then need to share or edit it. This inevitability requires the use of a different file type, so make sure you have a conversion method in mind.