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Why Are You Still Using .EPS?

Welcome Signage Design Files Professional PrintingIn January, we hosted a Lunch & Learn that covered designing files for printing projects and the Adobe suite of solutions. Taught by Michael Riordan, an Adobe Certified Instructor and owner of Digital DesignLab, the response was positive and we pulled him (kicking and typing) into contributing a blog!

Riordan dives into .eps and why it may be time to consider different file formats moving forward.

Read on!

I often get asked about what the “best” or “correct” file formats are and what should be used for graphics.

The answer is always: It depends on what you need the final art for. The details of that statement are a post for another day and time. Today, I want to explain what format you should NOT be saving your files to, and that’s .eps. “Blasphemy!” no doubt some of you are thinking – or typing!

Michael Riordan Leads teh Lunch and Learn

Michael Riordan Leads the Lunch and Learn

The Old Days
In days gone by (well, years gone by really), we needed to save Illustrator files to .eps in order to use them with Quark Xpress or other 3rd party applications.

We might also have needed to save Adobe Photoshop files to .eps in order to keep some elements as vector or to access DCS features. These days, not so much.

Fun Fact: DCS stands for ‘digital color separations’ or ‘desktop color separations’ depending on who you talk to and it is a variant of .eps that pre-separated the photo files.

EPS stands for encapsulated postscript. Huh? All that really means is the vector art in the file was wrapped up or encapsulated in a nice little package.

This could then be opened by postscript programs or devices that understood what it was. Any non-postscript file or device that did not understand the code could just read the low-res placeholder image that accompanied the file and pass the rest along.

That’s a Wrap
Since Adobe Illustrator version 9, Illustrator uses .pdf rather than postscript for its basic file structure so there is no longer a need to “wrap” up illustrator files with the .eps format.

Native .ai files work very well for anyone using graphics software, and .pdf works great for sending files off to anyone who isn’t. Saving an Illustrator file with “create pdf compatible file” checked will allow it to be seen and placed much as older .eps could. S

Similarly, saving an illustration as a PDF with “preserve Illustrator editing capabilities” would allow that file to be viewed and placed by anyone, and edited by graphics software users.

Why Are You Still Using .EPS? 1 Large Poster Potential for Small Format 300x199

Was this an EPS file?

Final Word (Document)
To be fair, there are some utility programs like barcode generators that still output to .eps and that works fine.

Go ahead and use them.

However, for most of your graphics work, you’ll achieve better results by using .ai and .pdf and retiring the .eps format.

(Editor’s Note: At Cushing we have  no plans to give up EPS…around here it stands for Exceptional Printing Services!)

What are your thoughts on .eps as a useful file format?

Did we stir up some ire?

Tell us in the comments section!


Michael Riordan

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