AI files can generally only be opened and edited with Adobe Illustrator. If you want to open AI files without editing them, you can change the file format from AI to PDF and view it as a still image (PC only), preview it in Preview (Mac only) or do the upload the file to a cloud storage service such as Google Drive. However, if you want to edit the AI file, you will have to use Illustrator or a highly recommended free alternative, Gravit. To use Gravit or similar free programs, you will first have to convert the AI file into a common format such as SVG. This wikiHow article will show you how to open AI files without Illustrator on a PC or Mac.
Method 1 of 3: Viewing as PDF on Windows
Step 1. Open File Explorer
You can do this by pressing ⊞ Win+E or clicking the program icon in the Start menu.
Use this method if you want to view an AI file without editing
Step 2. Find the AI file
If you downloaded it from the internet, it's probably in the folder Downloads or desktop.
Step 3. Click on the file once and press F2
The filename text field will now be editable.
You can also right click on the file and select Rename from the menu
Step 4. Change the.ai to.pdf at the end of the file name
Step 5. Press ↵ Enter to save your changes
If you are asked for confirmation, follow the onscreen instructions to confirm.
Step 6. Double click on the file to open it
This opens the PDF in your default viewer, which is usually Edge, Chrome, or Adobe Reader.
Method 2 of 3: Converting to Another Format
Step 1. Access https://cloudconvert.com in a browser
Cloud Convert is a free website that lets you convert Illustrator files into a format your computer can understand. This method works for both Windows and macOS.
- You can convert the file to any of the following formats with this tool: PDF, DXF, EPS, PNG, PS, EMF, SVG or WMF.
- If you just want to view the file, convert it to PDF or PNG, because these two formats open easily on any computer.
- If you want to edit the file in a vector image editor, convert to SVG format. Once you've finished converting the file, see this method to learn how to open the file in a free editor called Gravit.
Step 2. Click Select Files
It will be in the middle of the page. Your file explorer will open.
If you click the arrow next to Select Files, a menu will open with options to select files from a link, your computer or cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive
Step 3. Select a format for the conversion
If you want to keep the vector aspects of the file intact so that you can edit the vector image, choose SVG on the Vector tab. If you just want to view the file without changing anything, you can choose PDF or PNG.
Step 4. Click Start Conversion
You will find this button at the bottom right corner of the page. This converts the file to the new format.
Step 5. Click Download
You will find this button to the right of the filename. If the file doesn't download automatically, your file explorer will open so you can select a download location and save the file.
If you downloaded a file.. SVG files you want to edit in a free graphics application, see how to Edit SVG files in Gravit now
Step 6. Double-click the downloaded file to open it
The file will open in your default application, such as Preview, Edge, Gimp or Photos.
Method 3 of 3: Editing SVG Files in Gravit
Step 1. Access https://gravit.io in a browser
Gravit is a free application that allows you to open vector images on your computer. You can use it on both Windows and macOS.
If you have not yet converted the AI file to SVG format, see the Converting to another format method before proceeding
Step 2. Click Try Now
You will see this in the middle of the page.
Step 3. Click Get Started
It will be in the middle of the page.
Step 4. Click Create a Free Account
If you already have an account, enter your login information and click SIGN IN to login now.
Step 5. Enter the new account details and click CREATE ACCOUNT
If you don't want to create a username and password, you can select Facebook or Google to connect your account from one of these services to the current website. Once you log in, you will see a pop-up screen talking about Pro features. Click on X in the upper right corner of the window to close it.
Step 6. Click Open from Computer
You will find this option on the left side of the window. Your file explorer will open.
Step 7. Select the SVG file and click Open
This opens the file for editing in Gravit.