Different devices and systems use different file formats, making exchanging files such as images difficult if not impossible. Fortunately, there are a few standard image formats such as EPS that are common to all devices. However, converting your images to EPS can pose similar challenges. Fortunately, understanding important facts such as maximum EPS DPI rating can help.
By reading further, you will gain an understanding of the EPS image file format and its uses. Afterward, you would know the key consideration for choosing the format and when and when not to use it for your work.
The 7 Important Facts to Know About EPS Files
Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) is a standard graphics file format popular for exchanging images, drawing, and document layouts. An extension of the much older PostScript page description language, EPS contains enough information to reproduce a single standard letter-size document. This information can include the text, layout, and structure, as well as any embedded objects such as other image files.
The format exists to encapsulate or embed, related images and objects into other documents and images to streamline file transfers. As such, an EPS file can contain ASCII-encoded text, bitmap, and vector data. This unique feature can lead to other apparent oddities such as the ones below.
1. EPS Files Do Not Have DPI or PPI
Often confused with Dots Per Inch (DPI), Pixels Per Inch (PPI) is a key component of a digital image’s resolution. It defines the number of pixels the image will fill within an inch of display space. It Is the digital equivalent of DPI from printers which notes ink per inch of paper. However, only bitmap or raster images have this characteristic.
EPS images are vector images. As such, they do not have a native PPI setting. Vector images are infinitely scalable, giving them an effective infinite PPI. However, your application might ask you for a DPI when saving the files.
2. EPS DPI Settings Are Used for Rasterization
This EPS DPI setting is for the baseline resolution when printing the image to a screen or paper. The setting also specifies the resolution for any embed raster files.
This is because the image format is a flat-file. It is either completely opaque or completely transparent. You must convert the entire EPS image to raster to print it because that is the only type of image supported by printers.
Thus, most editing software will pass the files through a Raster Image Processor (RIP) that will convert or rasterize the vector data into a bitmap. The RIP uses the specified DPS to convert the image to the correct resolution.
Your app will also use the DPI setting and RIP to process and display any raster effects such as:
- Blending modes
3. EPS Files Require Dedicated Application to View and Edit
Like with any other image file, you need an editor that supports the format to view and edit EPS images. Generally, that means you need something from either Adobe or Apple such as Distiller, Photoshop, Illustrator, or the Apple Preview. You can also use web applications such as PlaceIt, though most of those apps will only let you view them.
As such, you cannot use EPS files directly in your Canva or PowerPoint presentations. Instead, you must convert the images to a raster format such as EMP, PNG, JPG, or anything other formats your application supports.
However, some applications will let you view, but not edit EPS files. For instance, Photoshop creates a rasterized working copy of your EPS image, preventing you from editing the original file.
4. You Can Convert EPS to Most Other Document and Image Formats
Because you usually cannot use EPS files directly, the format is compatible with most other file formats, allowing you to easily convert your images as needed. The available conversions will depend on your application, but most EPS converters support:
- Microsoft Word Document (DOC and DOCX)
- PostScript Document Format(PDF)
- Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)
- Portable Network Graphics (PNG)
- Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPG or JPEG)
- Texas Instruments File Format (TIFF)
- Bitmap (BMP)
Please note that most dedicated EPS editors will convert the images automatically after you make any modifications to your images. Though, you can speed up the process by saving your work using the “Save As” menu item.
5. PDF Files Are Not EPS Files
Many people confuse EPS files with PDFs. While the two formats are descendants of the PostScript language, they are very different formats. For instance, PDF can contain multiple pages in a single file while EPS can only have one. EPS is also a dynamic, editable implementation of PostScript while PDF is read-only. Though you can edit PDFs in some cases, EPS works best with legacy printing machines.
6. EPS Files Are Not Obsolete
Despite being a few decades old, EPS files still have uses in the modern world, especially in the world of professional, high-quality polygraphy. Most large-scale industrial printers only support the format. Plus, EPS files are lossless and very scalable for projects such as large posters, billboard advertising, and other attention-grabbing marketing materials.
7. EPS Is a Scalable Lossless Image Format
Scalability is the key reason for using EPS images today. The format holds vector data, making it ideal for scaling images without artifacts or losing image quality. That means the format will retain high image resolutions regardless of your modifications. You can stretch or blow up the image without issue, letting you make large print displays.
The same is true for small jobs. You can compress an EPS image down to an icon and it retains every detail imaginable. Both takes remain reversible as well, allowing you to reuse the same image file for every graphics application you may have. That makes EPS files a universal choice for print jobs extraordinarily large or small.
EPS images files are vector images and therefore do not have a defined DPI resolution. However, most EPI files require one to serve as the default resolution for any embed raster image. The setting also helps printers and other graphics applications to render the images when printing them out or displaying them.