The Many Flavors of EPS Files

November 5, 2009

We’ll start out today with some tips on working with EPS files and then I’m asking for your help in answering a user’s question. The first thing you need to understand about EPS files is that they were never meant to be edited. Read that sentence again. This means if you are able to edit an EPS file, you should consider it a bonus. Many EPS files will flat out fail when you try to edit them. This is not the fault of CorelDRAW, but rather that EPS files were never meant to be edited. Corel has done a good job of allowing us to edit many EPS files and we should be thankful for that.

The next thing to understand is that there are numerous flavors of EPS files. For many years, Adobe Illustrator files were a flavor of EPS. Those files will most likely import into CorelDRAW just fine though effects like gradient fills will be made up of numerous strips. Probably the worst thing I hear from users is when they export a file from CorelDRAW to EPS and then immediately try to re-import the EPS file to test it. Folks, you aren’t testing anything! The file could import into CorelDRAW just fine and fail on the other end. Or it could fail to import and work just fine on the other end. If someone is blindly asking for an EPS file, you should ask them how they are planning to use the EPS file. Do they expect it to be editable? If so, you should probably export to a different format like Adobe Illustrator. Are they simply placing the file and printing it? EPS and/or PDF are probably the right choice in this situation but re-importing them won’t prove anything to you.

For those who often work with suppliers requesting data, you should really get to know the file formats in depth so that you can supply functional artwork. You also need to fully understand the process on their end since many file formats come in a wide variety of flavors.

A user posted a very interesting question in the Graphics Unleashed Discussion Forums this week. A common type of graphic in the world of screen printing is a football or basketball complete with the texture of the ball. The person asking the question isn’t sure how to successfully re-create the texture using spot colors and would love to hear suggestions. With all the screen printers reading this blog, I’m sure there is someone who can help. While visiting the forums, don’t hesitate to post your own questions.

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1 Comment

  1. Stefan Lindblad - illustration & art

    Hi Foster,
    A good blog post which has to be told over and over again. I help out my brothers employees on this very issue from time to time, especially when he have a new employee, who is used or said to be used to get EPS files using a adobe program. And of course they like to edit it using CorelDRAW which my brothers company use.

    Both CorelDRAW and Illustrator/Indesign/Quark user should all learn this: EPS wasnt invented to be edited.


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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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