This article explains what AI files are, how to open one, and how to convert it to another format like SVG, JPG, PDF, PNG, etc. so that it is compatible with other software.
A file with the .AI extension is most likely an Adobe Illustrator Artwork file created by Adobe’s vector graphics program called Illustrator. It is a proprietary file format developed and maintained by Adobe Systems.
Instead of using information from a bitmap image, AI files store the image as paths that can be resized without loss of quality. The vector image is stored in the PDF or EPS format, but the AI file extension is used because the Adobe Illustrator program is the main software that creates files in this format.
AIT files are similar but are Illustrator template files used to create multiple AI files of similar design.
If your AI file is not an Adobe Illustrator Artwork file, it may be a Battlefield 2 AI file. If so, it has nothing to do with vector images, but it is more of a plain text document that contains the working properties of some game elements.
AI is also the common abbreviation for artificial intelligence, but of course it has nothing to do with Adobe Illustrator.
Adobe Illustrator is the main program used to create and open AI files. Other applications that can work with Adobe Illustrator files include Adobe’s Acrobat, Photoshop, and After Effects programs, CorelDRAW graphics suite, Canvas X, and Cinema 4D.
If the file has no saved PDF content and you use Photoshop to open it, you may get a message like “This is an Adobe Illustrator file saved with no PDF content”. If this happens, return to Adobe Illustrator and create the file again, but this time choose the Create PDF Compatible File option.
Some free AI openers include Inkscape, Scribus, ideaMK’s Ai Viewer, and sK1. As long as the file is saved with PDF compatibility, some others include Preview (the macOS PDF viewer) and Adobe Reader.
Battlefield 2 is used to open AI files associated with this game, but you probably can’t open the file manually from within the game. Instead, it probably resides in a special place so the software can refer to the AI file if needed. That said, you can most likely edit it with a free text editor.
The AI openers mentioned above can convert an AI file to a number of other similar formats. Use Illustrator’s File > Save As menu to save the AI file as FXG, PDF, EPS, AIT, SVG, or SVGZ, or File > Export if you want to convert AI to DWG, DXF, BMP, EMF, SWF, JPG, PCT, PSD, PNG, TGA, TXT, TIF or WMF.
Photoshop allows you to open an AI file via File > Open, after which you can save it as PSD or any other file format supported by Photoshop.
If you don’t want to buy or download a dedicated AI file viewer, you can always convert it with an online tool like Zamzar. With this website, the file can be converted to JPG, PDF, PNG, SVG, GIF and a number of other formats.
Further information on the AI format
Some programs can only open AI files older than a certain version. For example, the freeware program Inkscape can only import Adobe Illustrator 8.0 and lower files if UniConvertor is installed.
The AI format used to be called PGF, but it is not related to the Progressive Graphics File format which uses the .PGF file extension.
Still can’t open the file?
The .AI file extension is very short and contains two very common letters. So it’s easy to confuse it with other similarly spelled file extensions that have nothing to do with Adobe Illustrator or Battlefield 2.
AIR is an example of this, as is the INTUS Audio Archive format which uses the IAA file extension. None of these file formats are related to formats that use the AI extension.
Another example is AIA, which can be confusing. This file extension can be used for MIT App Inventor source code files used with MIT App Inventor or it can be an Adobe Illustrator action file used to automate steps in Illustrator.
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