I bought some ai files from fotolia, but I cannot afford Adobe Illustrator. How can I edit/export these ai files without Illustrator. What I really need to do is to make slight changes on the ai file, and export to png/jpg. Is there any free/cheaper alternatives that can work with ai files?

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    Install the trial version. It's free.
    – Jongware
    Aug 12, 2015 at 6:35
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    I think the -1 was rather unnecessary.... have a +1 :-) Aug 12, 2015 at 7:52
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    Create an Adobe account, start the 30 day free trial. Download Illustrator. Open and export files to SVG or EPS.
    – Lex
    Aug 12, 2015 at 8:40
  • I may need to repeat this process on a regular basis. Therefore I don't want to install the trial version unless it has to be the last resort.
    – Qian Chen
    Aug 12, 2015 at 13:33

2 Answers 2


Yes and no. Most apps cant open modern ai directly, if the file is in very old format its no problem. That said, some (by default), AI files are embedded in a PDF file (or old ones in a EPS file). So you can try if adobe reader opens it for viewing by changing the extension to PDF. failing that try ghostview.

You can then open this PDF/PS for editing, in any app that supports this. You may lose some AI specific info. Such as styles, live effects or possibly layers etc...

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    I agree. I just tried InkScape on Windows. I can open, but I can only get the background merged with text layers, or text layers, but the background image is lost. It might work for some as stated. Depending on your situation, it might be a try.
    – Nick
    May 2, 2016 at 14:18

Acrobat Pro can natively open .ai files and save to multiple formats including EPS.

Adobe Reader can also open .ai files and save as a pdf, which will give you more options (such as an alternative pdf reader like Foxit) to extract the image in an appropriate size and format.

(Tested on Acrobat 9 and Reader X)

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