I have an EPS file with some shape. A good example would be the Twitter EPS files: https://twitter.com/about/resources/logos

How can I import an EPS vector shape into my Photoshop CS4, without rasterizing it? I want to get the vector shape into a shape layer.

3 Answers 3


The most straightforward way is to open the file in Illustrator, copy, then paste into a Photoshop document. Choose "Shape Layer" in the dialog.

Less directly, you could place the file as a Smart Object (or use File > Open as Smart Object), double-click the thumbnail in the Layers Panel to open in Illustrator, then copy and paste.

If you don't specifically need the graphic to be a shape layer, but just want it to be able to scale, you can leave it as a Smart Object so it will re-render the vector information at whatever size or resolution you choose.

Photoshop Only

Step 1: Create a large new document (much larger than you will need) and Place the EPS and drag it out to fill the document.

Step 2 version 1 (creates a vector brush):

Choose Edit > Define Brush Preset... and name your new "brush"

This gives you a vector brush that you can size as needed.

Step 2 version 2 (creates a shape):

  • Cmd-click on the layer thumbnail for your EPS so it becomes a selection.

  • Switch to the Paths panel, and from the flyout menu choose "Make Work Path"

  • Select .5 pixel as the tolerance

  • Choose "Edit > Define Custom Shape"

The caveat with version 2 is that the path will not be as smooth as with version 1 because of anti-aliasing, so it is very important to use a very large document (so you have lots of pixels) to reduce unevenness in the path.

  • 1
    Unfortunately, I don’t own Illustrator. Can I do this with Photoshop only?
    – meh
    Apr 28, 2012 at 23:06
  • You really need a vector editing program of some kind if you're going to work with vector images, but there are two moderately-useful workarounds with Photoshop only. Added to answer. Apr 30, 2012 at 1:27
  • Thanks for your instructions. I found out that I have another smaller vector editing tool on my Mac (Lineform), and that I can open the EPS file in that, copy the shape, and paste it into Photoshop. The result is indeed a Vector Smart Object. However, I don't get a shape for the bird; there's just a rectangle around it. Is there any way to place the shape of the bird into a new shape layer, so I can choose the bird's color (and still maintain the possibility of resizing it as I wish)?
    – meh
    Apr 30, 2012 at 9:56
  • Delete the rectangle before you copy and paste, so you're only copying the bird shape, or select just the bird path and copy/paste that. Apr 30, 2012 at 10:30

In Photoshop CS4, use FilePlace and select the EPS file. This will place the EPS as a resolution independent smart object on a new layer. As a note: not all of the Twitter EPS files worked when I tried them in CS4 on Mac just now, one threw an error. Not sure if that was just an example you used or not.

  • I tried three of them, and they're all crashing Photoshop CS4 as soon as I select them in the Place dialog.
    – meh
    Apr 29, 2012 at 2:51
  • Yea, the 'twitter' ones crashed on me. The bird ones didn't. Weird.
    – user4362
    Apr 29, 2012 at 12:09
  • I’m also running CS4 on a Mac by the way. Do you have later versions of Photoshop? Does it crash on those versions as well?
    – meh
    Apr 29, 2012 at 14:06
  • @meh I tested those twitter logos, from the left side: 1st, 2nd and 3rd logo. All of those opened up just fine in PS cs3 and cs5 on Mac. Is it really crashing that happens? ..or does it just stall and you have to force quit? If it stalls, try to wait it out...
    – Joonas
    Apr 29, 2012 at 16:39
  • @Lollero Yeah it crashes almost immediately. It's not stalling/beachballing. You happen to have CS4 too somewhere? I'm running OS X Lion by the way.
    – meh
    Apr 29, 2012 at 21:05

I find it easier this way:

  1. Open the file location in Windows Explorer/Finder.
  2. Have Photoshop open.
  3. Just drag the .eps file from Explorer over to photoshop.
  4. Eps file is added a resizable file.

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