Advantages and Disadvantages of EPS Format

By Christina Hadley

Computer graphics applications often offer an option to save work as an Encapsulated PostScript file, or EPS, which is a useful file format for graphic designers and publishing professionals. Documents that include vector or raster graphics often feature linked EPS files because the format contains information in a computer language that is compatible with most imagesetters and printers. The EPS file format has both advantages and disadvantages.

Importing

EPS files are considered an ideal format for importing into computer graphics applications. The capability to import an EPS file is an advantage worth considering if you make composite images or assemble them for use in printed materials. Assorted graphic programs, such as Inkscape and Adobe Illustrator, allow you to manipulate EPS files and then save them for use in other applications. This benefit is useful to graphic designers who must modify and share decorative designs, logos and design-enhancing graphics.

Cross-platform Compatibility

Cross-platform compatibility enables sharing of EPS files between Mac and PC computers. Any file saved as an EPS in Adobe Illustrator on a Mac, for example, can be opened in the same program on a PC. This is an important advantage for graphic designers who work on a PC or a Mac. When an EPS file is sent to a printer, designers do not have to worry about file compatibility–related problems.

Custom Settings

Initially saving work in the EPS format for the sake of importing or sharing with a printer requires taking the time to specify a few settings within a dialog box. This extra step can be a disadvantage if you're in a situation where you must work quickly. Since EPS files consist of mathematical formulas to render on-screen previews, some production time must be spent defining how the EPS file's content will appear within a thumbnail preview.

Page Layout Limitation

Although EPS files are supported by most graphic design programs, page layout applications don't usually support modification of an EPS file's text, lines or coloration, which is another potential disadvantage of using an EPS file during production work. Therefore, when you import an EPS file from an illustration application into a page layout application, it should be print-ready. Otherwise, you have to return to the illustration application where the EPS file originated to make changes and save the file again.