Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Viewing Illustrator files on a Windows PC for free

Using free, open-source software, you can view Adobe Illustrator .ai files and .eps files on your Windows PC. It's pretty simple too. If you're looking to modify the files this isn't going to help, but as long as you need read-only access this is a great way to avoid paying for the expensive Adobe Creative Suites package.

1. You need to download three packages: Irfanview, the Irfanview plugins, and Ghostscript. You can get Irfanview and the plugins from http://www.irfanview.com/, and Ghostscript through http://sourceforge.net/projects/ghostscript/

2. Install the three programs in the order above. First Irfanview, then the plugins, then Ghostscript. The default settings are fine, but keep an eye out for checkboxes trying to install other software that you don't need, such as toolbars

3. Once the programs are installed you're ready to open your file. Right-click the .ai or .eps file and choose "Open With". From there select Irfanview from the list. If it's not there choose Browse (or "Choose default program..." first, then Browse if on Windows 7), then locate the i_view32.exe (Irfanview program executable) file. It should be located in C:\Program Files\Irfanview\i_view32.exe. Click Ok. If you have a 64-bit version of Windows, the Irfanview executable is likely in the C:\Program Files (x86)\Irfanview folder instead

4. If you want to set this as the default program for all .ai or .eps files (you'll have to do each separately), check the box labeled "Always used the selected program to open this kind of file", then click OK

You should now be able to view .ai and .eps files for free on your Windows PC. This may not work for every file as the postscript decoding isn't perfect, but I don't complain when it's free.

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