Choosing a File Type for Export

Artboard supports export to PNG, JPEG, PDF, TIFF, Windows BMP and GIF files.

Supported Export File Types

Artboard supports the following export file types:

  • PNG – The recommended file format when rendering crisp drawings on the web. ‘PNG’ stands for Portable Network Graphics format, a format for storing bitmap (raster) images.
  • JPEG –  Great for photographs, but not really intended for representing vector graphics, JPEG is recommended when an image (such as a photograph) is the background of your drawing. ‘JPEG’ (or JPG) stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. It is a raster-based graphics file format.
  • PDF – The only export format that produces editable vector-based graphics. Drawings exported to PDF format retain their vector properties and are therefore scalable without loss in resolution. PDF is a file format created by Adobe Systems that is the native file format for Adobe Illustrator(TM) – except with a different file extension (AI). ‘PDF’ stands for Portable Document Format. Drawings exported as PDF are saved as vector files that can be opened and edited by some other vector editing software.
  • TIFF – The Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) is widely supported by image-manipulation applications, by publishing, and page layout applications. TIFF alpha transparency is a supported export option. It is a raster-based graphics file format.
  • BMP – The BMP file format, also known as bitmap image file or Windows Bitmap or simply a bitmap, is a raster graphics image file.
  • GIF –A raster-based graphics file that has widespread usage on websites due to its broad support and portability. ‘GIF’ stands for Graphics Interchange Format.

Suggested File Formats for Print, Web and App Design

For best results, consider your purpose and required format you early. On any given project, determining from the beginning what file format is required is a best practice – particularly if you have publication standards that must be met! Artboard is flexible in exporting various image types, formats, resolution and scale.

For Print

Printing for publication typically requires 300 dpi (dots per inch) resolution. PDF and TIF formats are often used in the high resolution printing process. If your drawing will be enlarged or reduced for publication, PDF is our recommended export format. PDF is also a good choice for creating a zoomable image, and for example to view with Adobe Reader(TM) or Apple Preview(TM).

For Web

In the most general terms, static web graphics require 72 dpi resolution and will typically use PNG or JPEG formats. For retina graphic resolutions, export at 72 dpi resolution and 200% scale; name the retina export file@2x.png (or file@2x.jpg). For drawings that are primarily represented with vector graphics, PNG will typically give crisper results.

For App Design

Graphics exported for OS X and iOS App design are similar to graphics exported for web. App design graphics generally require 72 dpi resolution and will typically use PNG format with transparent background, or PDF formats. For retina graphic resolutions, export at 72 dpi resolution and 200% scale, and name the export accordingly (e.g., file@2x.png). For example, a 512×512 App icon would be exported at 200% to produce UI icon graphics, such as for toolbar buttons, may be exported as PDF at their original size. Small graphics should be made “pixel perfect” using a pixel grid while drawing.

Viewing Exported Graphics in Preview

View exported graphics in Apple’s Preview(TM) application, an excellent tool for viewing and adjusting exported graphics (Preview is a free application included with OS X). Several functions are available, such as clipping images, adjusting size, and matching image color profiles. Preview’s default preference for viewing images is to scale them to fit the document window. To view images at their actual size, set the ‘Preview > Preferences > Images’ to actual size and to respect the image and screen DPI for scale.

About PDF

Exported PDF graphics naturally preserve their background transparency. Like other graphic formats, PDFs can be placed as graphics into other software programs, such as Microsoft Word(TM) and Apple Pages(TM), and will respect image wrapping settings. PDF graphics may also be placed into your drawings. For example, use the Image Browser to place a PDF graphic created in one drawing file, into another drawing file. Because it is vector-based, the graphic will scale without loss of resolution in your new document (though imported PDF files cannot be edited).

Exported vector PDF files can be edited in other vector drawing software that are enabled to edit PDF, such as Adobe Illustrator(TM). This example shows a drawing that was exported as a PDF file. When opened in Adobe Illustrator, each object is an editable vector graphic, represented here on individual layers.

Note, PDF is a file format created by Adobe Systems and is the native file format for Adobe Illustrator(TM) – except with a different file extension (AI). As needed, you can change the file extension from .pdf to .ai without affecting the file contents.

HINT: When copying a graphic to open or paste into other software, the image-PDF file format is the system default.