Graphic File Formats

Ricky Telg and Ashley McLeod-Morin

This publication on graphic file formats is the fourth of a five-part series on document design. This series also covers the document design process, principles of document design, elements of document design, and brochure and newsletter design.


When designing documents, you also have to be aware of the different types of images you may receive. This publication, created for anyone with an interest in designing effective documents, provides an overview of raster graphics and vector graphics.

Raster graphic with vector overlay.
Figure 2. Example showing effect of vector graphics versus raster graphics. The original vector-based illustration is at the left. The upper-right image illustrates magnification of 7x as a vector image. The lower-right image illustrates the same magnification as a raster (bitmap) image. Raster images are based on pixels and thus scale with loss of clarity, while vector-based images can be scaled indefinitely without loss of quality. Credits: Darth Stabro/Wikimedia Foundation, CC BY-SA 3.0

As shown in Figure 2, vector graphics can be resized (scaled) without looking pixilated. Vector graphics work best for drawing images with sharp edges and consistent areas of color, such as line art, diagrams, maps, and statistical graphics. The file format most commonly associated with vector graphics is the EPS, meaning Encapsulated PostScript. Resolution is not an issue with an EPS file unless raster effects have been added.

Additional Information

Diggs-Brown, B., & Glou, J. (2004). The PR styleguide: Formats for public relations practice. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Kimball, M. A., & Hawkins, A. R. (2008) Document design: A guide for technical communicators. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Marsh, C., Guth, D. W., & Short, B. P. (2005) Strategic writing: Multimedia writing for public relations, advertising, sales and marketing. Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

Telg, R., & Irani, T. A. (2012). Agricultural communications in action: A hands-on approach. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar.

Publication #WC130

Date: 2012-05-31

Fact Sheet

About this Publication

This document is WC130, one of a series of the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date June 2012. Revised April 2021. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Ricky Telg, professor, Agricultural Communication, Department of Agricultural Education and Communication; and Ashley McLeod-Morin, media coordinator, UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


  • Ricky Telg