In the world of graphic design and digital art, vector images hold a special place. Unlike raster images, vectors are infinitely scalable without losing quality, making them perfect for logos, illustrations, and designs that need to look crisp and sharp at any size. Adobe Illustrator is one of the most popular tools for converting images into vectors. In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of how to convert an image to a vector in Illustrator, step by step.

Why Convert Images to Vectors?

Vector images are composed of mathematically defined paths, which means they can be scaled up or down without any loss of quality. This scalability makes vectors essential for various design projects, including logos, icons, and illustrations. Converting an image to a vector in Illustrator allows you to work with greater flexibility and precision.

Getting Started with Adobe Illustrator

Before you can begin converting images to vectors, you’ll need the photo editing software Adobe Illustrator installed on your computer. Once you have it installed, follow these steps:

  • Launch Adobe Illustrator.
  • Create a new document or open an existing one.
  • Import the image you want to convert by going to File > Place.

Image Tracing in Illustrator

Now that you have your image in Illustrator, it’s time to convert it into a vector. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Select the image you imported.
  • Go to the “Object” menu, choose “Image Trace,” and click on “Make.”

Illustrator will analyze the image and automatically trace it into a vector using default settings. However, you can fine-tune the tracing process by adjusting the options in the Image Trace panel.

Refining Your Vector Image

After tracing, your vector image may require some refinements for a polished result. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Expand the tracing by clicking “Expand” in the Image Trace panel.
  • Ungroup the image to access individual vector elements.
  • Use the Pen Tool or other vector tools to make manual adjustments.
  • Adjust stroke widths, colors, and fill options to match your design.

Exporting Your Vector Image

Once you’re satisfied with your vector image, it’s time to export it for use in various applications. To do this:

  • Select the vector artwork.
  • Go to File > Export > Export As.
  • Choose your preferred file format (e.g., SVG, AI, EPS) and adjust export settings.
  • Click “Export” to save your vector image.

Your image is now in a vector format and ready for use in print or digital projects.


Converting images to vectors in Adobe Illustrator is a fundamental skill for graphic designers and digital artists. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can create high-quality vector images that are versatile and suitable for a wide range of design projects. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced designer, mastering this process will open up new creative possibilities for you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between a vector image and a raster image?

Vector images are composed of mathematical paths and can be scaled infinitely without quality loss, while raster images are made up of pixels and can become pixelated when resized.

Can I convert a photograph into a vector image?

Yes, you can convert a photograph into a vector image using Illustrator’s Image Trace feature, but the results may vary depending on the complexity of the photo.

Are there any online tools for converting images to vectors?

Yes, several online tools and software options, such as Adobe Illustrator, CorelDRAW, and Inkscape, can help convert images to vectors.

Can I edit a vector image after it’s been converted?

Yes, you can edit vector images in Adobe Illustrator and other vector editing software by adjusting paths, colors, and other attributes.

What are some common applications of vector images?

Vector images are commonly used for logos, icons, illustrations, infographics, and any design work that requires scalability and sharpness.

This page was last edited on 2 October 2023, at 3:00 pm