Adobe Illustrator stands as a cornerstone software for graphic designers, offering powerful tools for creating scalable and precise vector graphics. Understanding the process of converting raster images to vectors within Illustrator is pivotal for achieving high-quality, adaptable designs. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps and techniques involved in converting raster to vector in Illustrator, unlocking the full potential of this transformative process.

Steps to Convert Raster to Vector in Illustrator

  1. Import Raster Image: Open Adobe Illustrator and import the raster image you wish to convert into a vector format.
  2. Image Trace Tool: Select the raster image, then navigate to the “Image Trace” option in the top toolbar or the “Object” menu. Click on “Image Trace” to access a range of preset options or customize settings for your specific image.
  3. Adjust Image Trace Settings: Experiment with settings such as Threshold, Paths, Colors, and Presets to achieve the desired level of detail and accuracy in the vectorized output. This allows customization based on the complexity of the raster image.
  4. Expand and Refine: Once satisfied with the tracing result, click on the “Expand” button in the top toolbar to convert the traced image into editable vector paths. Use the “Direct Selection Tool” or “Pen Tool” to refine and adjust individual anchor points and paths as needed.
  5. Save as Vector: Finally, save the vectorized image in formats like AI (Illustrator), EPS, or SVG to retain its scalability and editability for future use or export to other design software.

Key Techniques and Tips

  1. Choose the Right Image: Images with clear contrasts and fewer details often yield better results in the vectorization process.
  2. Experiment with Settings: Don’t hesitate to experiment with different Image Trace settings to find the ideal balance between detail and simplicity in your vectorized output.
  3. Refine Path Editing: Use Illustrator’s robust editing tools to refine vector paths manually for more precise results, especially in complex areas.
  4. Save Work Progressively: Save your progress at different stages to maintain flexibility and backtrack if needed during the vectorization process.

Benefits of Using Illustrator for Raster to Vector Conversion

  1. Scalability and Editability: Vectorized images in Illustrator retain clarity and sharpness, ensuring scalability without loss of quality. They also offer easy photo editing for further modifications.
  2. Integration and Compatibility: Illustrator’s vector files are compatible with various design software, enabling seamless integration into different workflows.
  3. Professional Results: The precision and versatility of Illustrator’s tools ensure professional-grade vector graphics suitable for diverse applications.
  4. Customization and Control: The ability to customize Image Trace settings and manually edit paths provides users with control over the final output.


Mastering the art of converting raster to vector in Illustrator empowers designers to create scalable, precise, and editable vector graphics. By following the outlined steps, leveraging key techniques, and understanding Illustrator’s capabilities, individuals can harness the full potential of the software for transforming raster images into versatile vector formats, ensuring high-quality and adaptable designs for various applications.


Can Illustrator accurately convert highly detailed raster images into vectors?
Illustrator’s Image Trace tool handles various levels of detail, but complex images may require additional manual adjustments for optimal conversion.

Which vector formats are compatible with Illustrator for exporting converted files?
Illustrator supports exporting vectorized images in formats like AI, EPS, SVG, ensuring compatibility with various design software.

Are there limitations to the size of the raster image that can be converted in Illustrator?
Illustrator can handle large raster images, but processing times might increase with larger file sizes.

Can I edit the vectorized image further in Illustrator or other design software?
Yes, vectorized images exported from Illustrator can be further edited within Illustrator or imported into other vector-based design software for additional modifications.

This page was last edited on 18 January 2024, at 7:00 am