What Is an SVG File?

How to Open, Edit, and Convert SVG Files

SVG Files
SVG Files.

A file with the SVG file extension is most likely a Scalable Vector Graphics file. Files in this format use an XML-based text format to describe how the image should appear.

Since text is used to describe the graphic, an SVG file can be scaled to different sizes without losing quality - in other words, the format is resolution independent. This is why website graphics are often built in the SVG format, so they can be resized to fit different designs in the future.

If an SVG file is compressed with GZIP compression, the file will end with the .SVGZ file extension and may be 50% to 80% smaller in size.

Other files with the .SVG file extension that aren't related to a graphics format may instead be Saved Game files. Games like Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Grand Theft Auto save the progress of the game to an SVG file.

How to Open an SVG File

The easiest and quickest way to open an SVG file to view it (not to edit it) with a modern web browser like Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Internet Explorer - nearly all of them should provide some sort of rendering support for the SVG format. This means you can open online SVG files without having to download them first.

If you do already have an SVG file on your computer, the web browser can also be used as an offline SVG viewer. Open those SVG files through the web browser's Open option (the Ctrl+O keyboard shortcut).

SVG files can be created through Adobe Illustrator, so you can of course use that program to open the file. Some other Adobe programs that support SVG files (so long as the SVG Kit for Adobe CS plug-in is installed) include Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, and InDesign programs. Adobe Animate works with SVG files too.

Some non-Adobe programs that can open an SVG file include Microsoft Visio, CorelDRAW, Corel PaintShop Pro, and CADSoftTools ABViewer.

Inkscape and GIMP are two free programs that can work with SVG files, but you must download them in order to open the SVG file. Picozu is also free and supports the SVG format too, but you can open the file online without downloading anything.

Since a Scalable Vector Graphics file is really a text file in its details, you can view the text version of the file in any text editor. Notepad++ is our favorite, but even the default text reader in your operating system would work, like Notepad in Windows.

For Saved Game files, the game that created the SVG file most likely uses it automatically when you resume the gameplay, which means you probably can't manually open the SVG file through the program's menu. However, even if you do manage to get the SVG file to open through an Open menu of some sort, you have to use the right SVG file that goes with the game that created it.

How to Convert an SVG File

There are two ways you can convert your SVG file, so you can decide which method to use based on whether you have a big or a small SVG file.

For example, if your SVG file is pretty small, you can upload it to an online file conversion website like Zamzar, which can convert SVG files to PNG, PDF, JPG, GIF, and a couple other graphics formats.

We like Zamzar because you don't have to download the converter before you can use it - it runs entirely in your web browser, so you just have to download the converted file.

Autotracer.org is another online SVG converter, which lets you convert an online SVG (through its URL) to other formats like EPS, AI, DXF, PDF, etc., as well as resize the image.

Online SVG converters are also useful if you don't have an SVG viewer/editor installed. So, if you find an SVG file online that you want in the PNG format, for example, so you can easily share it or use it in an image editor that supports PNG, you can convert the SVG file without needing an SVG viewer installed.

On the other hand, if you have a larger SVG file or if you'd rather not waste any unnecessary time uploading it to a website like Zamzar, the programs already mentioned above should be able to save/export the SVG file to a new format too.

One example is with Inkscape - after you open/edit the SVG file, you can save it back to SVG as well as to a different file format like PNG, PDF, DXF, ODG, EPS, TAR, PS, HPGL, and many others.

More Information on SVG Files

The Scalable Vector Graphics format was created in 1999 and is still being developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Like you've already read above, the entire contents of an SVG file is just text. If you were to open one in a text editor, you would see just text. You can see an example of one at W3Schools. The left side shows the contents of the file and the right side shows what the rendering of that text looks like. This is how SVG viewers are able to show the picture - by reading the text and understanding how it should be displayed.

Looking at that example, you can see how easy it is to edit the circle's dimensions to make it as large as you want without actually affecting the quality of the edges or color. Since the instructions for rendering the image can be easily altered in an SVG editor, so too can the image itself.

Need More Help?

See Get More Help for information about contacting me on social networks or via email, posting on tech support forums, and more. Let me know what kinds of problems you're having with opening or converting the SVG file, including what tools or services you've already tried, and I'll see what I can do to help.