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Casey Flores
Casey Flores

How to Save and Export Your Canva Designs as AI Files

Canva Download AI File: How to Export Your Designs to Adobe Illustrator

Canva is a popular online design tool that allows you to create stunning graphics, presentations, social media posts, and more. But what if you want to export your Canva designs to Adobe Illustrator, the industry-standard vector editing software? How can you download your Canva designs as AI files?

In this article, we'll show you how to export your Canva designs to AI files, how to edit them in Adobe Illustrator, and what are some of the best Canva alternatives for AI files. Let's get started!

canva download ai file

What is an AI file and why use it?

An AI file is a vector graphic created or exported by Adobe Illustrator or another graphics application. It is the proprietary file type of Adobe Illustrator and uses paths instead of bitmap image information. It can be resized without losing quality and is compatible with EPS files. It has the .AI file extension.

The benefits of vector graphics

Vector graphics are images that are made of mathematical equations that define the shapes, colors, and curves of the elements. Unlike raster or bitmap images that are made of pixels, vector graphics don't lose resolution when scaled because they're built on a complex graph-like formula that is infinitely expandable.

Vector graphics are ideal for creating logos, icons, illustrations, and other artwork that can be scaled up or down without affecting the clarity and sharpness. They're also very versatile, allowing for layering and transparency where other file types don't.

The compatibility and versatility of AI files

AI files are the native vector file type for Adobe Illustrator, the design industry's leading software for creating professional vectors and illustrations. With an AI file, designers can scale their graphics, drawings, and images infinitely with no impact on resolution.

AI files are also compatible with other vector formats and file types like PDF, EPS, and SVG. They can be opened and edited by other vector editing programs like CorelDRAW, Inkscape, Sketch, Affinity Designer, and more. They can also be converted to raster formats like JPG, PNG, GIF, etc. for web use or printing.

How to export your Canva designs to AI files

If you've created a design on Canva and want to export it as an AI file, you'll need to follow these steps:

Step 1: Download your design as a PDF file

Canva doesn't support exporting designs directly as AI files, but it does allow you to download them as PDF files. PDF files are also vector-based and can be opened by Adobe Illustrator.

To download your design as a PDF file from Canva, go to the top right corner of the editor and click on the Download button. Choose PDF Print from the File type dropdown menu and click on Download again.

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Step 2: Open the PDF file in Adobe Illustrator

Once you've downloaded your design as a PDF file, you'll need to open it in Adobe Illustrator. To do this, launch Adobe Illustrator on your computer and go to File > Open. Locate the PDF file on your device and click on Open.

You'll see a dialog box asking you how you want to import the PDF file. You can choose to import the PDF as a single image or as multiple images, depending on how many pages or elements your design has. You can also adjust the resolution and color mode of the imported file. Click on OK to confirm your settings and open the PDF file in Illustrator.

Step 3: Save the file as an AI file

Now that you have your PDF file opened in Illustrator, you can save it as an AI file. To do this, go to File > Save As and choose Illustrator (AI) from the Format dropdown menu. You can also rename your file and choose a location to save it on your device. Click on Save to complete the process.

Congratulations, you've successfully exported your Canva design to an AI file!

How to edit your AI files in Adobe Illustrator

If you want to make further changes or enhancements to your AI files, you can use Adobe Illustrator's powerful tools and features to edit them. Here are some of the advantages of using Illustrator for advanced editing and some of the tools and features you can use.

The advantages of using Illustrator for advanced editing

Adobe Illustrator is the industry-standard software for creating and editing vector graphics. It offers a range of benefits for designers who want to work with AI files, such as:

  • It allows you to manipulate paths, shapes, colors, gradients, strokes, effects, and more with precision and control.

  • It supports layers, groups, masks, clipping masks, symbols, patterns, brushes, and other elements that can help you organize and optimize your workflow.

  • It has a variety of tools for drawing, painting, tracing, transforming, aligning, distributing, scaling, rotating, skewing, distorting, and warping your vectors.

  • It has a rich set of features for adding text, typography, fonts, styles, glyphs, and other text-related elements to your designs.

  • It has a powerful pen tool that lets you create custom shapes and curves with ease.

  • It has a smart guides feature that helps you align and snap your objects to grids, guides, points, edges, and other objects.

  • It has an artboard feature that lets you create multiple canvases within one document and export them separately or together.

  • It has a live trace feature that lets you convert raster images to vector graphics with adjustable settings.

  • It has a live paint feature that lets you fill in areas of your vectors with colors or gradients without creating separate shapes.

  • It has a live color feature that lets you experiment with different color schemes and harmonies for your designs.

The tools and features of Illustrator for vector editing

To edit your AI files in Illustrator, you'll need to familiarize yourself with some of the tools and features that are available in the software. Here are some of the most common ones that you'll use:




Select tool

Lets you select and move objects on your artboard.

Direct select tool

Lets you select and edit individual anchor points or segments of an object.

Magic wand tool

Lets you select objects based on their attributes such as fill color, stroke color, opacity, etc.

Lasso tool

Lets you select objects by drawing a freehand shape around them.

Pen tool

Lets you draw paths with anchor points and curves.

Curvature tool

Lets you draw smooth and refined curves with fewer anchor points.

Shape tool

Lets you draw basic shapes such as rectangles, ellipses, polygons, stars, etc.

Paintbrush tool

Lets you draw freehand strokes with different brushes and settings.

Pencil tool

Lets you draw freehand paths with a simple and intuitive interface.


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