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What is the SVG File Format? What is an SVG File Used For?

SVG File Format

Have you come across the SVG file format and are wondering what it is?

If so, here’s a quick explanation.

SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics.

It is a 2D non-photographic XML-based image format popularly used for web and logo design.

If you want to include charts and illustrations or display quantitative statistics, graphs, maps, and technical diagrams on your website, you could do well to use the SVG format.

Apart from web use, SVG files work well as templates for textile printing (T-shirt printing).

SVG Quick History

The SVG file format was developed under the initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in the 1990s. The format did not become popular until the late 2010s.

How Does the SVG Format Work?

SVG files are stored as vectors. A vector format stores images as vectors, which is a type of graphic made up of points, lines, curves, and shapes based on mathematical formulas.

Advantages of the SVG Format

SVG has the following benefits:

They can produce sharp images and can be scaled to any size without quality loss.

They usually have smaller file sizes compared to other image formats.

SVG Files are Search-Engine Friendly

They can be optimized for search engines as well.

As mentioned earlier, SVG files are XML-based. They can store text information which allows the search engines to read it.

So, you can use SVG images to improve your search engine rankings by inserting targeted keywords in the XML file.

SVG Supports Animation

Another advantage of the SVG format is that it supports animation. Basic animations like clock hand movement and slide movements in an infographic.

Disadvantages of the SVG Format

While the SVG format works great for logos and charts it doesn’t cut it when it comes to photos. The JPEG format which supports a higher pixel density does a better job when displaying high-resolution photos.

Also, if you’re using an older browser, chances are you would not be able to open an SVG file.

SVG File Viewer

How do you open an SVG file to view it?

You can use image-editing software like Photoshop, GIMP, or Illustrator to open an SVG file.

You can also open an SVG file with the latest web browsers.

You can easily convert it to other popular formats like PNG and JPEG via an image editor or converter.

SVG File Converter

There will be instances when you’ll need you’ll need to convert an SVG file to other popular image formats.

An image editing software like Photoshop or GIMP will help you convert SVG to formats like JPEG and PNG.

Otherwise, you can conveniently use an online converter for the purpose.

An example is cloudconvert which converts SVG files to various popular formats as shown below.


SVG Unleashed – Andrew Watt and Chris Lilley

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