Encapsulated PostScript

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File Format
Name Encapsulated PostScript
Extension(s) .eps, .epsf, .epsi, .epi
PRONOM fmt/122, fmt/123, fmt/124
Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) is a format based on PostScript, designed to be more like an image format than a page description language.



An EPS file may contain a "preview" version of the image, intended to be used, for example, by document editors when displaying the image on the screen. This has a surprisingly large effect on the format. The varieties of EPS are best categorized based on the type of preview image.

Also, be aware that some image viewers may display only the preview image, instead of the full-quality main image.

No preview

We'll call an EPS file with no preview image a "plain EPS" file, to distinguish it from the other EPS varieties.

Plain EPS is a subformat of PostScript. It is a plain text file.


EPSI (Encapsulated PostScript Interchange) is the same as plain EPS, except that it has a preview image inside it. The preview uses a simple raster image format. EPSI format can be identified by the presence of a line beginning with "%%BeginPreview".

PICT preview

This variety is only relevant to the Macintosh platform. It contains a PICT file in the Resource Fork, and a plain EPS file in the data fork.

TIFF/WMF preview

This is a wrapper format containing an embedded TIFF or WMF file, and an embedded plain EPS file. It begins with a 32-byte binary header. It is sometimes called DOS EPS Binary.


Files with a TIFF or WMF preview image begin with signature bytes C5 D0 D3 C6.

All other EPS formats begin with ASCII text "%!PS-Adobe-x.x EPSF-x.x" (where each x is a single digit).



Sample files


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