How to Convert a Bitmap into a Vector

How to Convert a Bitmap into a Vector

Before starting with the article on How to Convert a Bitmap into a Vector, we shall first have some knowledge about what a bitmap and vector is. The best way to know this is by making a list of difference, advantages, and disadvantages that both have and then moving forth on our main point.

The difference between bitmap and vector images:

How to Convert a Bitmap into a Vector

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  • Bitmap (or raster) images are stored as a series of tiny dots called pixels. Each pixel is actually a very small square that is assigned a color and then arranged in a pattern to form the image. When you zoom in on a bitmap image you can see the individual pixels that make up that image. Bitmap graphics can be edited by erasing or changing the color of individual pixels using a program such as Adobe Photoshop.
  • Vector images, on the other hand, are not based on pixel patterns, but instead, use mathematical formulas to draw lines and curves that can be combined to create an image from geometric objects such as circles and polygons. Vector images are edited by manipulating the lines and curves that make up the image using a program such as Adobe Illustrator.

Advantages of Vector over Raster:

Vector images tend to be smaller than bitmap images. That’s because a bitmap image has to store color information for each individual pixel that forms the image. A vector image just has to store the mathematical formulas that make up the image, which take up less space.

Vector images are also more scalable than bitmap images. When a bitmap image is scaled up you begin to see the individual pixels that make up the image. This is most evident in the edges of the image. There are ways of making these uneven edges less evident but this often results in making the image blurry as well. When a vector image is scaled up, the image is redrawn using the mathematical formula. The resulting image is just as smooth as the original.

Disadvantages of Vector:

How to Convert a Bitmap into a Vector

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Unfortunately, vector formats are not well supported on the web. The two most popular image formats used on the Web, GIF, and JPEG are bitmap formats. Most vector images must first be converted into bitmaps images (or rasterized) before they can be used on the Web. An exception is the SWF format used to create animations using Macromedia’s Flash animation software.

Bitmap formats are best for images that need to have a wide range of color progression, such as most photographs. Vector formats, on the other hand, are better for images that consist of a few areas of solid color. Examples of images that are well suited for the vector format include logos and type.

Now that we are well equipped with the knowledge of a bitmap or raster and vector, we shall move forth in learning How to Convert a Bitmap into a Vector.

There are two programs which are basically used for converting raster into a vector, namely Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw. We shall have the know-how of both the programs step by step.

Converting a Bitmap into a Vector Using Adobe Illustrator

How to Convert a Bitmap into a Vector

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Adobe Illustrator is a powerful Vector Graphics Application for creating and editing vectors. Within Illustrator, you’ll find an absolutely useful tool which can convert raster to vector in a moment. Let’s see how easy it is to use this vector convert, follow the given points:


  • Open the image in Illustrator by going to File Menu,
  • Choose Open,
  • Select the Image you want to convert
  • Click Open,
  • The image opens as a new file in Illustrator
  • Select the Image by Clicking on it.
  • Click on Live Trace (found in the Control Panel, below the Application Bar)
  • Your image is now converted to Vector

Note: You may save it as an EPS file or an AI file so that it can be edited later if required. Choose from Preset Select Menu, which is found on the left side in the Control Panel. If you want the result to be closer to the original Raster Image, choose ‘Photo High Fidelity’. To further enhance your result you may click open the ‘Tracing Options Dialog’ by clicking on the small icon beside it.


Convert a Bitmap into a Vector Using CorelDRAW

How to Convert a Bitmap into a Vector

CorelDRAW is an extremely popular Vector Graphics Tool can convert a Raster Image into a Vector in a matter of seconds.


  • Import the Image in a New File by going to the File Menu,
  • Choose Import,
  • Select Image and click Import button.
  • Now place the image on the page by clicking.
  • In the Property Bar click on Trace Bitmap
  • Choose Quick Trace.
  • The image has now been converted to Vector.

You can now save your file in CDR format to be edited later. You may also export an EPS format from CorelDRAW by going to File Menu and choosing Export which opens the Export Dialog. Choose EPS from the dropdown and hit the Export button.

Note: You can get different kinds of traced Vectors and can even further refine the quality of the resulting vector. Use the Power Trace option by selecting the other options available in the dropdown below Quick Trace.

Unlike other applications, the original Bitmap image has not been replaced with the new Vector one. You can move the newly traced image to reveal the Bitmap one behind it. You can now delete the Bitmap image by selecting and pressing delete on your keyboard.

Bitmaps (raster) and vector images are fundamental in graphic designing. One should be clear about what these are and how we can interchange them or convert them. Also, a brief knowledge of what they do and their advantages and disadvantages are vital. Hope you find this information useful about How to Convert a Bitmap into a Vector.

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