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How to export SVG files in Illustrator, saving vectors Tutorial

export panel for svg files in Illustrator

How to export vector SVG vector files from Illustrator CC 2017 2015 etc. How to export SVG paths and how to save the vector data for use to create amazing web pages with all kinds of vector paths. To create a basic SVG file, create a vector path (or many vector paths) and then go to the save as command and select the SVG format. Illustrator also offers a new and more streamlined SVG vector export via the export menu command. The SVG files are just text files. You can edit the SVG files and modify them using a text editor. You can also copy the SVG data to the clipboard / pasteboard and copy the SVG into Dreamweaver. You can set a variety of vector SVG settings such as how to use fonts, how to preserve images, decimal points for accuracy of SVG data and more. This tutorial shows you how to save and export the SVG files and vector data. It shows the different settings for the SVG export. Also details about how you can cleanup the Illustrator SVG code.

  1. select some paths in Illustrator

  2. file menu

  3. export

  4. export as

  5. select SVG for format

  6. select the styling, font, decimal places etc

  7. ok

SVG Export Setup

The key thing is to have something to export (such as paths for the SVG export) and also you must have Illustrator CC 2017 / 2015.1 +. You could save SVG in previous versions but with the latest CC release you can now export the artwork. You can also just use the pasteboard to copy the artwork to Dreamweaver.

Save As

save as svg illustratorYou can use the save as command to save as SVG and the file saved is OK but it does require a little bit of tidying up and the whole point of the save is that the format can be re-opened into AI at a later point.

  1. create some art

  2. file menu

  3. save as

  4. select SVG from format list

  5. select the SVG profile, type etc as well as more options

  6. click OK

Export of SVG

export svg illustrator filesYou can find the new export command in the file menu. The export formats include PNG etc and now include SVG and this SVG can be imported back into AI but it is not intended for that, it is for saving a really trimmed down and mean file format with the minimum of fuss.


It works in the same way as the save but it does have a few additional options which make it very useful. It has the styling, font, images, object, decimal, minify etc and you have the usual show code and browser. The show code is the most useful as you can quickly see a text editor / code and you can then copy that and paste into Dreamweaver or whatever. The browser feature is also useful to see the end result especially if you change the decimal setting to 0. As the SVG code is just text, you can also cleanup the code with the removal of the title, xmlns etc but just leave the viewbox (that is useful) and add a class etc to the header.


I would say leave the decimal to 1 in most cases, I have tried 0 and it works but for a lot of artwork the results can be pretty dire. I have found the results a massive improvement over the save with a lot leaner code. The biggest disappointment has to be type as quite often the exported code generates a lot of tspans and breaks the text into 'grap' 'hic' 'xtr' 'as' etc instead of 'graphicxtras' which is really not ideal. I hope that is fixed at some point as I can't believe they really think that is minimal code. The export can be saved to an actual SVG file as well as the text file. I generally use inline SVG in my web pages but if not then you can generate the SVG code and then use the <img> tags or <object> etc.


With the export and the save as commands I still end up cleaning the code.


Export selection

Much the same as the export but it only adds the code for the items selected.


Pasteboard / clipboard

export svg via pasteboard clipboard illustratorYou can also just select the artwork, say the entire artboard (if you have a background path) and some objects such as circles, stars etc and then copy that as normal and then paste into Dreamweaver. To do this you must first go to the preferences and then the file handling section and then set the clipboard 'include SVG code' to ON. The SVG code generated is not bad, actually it is quite decent and 90% of the time it is sufficient. The only area it really fails in, type.


You have to expand the type before you can copy the code otherwise you just get the type only in DMW. See an example below of the generated code. It also tends to add <defs> (which may or may not be of use) and a comment and a lot of additional material in the header that has to be quickly deleted each and every time.


I guess they never know the exact results required by each and every user of the tool, so this is a reasonable result that benefits the most users.


<svg id="Layer_1" data-name="Layer 1" xmlns="" viewBox="0 0 449.45 371.1"><defs><style>.cls-1{fill:#fff;stroke:#000;stroke-miterlimit:10;}</style></defs><rect class="cls-1" x="0.5" y="0.5" width="448.45" height="370.1"/></svg>


The above is the code for a very basic SVG - you can still edit the code to remove some of the code

  1. create art

  2. select paths

  3. copy

  4. go to dreamweaver

  5. paste into code

Other resources

1. contour and offsets symbols

2. connection and line patterns swatches

3. halloween fonts and eps artworks for Illustrator, indesign, etc


Other tutorials

1. how to open eps files in Affinity Designer

2. how to use live line segment tool in Illustrator

3. how to open and place eps shapes into Photoshop

4. live shapes in Photoshop and how to change to a regular shape tutorial

5. how to replace a symbol instance or two in Illustrator tutorial


Sources and references

SVG on Wikipedia


Youtube Video tutorials

Export SVG tutorial [Youtube]





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Updated: July 2017