Pros and Cons of Vector Files
Advantages of vector files include the following:
- Vector files are useful for storing images composed of line-based elements
such as lines and polygons, or those that can be decomposed into simple
geometrical objects, such as text. More sophisticated formats can also store
3D objects such as polyhedrons and wire-frame models.
- Vector data can be easily scaled and otherwise manipulated to accommodate the
resolution of a spectrum of output devices.
- Many vector files containing only ASCII-format data can be modified with
simple text editing tools. Individual elements may be added, removed, or
changed without affecting other objects in the image.
- It is usually easy to render vector data and save it to a bitmap format file,
or, alternately, to convert the data to another vector format, with good
Some drawbacks of vector files include the following:
- Vector files cannot easily be used to store extremely complex images, such as
some photographs, where color information is paramount and may vary on a
- The appearance of vector images can vary considerably depending upon the
application interpreting the image. Factors include the rendering application's
compatibility with the creator application and the sophistication of its
toolkit of geometric primitives and drawing operations.
- Vector data also displays best on vectored output devices such as plotters
and random scan displays. High-resolution raster displays are needed to display
vector graphics as effectively.
- Reconstruction of vector data may take considerably longer than that
contained in a bitmap file of equivalent complexity, because each image element
must be drawn individually and in sequence.
This page is taken from the Encyclopedia
of Graphics File Formats and is licensed by O'Reilly
under the Creative Common/Attribution license.