What is an SVG File? Why should SVG be used on your website?

in graphic design, svg files

What is an SVG File? Why should SVG be used on your website?

A file with an extension of the SVG file is probably a scalable vector graphics file. Files in this format use an XML-based text format to determine how the image should appear.

Since the text is used to describe the graphic, an SVG file may be smaller in size than the one without quality – the resolution of the format is independent. This is why website graphics are often built-in SVG format so that they can be resized to suit different designs in the future.

If an SVG file is compressed with GZIP compression, the file will end with the .SVGZ file extension and may be 50% to 80% smaller in size.

Other files with SVG file extensions that are not related to the graphics format but modified game files can be saved. Games like Wolfenstein and Grand Theater Auto save game progress from an SVG file.

How to Open an SVG File

This is the easiest and fastest way to open an SVG file format with a modern web browser like Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Internet Explorer. It means that you can open an online SVG file without having to download it first.

An SVG File in the Chrome Browser

If you already have an SVG file on your computer, the web browser can be used as an offline SVG viewer. Open those SVG files via the open options (Ctrl + and keyboard shortcuts) in the web browser.

SVG files can be created with Adobe Illustrator, so you must use this program to open the file. Some other Adobe programs that support SVG files (as long as the SVG kit for installing the Adobe CS plug-in) include Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, and InDesign. Adobe Azma works with SVG files, too.

Some non-Adobe programs can open an SVG files including Microsoft Viso, CorelDRAU, Corel Paintshop Pro and CADSoft tools ABViewer

GIMP and Inkscape are two free programs that can work with SVG files, but you must download them to open the SVG file. Picozu also supports the free and SVG format, too, but you can open the file without any download.

Since a scalable vector graphics file is actually a text file with its details, you can view the text version of any text editor file. See our list of the best free text editors for our favorites. Your operating system’s default text reader will work, like Windows Notepad.

Why Should You Use SVG on Your Website?

Scalable vector graphics or SVGs play an important role in website design today. If you are not currently using SVG for your website, here are some reasons why you should start it, as well as fallbacks you can use for older browsers that do not support these files.

Resolution Freedom

The biggest advantage of SVG is the freedom of resolution. Since SVG files are vector graphics instead of pixel-based raster images, they can be resized without losing any image quality. This is especially helpful when you are creating responsive websites that need to look good. These work well across a wide range of different screen sizes and devices.

SVG files can be shortened or scaled down to accommodate the changing size and layout requirements of your responsive website, and you don’t have to worry about how those types of graphics will compromise with any measure of quality.

File Size

One of the challenges in using raster images (JPG, PNG, GIF) on responsive websites is the file size of those images. Since raster images do not scale the way vectors do, you need to render your pixel-based images to the largest size where they will be displayed.

This is because you can always make an image smaller and maintain its quality but it is not the same when it comes to making images bigger. The end result is that you often have images that are much larger than what appears on a person’s screen. This means they are being forced to download unnecessarily large files.

SVG addresses this challenge. Since vector graphics are scalable, these images can be displayed regardless of whether you have a very small file size. This will ultimately have a positive effect on the overall performance and download speed of a site.

CSS Styling

SVG code can be added directly to the HTML of a page. It’s called “Inline SVG.” Another advantage is that inline SVG can be styled with CSS. Need to change the color of an SVG icon? Instead of needing to open that image in any kind of editing software and re-exporting and uploading the file. You can change the SVG file with just a few lines of CSS.

You can also use other CSS styles to change SOG graphics to hover states or to specific design requirements. Those graphics can be animated to add some movement and interactivity to a page.


Since inline SVG files can be styled with CSS, you can also use CSS animations in them. CSS conversion and transfer are two easy ways to add some life to SVG files. You can get a rich Flash experience on any page without having to commit suicide on the downsides of using Flash on websites today.

Use of SVG

As powerful as SVG, these graphics cannot replace every image you use on your own website. Photos that require a deeper depth of color still need to be a JPG or possibly a PNG file. But, simple images like icons are apt to be effective as SVG.

SVG can also be suitable for more complex images, such as company logos or graphs and charts. All graphics are scalable, able to be styled with CSS and will benefit from the other benefits listed in this article.

Support for Older Browsers

These graphics are not only supported by browsers that are older versions of Internet Explorer (version 8 and below) and a few older versions of Android. All in all, a very small amount of the browsing population still uses these browsers; and this number continues to shrink. This means that SVG can be used safely on the website today.

If you want to provide a fallback for SVG, you can use a tool like Grampicon from Filament Group. This resource will take your SVG image files and create PNG fallbacks for older browsers.

The SVG image format is basically a web format that allows it to be used directly on the web. But cannot be used or previewed like any normal image. So if you want to use or view the SVG image as a normal image, you have to convert it.

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