edit svg files

Using SVG Files in Photoshop (What, Why, and How)

One area of confusion in Photoshop is the humble SVG file. Discover everything you never knew you needed to know about the Photoshop SVG right here!

What are the advantages of using SVG files, when would you use them, and how would you use them?

Keep reading if you want to learn more about SVG files and how to use them in Photoshop. 

Download Adobe Photoshop

Download the latest version of Adobe Photoshop to follow along with this simple tutorial.

Start a free 7-day trial today


Using SVG Files in Photoshop (What, Why, and How) 

What is an SVG Files

Before you jump in and start converting all your files and images to Photoshop SVG files, you might want to know what an SVG file is.

SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphic.

The SVG format is a superior format that uses an algorithm to determine how information is added to the file when scaled. 

The SVG file format is made using a mathematical formula that keeps track of points and the lines that connect them.

Photoshop started supporting SVG OpenType fonts in 2017 – see all the Photoshop versions here.

Why Use an SVG File

Scalable Vector Graphics will look like a high-quality image when increased or decreased in size, as no file information will be lost. 

This makes SVG files the best option for complex graphic images and logos. 

The SVG logo or graphic can be scaled up and used for billboard advertising without distortion of the file information. 

Adobe illustrator

A raster file is pixel-based and loses information when scaled up or down, resulting in image blur.

shape layer

In Photoshop, a Text or Shape layer will be created as a vector file so that it can be scaled up or down without distortion.

Another advantage of using the SVG format in preference to raster images is that the SVG format is text-based.

Text is stored in the SVG file as XML code, making it desirable to web browsers. 

Google and other browsers will recognize the text in an SVG file and can include them as keywords. Thus the SEO of the web page using SVG files can be improved.

Web browsers cannot read text written in raster images, jpg, or pngs. 

See also: How to Reasterize in Photoshop 

How to Use an SVG

SVG files are more commonly edited and created in Adobe Illustrator, which is a vector-based graphics editor.

Photoshop is raster based graphics editor but it is still possible to edit an SVG file in Photoshop.

When you open an SVG file in Photoshop this way it will be converted to a raster image. 

You can open the SVG file as you would any other image by using File > Open.

When you locate your image and click to open a pop-up window will appear, letting you know that the SVG format will be rasterized when opened. 

Click OK and the SVG file will be opened.

vector graphic format

When the image is opened, you can edit and manipulate it the same as a raster file.

If you want to open the SVG file as a vector image you can use File > Place Embedded. 

vector images

The SVG file will be embedded in the new document.

You will find it in the layers panel as a new smart object layer.

svg code

You can now edit it as you would any other smart object.

Learn more about how to insert images in Photoshop.

How to Save SVG in Photoshop

You can change any file format to SVG format and export using Photoshop.

You will not be able to use the Save as option when exporting SVG files in Photoshop 

Open the file you want to save as an SVG file.

Navigate to File and in the drop-down menu select Export.

Beside Export a drop-down menu will appear, if you have saved other images as SVG files you can select Quick Export as SVG File.

edit svg files

This quick export option won’t always appear, as Photoshop’s default setting is to export a PNG image.

Select Export As.. and an Export As Dialog box will appear.

Here you can check the properties of the SVG file to be saved.

Select SVG in the box beside Format:

scalable vector graphics

Leave the rest of the settings as default settings.

The dialog box will give you a preview of the SVG file and the option to zoom in or out to view the SVG file in greater detail.

If you are happy with the SVG file format preview click Export in the bottom right-hand corner of the dialog box.

When pressed, a pop-up box will appear, giving you the option to Rename the file and decide where you want to save it.

When you have selected the location and name of the SVG image and click Save.

You can now go to the file’s saved location and check your SVG image.

As SVG files are larger files than JPG or PNG files as they contain more information.

If you want to learn more editing tricks in Photoshop, check out – How to Outline Text in Photoshop.

Shotkit Writer & Photoshop Expert

Judyth is an experienced studio photographer and glass artist. When she isn’t Photoshopping comedians into the bellies of sharks, you can find her cooking delicious treats for her guests.

Leave a Comment



Enter your email to be sent
today's Welcome Gift:
19 Photography Tools

🔥 Popular NOW:

Shotkit may earn a commission on affiliate links. Learn more.