Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Vector and Bitmap

Vector vs Bitmap

To represent an image in a digital format, there are two methods; vectors and bitmaps. The main difference between them is in how they draw the image. Vector uses mathematical equations to form primitive shapes like circles, lines, and curves, which are then combined to form the desired image. On the other hand, a bitmap is basically a grid of different colors that meld together, thereby fooling the eye into a seeing an image rather than distinct colored boxes.

One advantage of vectors is its independence from resolution. Even if you zoom in on the image, arcs and edges still retain their sharpness. Bitmaps have a fixed resolution and if you apply excessive magnification to it, the individual blocks begin to become discernable. This also applies for printing large copies of the image. Bitmaps would be stretched and appear pixelated if the original image does not have a high enough resolution.

The second advantage is size. A large bitmap contains a lot of pixels, and with each pixel having a great number of possible color combinations, the file size can be very large. With vectors, the list of mathematical equations that define an image takes up significantly less space. Lastly, vectors are great when it comes to editing. Regardless of how many times you edit a vector image, it does not lose any detail. Bitmap is not as lucky as it suffers from a bit of degradation every time it is edited. The effect is easily compounded with multiple edits.

One area where vector is not better than bitmap is photos. The very nature of photos makes it impractical to use vectors because objects in a photo cannot be easily represented with primitive shapes. There is no other way but to use a bitmap.

The usual practice in editing is to create a vector image. It is then rasterized or converted to a bitmap once it is finalized. After it has been converted into a bitmap, it is no longer possible to revert it back to a vector image.


1.Vector uses mathematical equations to represent the graphics while bitmap uses a grid of colors
2.Vector images retain sharpness at any magnification level while bitmaps do not
3.Vector images typically occupy less space than bitmaps
4.Vector doesn’t suffer from degradation during editing while bitmaps do
5.Bitmaps are better for photos than vectors
6.Vector can be converted to a bitmap but not the other way around

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