Illustrator cannot export to EPS. You can only save your file as EPS. The difference is not insignificant. To export a file one is generally leaving the current file open and creating a new file that is somehow less than the complete file. Illustrator files exported to TIFF, PSD, or JPEG are less than the full Illustrator file because they are no longer vectors and are far less editable than the full Illustrator file.
An Illustrator EPS file is the data in your file saved in three formats: A fully editable Illustrator file, a PostScript file giving output instructions to a printer, and a low resolution preview for viewing when imported into other programs. While the Illustrator file may be only 1.5 MB, the instructions to produce the PostScript code for the printer might be complex due to blends, gradients or gradient meshes, pattern swatches, symbols, placed raster art, or effects. If the file is physically large, then the lo-resolution preview can get massive as well. A 6 foot by 10 foot banner will need a preview that’s 44 MB, and that’s not even required for printing. It is qute possible for an Illustrator file that physically large to be only 1.5 MB.
EPS is a dying format. There is probably no reason for you to be saving your file as EPS. If you only need to use it in Illustrator then save as .AI with PDF compatibility turned off (this option appears after you slick Save). If you need to use the Illustrator file in another program, the save as .AI with PDF compatibility turned on.
Can you tell us why you are saving as EPS?
Sorry, I meant "Saved As" not Export. I have only been using the "Save As" command.
As for the file, there are no blends, gradients, meshes, swatches, symbols, raster art, or effects. The file was, however, a 3 foot by 7 foot banner created at actual size. But even when I reduced the size to 3 inches by 7 inches, it still ran extremely slow.
The only reason I'm saving to an EPS is because the print houses I send stuff to all request the EPS format. A lot of print houses are behind the times and I have to meet their requests.
BTW, thank you for the response.
Are there many transparent objects? EPS does not support transparency so everything transparent needs to go through the Flattener, which can be slow.
P.S. look for a print shop that will take PDF.