Illustrator is used for several tasks that would include removing backgrounds. Learning how to make a white background transparent in Illustrator is a basic and very important task. There are cases where you need an image that is displayed without a background. You may also need the image to adapt to whatever background it is placed on, so it is important to save it with a transparent background.
Images can have transparent backgrounds, however, the file type that they are saved as will decide if the transparent background will show in certain applications. An image may have been created to have a transparent background; however, if it was saved as a JPEG or other file type, the transparent background may not show. But, if the image is saved as a PNG, the transparent background will appear in certain applications like browsers, graphic software, etc.
How to make a White Background Transparent in Illustrator
This article will show you how to take an image with a white background and make that background transparent. You will also learn how to save the image in a way that will preserve the transparent background. Illustrator also naturally has a white background, so even if the image has a transparent background, it will show white in Illustrator.
- Open and prepare Illustrator
- Place the image in Illustrator
- Make the background transparent
- Save as a PNG file format
- Making Illustrator background transparent instead of white
1] Open and prepare Illustrator
To open Illustrator find the icon and double-click. Illustrator will open and there you can create a new document.
To create the new document to go the top menu bar and click File then New or press Ctrl + N.
The new document options window will appear, choose the options that you want for your new document and then click Ok.
You will notice that the new document has a white background. If you place an image that is PNG with a transparent background. The image will show a white background. If you place an image with its own background, it will cover the white document background. Continue reading to learn how to make the background transparent in both cases.
2] Place the image in Illustrator
You can get the image into Illustrator by opening Illustrator and creating a new document as described above. You can then find the image and drag it onto the new document you created. You can also get the image into Illustrator by going to the top menu in Illustrator and clicking File then Open or Ctrl + O, then searching for the image and selecting it then pressing Open. Another way to get the image into Illustrator is to find the image on your device then right-click on it and select Open with then Adobe Illustrator (version).
Depending on the size of the image, it may fit in the space of the document canvas or it will cover it completely. You will have to resize the image to fit the new document canvas.
This is the image on the canvas, you will notice that the image is larger than the canvas. The square in the middle is the canvas, you will need to resize the image to fit the canvas. Grab any of the corner handles, and hold Shift + Alt while resizing the image to fit the canvas. This image was a JPEG image so it already had a white background.
This is the image resized to fit onto the canvas.
This other image on the canvas is a PNG image. PNG images have transparent backgrounds naturally, however, the background will be white when placed in Illustrator.
3] Make the background transparent
Making JPEG and other file formats have a transparent background
JPEG and other file types will automatically display a white background around the subject if they are not given a color background. When they are placed in Illustrator they will still have that white background. In this case, you will need to remove the white background. This article will show you how to remove the background. When the background is removed, you can then export the image as a PNG. Saving the file as a PNG will preserve the transparent background in most apps.
Making PNG file formats have a transparent background
Images with PNG file format have a transparent background. The transparent background will not show in some apps even in Illustrator. This means you will have to make the white background transparent in Illustrator.
Since the PNG already has a transparent background, you would just need to make it show up in Illustrator. This means you would have to enable the transparent background of Illustrator. The above image is a PNG image and it has a transparent background, however, the background will become white in Illustrator.
To make the white background transparent go to the top menu bar and click View then Show transparency grid or press Shift + Ctrl + D.
This is how the image will look when there is no background in Illustrator. Since the image is a PNG with no background then it blends in with the transparency in Illustrator. If the image had a natural white background like a JPEG image, the background would still show even with the transparent background enabled in Illustrator.
This is a JPEG image in Illustrator, the background is still white even with transparency enabled in Illustrator.
This is the image where the background is removed using one of the methods described in step three. Notice that the image’s transparent background now blends in with the transparent background of Illustrator.
4] Save as a PNG file format
If you had to remove a white background to make the background transparent in Illustrator, you will need to save the image in a format that will preserve the transparent background. You would need to export the image as a PNG.
To export the image as a PNG go to the top menu bar and click File then Export.
The export window will appear, give the file a name, choose a save location, choose PNG as the file format, and click Use Artboard at the bottom of the window.
The PNG option window will appear, here you will choose the options that you want for your PNG then press Ok to save the file.
5] Making Illustrator background transparent instead of white
By default when you open Illustrator, the background of the blank document is white. Whatever image is placed on the document will go on a white background. If you place a PNG image that has a transparent background, it will have the white background take the place of the transparent background. You can make your illustrator document have a transparent background instead of a white background.
To do this you need to go to the top menu bar and press View then Show transparency Grid or press Shift + Ctrl + D. Illustrator will now have a transparent background. This will make PNG images have a transparent background when they are placed in Illustrator. Note however that images with white or other color backgrounds will not automatically have a transparent background. You will have to remove their backgrounds.
Why does my transparent background turn white?
If you save an image that has a transparent background as a JPEG, it will automatically get a white background in the output. To keep the image with the background transparent, you will need to export it from Illustrator as a PNG file. To save it as a PNG file go to File then Export then choose PNG as the file format and press OK. The PNG options window will appear, choose the options that you want then press ok. When you view the image in Picture Viewer, you will see the background is transparent or dark. However, in most apps, it will be transparent.
Why doesn’t my PNG have a transparent background?
The PNG file format is best for images that you want to have a transparent background. If you have an image that already has no background and you want to keep it that way, save it as a PNG. If you have a PNG image in Illustrator and you want it to have a white background, export it as a JPEG.