How to Make a Transparent Background in Illustrator

Backgrounds are an integral part of any Illustrator project. By default, the program saves your work with a white background, which may not always match your vision. You might decide to make it transparent, so how do you do that?

How to Make a Transparent Background in Illustrator

This article will reveal the answer. We’ll explain how to make Illustrator backgrounds transparent.

Illustrator: How to make an image background transparent

Illustrator is a user-friendly platform. Most features are easily accessible, including the option to make images have transparent backgrounds. Here are the steps.

  1. Open the image whose background you want to modify. If it’s an existing file, press “File,” find the desired image, and hit the “Open” button. If you want to use a new picture, go to the main menu and click New.
    Illustrator 1
  2. Navigate to the upper portion of the screen and tap the “View” button.
    Illustrator 2
  3. Scroll down until you find the “Show transparent grid” option. Click it and wait for the background to convert to an off-white grid.
    Illustrator 3
  4. Edit the image and add new elements if necessary.
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  5. Press the “File” button to save the picture, then press “Export” and “Export As”.
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  6. Select the desired format, such as TIFF, SVG, or PNG. Open the image to verify that the background is transparent.
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Illustrator: How to make a white background transparent

One of the most useful features of Illustrator is Image Trace, which offers a variety of functions. For example, you can use it to convert a raster image in JPEG, PSD, or PNG format to a vector image. Alternatively, it’s perfect for converting any drawing on paper, like a pencil sketch, into vector form.

But more importantly, the Trace feature lets you turn a white background into a transparent one. You shouldn’t have a hard time applying the function:

  1. Go to Illustrator and open the image.
    Illustrator 1
  2. If you’re a Windows user, press the Ctrl + Shift + D keyboard shortcut. If you’re running Illustrator on a Mac, use Cmd + Shift + D instead. This will display your transparency grid, allowing you to determine whether the image background is transparent or not.
    CTRL Shift D
  3. Hit the V button on your keyboard to activate your selection tool. You can now select an image using this function.
    V
  4. Go to the upper menu bar and press the “Window” button.
    Illustrator 8
  5. Browse the menu and select Image Tracking.
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  6. Change the “Mode” function from “White and Black” to “Color”.
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  7. Press the nearby triangle to access advanced settings.
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  8. Go to Options and select Ignore White.
    Illustrator 12
  9. Select “Trace” and you’re good to go. This function will turn the picture into your vector and get rid of your white background.
    Illustrator 13
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Illustrator: Make artboard background transparent

Contrary to popular belief, Illustrator always starts your project with a transparent background. Although it looks white on the artboard, it’s not actually there. Why it appears white is a mystery, but there is a way to ensure you get a transparent background after saving the file.

This is what you should do.

  1. Open Illustrator.
    Illustrator 14
  2. Create new images or add existing ones.
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  3. Go to the Properties panel.
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  4. Navigate to Rulers and Grids.
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  5. Click the prompt that allows you to make the background transparent.
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There are also several ways to ensure that your artboard background is transparent. The first requires you to use a keyboard shortcut.

  1. Start Illustrator and add the desired pictures.
    Illustrator 19
  2. If you are a Windows user, use the following key combination: Ctrl + Shift + D. Mac users need to press Command, Shift, and D.
    CTRL Shift D 1

Finally, you can use a handy feature in the “View” section.

  1. Go to illustrator.
    Illustrator 14
  2. Create a new image or open an existing file.
    Illustrator 15
  3. Go to View.
    Illustrator 2
  4. Press “Show Transparent Grid” and that’s it. You should now see that your artboard background is transparent.
    Illustrator 3

How to Make a Transparent Illustrator iPad Background

The iPad version of Illustrator is as intuitive as the PC instance. So you can apply the same method to make the white background transparent.

  1. Open Illustrator.
    How to Make Background Transparent Illustrator iPad 1
  2. Open your picture or create a new one.
    How to Make Background Transparent Illustrator iPad 2
  3. Go to the View panel and click the Show Transparent Grid button.
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  4. Highlight the image using the selection tool.
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  5. Go to the menu below the image and select the circle icon.
    How to Make Background Transparent Illustrator iPad 5
  6. Navigate to Color Mode, then select Color.
    How to Make Background Transparent Illustrator iPad 6
  7. Scroll down and check “Ignore white”.
    How to Make Background Transparent Illustrator iPad 7
  8. Wait until it’s done and your white background should be gone.
    How to Make Background Transparent Illustrator iPad 8

This process works for the most part, but some users have reported that after they press “Trace,” nothing happens on their iPad. Fortunately, the solution is simple. You need to save the image as a PNG file.

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Follow these steps:

  1. Open the desired picture.
    Trace 1
  2. Navigate to File and press Export.
  3. Select the option that allows you to export a file for the screen.
  4. Click on the Artboard button. If there are multiple artboards in the picture, please select the artboard you want to export.
    new 3
  5. Click “Format” and choose “PNG” as your format. “Scale” should be 1x.
    new1 1
  6. Select Add Scale and add more dimensions as needed.
  7. Navigate to “Background” and select “Transparent”.
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  8. Select “Export Artboard”, the background should be transparent after opening the PNG file.
    Trace 8

How to save a PDF with a transparent background in Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator enables you to use transparent backgrounds in almost any format, including PDF. But before exporting the file, you first need to make some adjustments to the image. Likewise, you can apply the “image tracking” method.

  1. Open Adobe Illustrator and find the image you want to edit or create a new picture.
    Illustrator 1
  2. Checks if the background is transparent. Press Command+Shift+D or Ctrl+Shift+D, depending on your platform. If everything works fine, you can skip the following steps. However, if the background is colored for some reason, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves a little more.
    CTRL Shift D 1
  3. Click the “V” button to activate your selection tool.
    V
  4. Hover over the upper menu and access the “Window” section.
    Illustrator 8
  5. Wait for the drop-down menu to pop up and select “Image Trace”.
    Illustrator 9
  6. Switch from Black & White to Color in the Mode tab.
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  7. Click on the triangle symbol to open advanced settings.
    Illustrator 11
  8. Check “Ignore White” and press “Trace” in the lower right corner of the window. Image Trace should now be active, converting your image to vector. By extension, this removes any color from your background to make it transparent.
    Illustrator 13 1

You can now export images to PDF without coloring the background.

  1. Click Export, and then click Export Screen.
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  2. Press the Artboards window in the next dialog and select the artboard you want to save.
    Illustrator 23
  3. Go to the right tab and navigate to the “Format” section.
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  4. Select “PDF” and press “Export Artboard”. If you are exporting a complex or large file, you may have to wait a few minutes.
    Illustrator 24 1
  5. Open the PDF in the target folder to check if the background is transparent.
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Alternatives to Online Tools

No other platforms are required to run when making backgrounds transparent in Adobe Illustrator. That said, the process can be time-consuming. You can speed it up with a free online tool called TinyWow.

TinyWow Background Remover

TinyWow is a beginner-friendly platform that lets you do various edits to your Illustrator images. Background removal is one of the most useful features. It only takes a few clicks.

  1. Fire up your browser and open the TinyWow website.
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  2. Press the “Image” section in the upper left corner of the display.
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  3. Select Image Background Remover.
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  4. Drag and drop an image into the appropriate field or upload a file from your device. Wait for the website to receive the image.
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  5. Click “Remove” and your picture will no longer have a background. Download the image and enjoy your new artboard.
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common problem

What are the benefits of making a transparent background in Adobe Illustrator?

You may wish to switch to transparent backgrounds in Illustrator for a number of reasons.

First, it lets you focus on a specific area of ​​the image. While it sounds counterintuitive, effective use of this technique can bring any design into the limelight. The method also guides your audience and puts the picture into different perspectives.

Transparency also improves readability. It helps when you can’t find an empty space to put your text. This way, there is no need to resize or edit the image itself.

Many also use transparent backgrounds to add depth. It helps to create multi-dimensional designs that make any project more attractive. This simple addition also allows you to add a unique touch to your photos. It can be contrasted with stunning colors for mesmerizing effect.

your masterpiece should be the focus

While colored backgrounds are sometimes welcome, they can draw too much attention. This is not what you want to achieve with your Illustrator artwork. Making the background transparent solves this problem. It tells your audience what to focus on, ensuring they are drawn to your artwork.

Do you prefer colored or transparent backgrounds in Adobe Illustrator? What’s your favorite way to make a background transparent? Do you use Illustrator on your PC, smartphone or tablet? Tell us in the comments section below.

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