How to Change the Background to Transparent in Illustrator?

How to Change the Background to Transparent in Illustrator?
Remove Background From Images For Free

Welcome to the vibrant universe of Adobe Illustrator, where creativity knows no bounds. But what if the default white background confines your artistic vision? Fear not; a journey begins to unravel the secrets of transparency in Illustrator. In this artistic adventure, we'll guide you through transforming your Illustrator backgrounds into captivating transparency. Illustrator, by default, wraps your creations in a familiar white embrace the artboard.

While it aids visibility, there's a moment when the allure of a transparent canvas beckons. Join us as we explore two simple methods, from the traditional to the nuanced, unlocking Illustrator's magic to breathe life into your backgrounds. Amidst this journey, meet, an enchanting tool powered by advanced AI that effortlessly removes backgrounds, leaving your subjects free to shine. Also, you can change your background per your needs and expectations on without Illustrator.

As you navigate Illustrator's world of transparency, let be your companion, ready to elevate your artistic endeavours and add a touch of magic to your creations. Unleash the potential of your art, where transparency becomes a brushstroke in your Illustrator canvas, creating a seamless enchantment.

What is a Transparent background in Illustrator?

In Illustrator, a transparent background refers to the absence of a solid color or visible background in an image or artwork. Instead of a distinct backdrop, the background becomes see-through, allowing anything behind it to show. This transparency is beneficial when you want your artwork to seamlessly integrate into various designs or settings without interfering with a solid color. 

Images with a transparent background are typically saved in file formats like PNG, preserving transparency and enabling versatility in design applications. The option for a transparent background provides flexibility for designers, allowing them to overlay images onto different backgrounds, experiment with layouts, and create visually appealing compositions without the limitations of a solid backdrop.

How To Make A Background Transparent In Illustrator?

Illustrator, with its user-friendly design, opens doors to easy image editing. One handy feature is the ability to make image backgrounds transparent. Let's walk through the steps in this straightforward guide.


1. Open Your Image:

Open Your Image

If you have an existing file, click "File," locate your picture, and press "Open."

Go to the main menu for a new image and click "Create New."

2. View Options:

Head to the upper part of the screen and click "View."

Head to the upper part of the screen and click "View."

3. Activate Transparency Grid:

Activate Transparency Grid

Scroll down until you find "Show Transparency Grid" and click it. Watch as the background transforms into a gray-and-white grid.

4. Edit if Needed:

Edit if Needed

Make any necessary edits or add new elements to your image.

5. Save Your Image:

Save Your Image

Press "File," then "Export," and choose "Export As."

Select your desired format, like TIFF, SVG, or PNG.

6. Verify Transparency:

Open the saved picture to ensure the background is now transparent.

Illustrator empowers you to create images with transparent backgrounds in just a few easy steps, offering a versatile canvas for your creative endeavours.

How to Make White Background Transparent in Illustrator?

Illustrator's Image Trace feature is a powerhouse, offering versatility from converting raster images to vector art to turning white backgrounds transparent. Let's delve into the straightforward steps to achieve this transformation effortlessly.


Open Your Image:

Launch Illustrator and open the image you want to work on.

Activate Transparency Grid:

For Windows, press Ctrl + Shift + D; for Mac, use Cmd + Shift + D. This reveals the transparency grid, showing if your background is transparent.

Select Your Image:

Press the "V" key for the Selection Tool. Now, you can easily choose your image.

Access Image Trace:

Go to the upper menu bar, click "Window," and choose "Image Trace."

Switch to Colored Mode:

Change the Mode from White and Black to Colored.

Access Advanced Settings:

Click the nearby triangle icon to reveal Advanced settings.

Ignore White:

In Options, select "Ignore White."

Trace and Transform:

Hit Trace, and voila! Watch your image transform into a vector, waving goodbye to the white background.

Illustrator becomes your artistic ally in these simple steps, seamlessly transforming white backgrounds into transparent canvases with the Image Trace magic.

Making Artboard Background Transparent in Illustrator

Contrary to appearances, Illustrator conceals a transparent background at the project's inception, masked by what seems like a white Artboard. Unraveling this mystery, here's how you can ensure a genuinely transparent background after saving your files.

Simple Steps:

Open Illustrator:

Launch Illustrator to embark on your transparency quest.

Add or Create an Image:

Add or Create an Image

Whether it's a new creation or an existing image, get it ready in Illustrator.

Access Properties Panel:

Access Properties Panel

Navigate to the Properties panel for essential settings.

Ruler and Grids:

Ruler and Grids

Within the Properties panel, find Ruler and Grids.

Turn Background Transparent:

Turn Background Transparent

Look for the prompt that enables you to turn the background transparent and click it.

Keyboard Shortcut:

Windows: Press Ctrl + Shift + D

Mac: Press Command + Shift + D

Procedure: After launching Illustrator and adding your desired image, use this keyboard shortcut to turn the Artboard background transparent swiftly. This quick maneuver ensures your canvas is free from any concealed backgrounds.

Transparent Grid View:


  • Launch Illustrator and either create a new image or open an existing file.
  • Navigate to the "View" section in the top menu.
  • Click on "Show Transparent Grid."

Explanation: This feature overlays a grid on your Artboard, making it easier to visualize transparency. When activated, you'll instantly notice the disappearance of any apparent background, confirming the transparency of your Artboard.

These additional methods provide alternative routes to achieving a transparent Artboard background in Illustrator. Whether you prefer swift keyboard shortcuts or visual aids like the transparent grid, Illustrator caters to diverse user preferences for a seamless and transparent design experience.

Creating a Transparent Background in Illustrator on iPad: A Comprehensive Guide

Illustrator on iPad mirrors the intuitive experience of its desktop counterpart. If you're aiming to make your white background transparent, follow these steps for a seamless design process.


Open Illustrator on iPad:

Launch the Illustrator app on your iPad.

Open or Create Your Image:

Either open an existing image or create a new one within the app.

Show Transparent Grid:

Head to the View panel and tap the "Show Transparent Grid" button. This provides a visual aid for your transparency adjustments.

Select Your Image:

Use the Selection Tool to highlight the image you want to work on.

Access Color Mode:

In the lower part of the screen, find the circle icon in the menu.

Navigate to Color mode and choose "Color."

Ignore White:

Scroll down and check the option for "Ignore White."

Trace and Remove Background:

Wait for the process to complete, and your white background should disappear.

Special Consideration for Some Cases:

Save as PNG:

  • If pressing "Trace" doesn't yield results, save your image as a PNG file.
  • Open the desired picture.
  • Navigate to File and press Export.
  • Choose the option for exporting the file for screens.
  • Hit the Artboards button, selecting the desired Artboard if there are multiple.
  • Tap Formats and choose PNG as the format with a Scale of 1x.
  • Add more sizes if needed and navigate to Background, choosing Transparent.
  • Select Export Artboard; your background should be transparent when opening the PNG file.

In this detailed guide, Illustrator on iPad is a versatile tool, ensuring your background becomes seamlessly transparent, even on the go.

Saving a PDF With a Transparent Background in Illustrator: A Step-by-Step Guide

Adobe Illustrator empowers users to incorporate a transparent background into various formats, including PDF. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you seamlessly achieve this, leveraging the versatile "Image Trace" method.


Open Adobe Illustrator:

Launch Adobe Illustrator and either open the image you want to edit or create a new one.

Check Background Transparency:

Press Command + Shift + D (Mac) or Ctrl + Shift + D (Windows) to check if the background is transparent. If yes, proceed; if colored, follow the next steps.

Activate Selection Tool:

Hit the "V" key to activate the Selection Tool.

Access Image Trace:

Hover over the upper menu, go to the Window section, and choose "Image Trace."

Switch to Colored Mode:

In the Image Trace window, switch from Black & White to Colored in the Mode tab.

Advanced Settings:

Click the triangle symbol to open Advanced Settings.

Check "Ignore White" and press Trace in the lower-right corner. This activates Image Trace, removing color from the background, rendering it transparent.

Export to PDF:

Now, you can export the image to PDF without coloring the background.

Click Export, followed by Export for Screens.

In the Artboards window, select the desired Artboards.

Navigate to the Format section, choose PDF, and press Export Artboards.

Verify Transparent Background:

Open the exported PDF in the destination folder to ensure the background is transparent.

In these simple yet meticulous steps, Illustrator empowers you to save a PDF with a transparent background, elevating the visual appeal and versatility of your designs.

Alternative Online Tool for Changing Background

While stands as a frontrunner in background removal and change, several alternative online tools offer diverse features to cater to specific design needs. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into a curated list of tools, each bringing its unique strengths to the table.

From simplicity to precision, discover the options that align with your design preferences. Uncover the potential of these alternatives, ensuring you have the right tool for any background transformation task. Let's embark on a journey through the realm of online design tools, exploring the alternatives that complement and enhance your creative endeavours. - Change Background:

Home Page of is a leading online tool for background removal and change. Its intuitive interface and advanced algorithms allow users to replace backgrounds with just a few clicks effortlessly. The tool ensures a smooth transition from any background to a transparent or new setting, offering speed and precision. - Effortless Background Removal:

Home Page of simplifies the background removal process with AI technology. Users can easily cut out subjects from images, making it a handy tool for various design and editing needs. The tool provides clean and precise cutouts, enhancing the overall visual appeal.

Canva - Versatile Design Platform:

Home Page of Canva

Canva offers a broad range of design features and includes a user-friendly background removal tool. With Canva, users can change backgrounds seamlessly, adding a creative touch to their designs. The platform's extensive library of templates and elements enhances its appeal for both professionals and beginners.

Clipping Magic - Precise Background Editing:

Home Page of

Clipping Magic specializes in precise background removal and editing. Its intelligent algorithms make it easy to create clean, professional cutouts. The tool is known for its accuracy in handling intricate details, allowing users to tailor backgrounds to their preferences. It's a valuable asset for graphic designers and photographers.

Fotor - All-in-One Photo Editing:

Home Page of

Fotor, a comprehensive online photo editing tool, features a background removal option. Users can change backgrounds effortlessly, adding versatility to their images. Fotor's user-friendly interface and diverse editing capabilities make it a popular choice for those seeking an all-in-one solution for their design and photography projects.

Why do you need a transparent background?

In graphic design, a transparent background is more than just a visual element; it's a potent tool to elevate your creations. This seemingly simple feature holds immense value, offering endless creative possibilities.

Why Opt for a Transparent Background?

Focus Enhancement:

Use transparency strategically to spotlight specific areas of your design, guiding the viewer's attention and adding perspective.

Readability Boost:

Improve readability by placing text on a transparent background when the existing design may hinder text legibility. Ideal for marketing and PR materials.

Depth and Dimension:

Elevate your design's visual appeal by layering elements on a transparent background, creating a multi-dimensional effect.

Unique Aesthetic:

Experiment with transparent overlays to impart a distinct and cleaner look to your design, without removing essential elements.

Design Tips for Transparent Backgrounds:

Selective Emphasis:

Utilize transparency to selectively emphasize key elements, steering attention and enhancing overall design impact.

Strategic Readability:

Employ transparent backgrounds to facilitate clear text placement, ensuring readability without compromising design aesthetics.

Layered Depth:

Create intricate designs by layering elements on transparent backgrounds, adding depth and complexity for a visually engaging result.

Aesthetic Innovation:

Break away from conventional design norms by integrating transparent backgrounds for a unique and refreshing aesthetic.

Incorporating transparent backgrounds into your design arsenal opens doors to a myriad of creative solutions. Whether you seek focus, readability, depth, or a distinctive look, harnessing the power of transparency can transform your design endeavours. Visit our Academy for expert insights and free marketing design courses to refine your skills further. Unleash your design potential today!


The versatility of transparent backgrounds proves indispensable in graphic design, offering focus, readability, depth, and aesthetic innovation. Embrace the power of transparency to elevate your designs and captivate your audience.


Can I add transparency to any image in graphic design?

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Yes, most graphic design tools allow you to create a transparent background, enhancing flexibility in design.

How does a transparent background enhance readability in marketing materials?

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Placing text on a transparent background ensures optimal contrast and readability, especially when integrating with diverse designs.

Are there specific design scenarios where layered depth with transparency is recommended?

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Yes, layering elements on a transparent background is ideal for creating multi-dimensional designs, adding depth and complexity.

Can transparent backgrounds be used for both emphasis and subtlety in design?

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Absolutely, transparent backgrounds offer versatility, allowing designers to either spotlight specific areas or subtly enhance overall aesthetics.

Do transparent overlays work with various colored transparencies for different visual effects?

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Yes, experimenting with different colored transparencies provides designers with various visual effects and unique design aesthetics.

How can transparent backgrounds contribute to a cleaner and distinct design aesthetic?

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Adding a white transparency layer to a design imparts a cleaner look without removing essential elements, offering a distinct and polished aesthetic.

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