How to Remove Backgrounds in Illustrator? (Simple Methods)

Have you ever felt extremely frustrated when you find the perfect image, but the background of that image is killing the whole vibe? It surely can be a bummer. But how about we tell you there is a way around it?

Honestly, removing the background from an image can be done seamlessly with the help of Adobe Illustrator. In this guide, we will guide you on how to do so.

How to Remove Backgrounds in Illustrator?

Adobe Illustrator has been the industry's favourite vector drawing application for 35 years. Removing backgrounds in Illustrator is an essential skill to learn if you want to create professional-looking artwork. Adobe Illustrator is a must-have for people involved in illustrations, graphic designing or typography.

Here are a couple of methods to use Adobe Illustrator to remove the background from an image.

Method 1: Use A Clipping Mask Method to Remove Background in Illustrator

Step 1 - Go to Illustrator and open your image in Adobe Illustrator. To do so, you need to click on File from the menu at the top and then click on Open or Place to insert the image.

insert an image in photoshop

Step 2 - Now, zoom in on your image using the icon that resembles a magnifying glass in the toolbar. You can also do so by pressing Z. After that, create a precise outline around the part you don’t wish to remove.

magnifying glass in the toolbar in photoshop

Step 3 - After creating a boundary, the next step is to select the icon that looks like a fountain pen, or you could press P. It will help you with creating shapes or outlines with multiple clicks. Every time your click drops, an anchor point gets created, and as you keep creating more of such anchor points, a line will appear that will connect new points to the old ones.

selecting fountain pen

Step 4 - Now, click on the edge of your foreground subject. In this step, the end goal is to cover up the foreground subject.

selecting image with fountain pen

Step 5 - Click some other spot along the border of your foreground subject. This step places anchor points along the border of your subject and you will have to trace it well from one anchor point to another.

spot the border with foreground subject

Step 6 - Make the most out of the Pen tool to trace your foreground subject. The clicking technique works best to create lines and anchor points. Or, you could use the clicking and dragging method to create curved lines for an outline around your subject.

If you wish the off-screen areas to be more visible, press the Spacebar. This way, the image will move. It can be helpful if you are zoomed out into the image and cannot see it correctly. 

And if there are coloured spaces in the image, you must click on the coloured square in the top-left corner. After that, select the white swatch to turn off the colour fill.

selecting top left corner

Step 7 -Once done, select the initial anchor point to complete the border, and the dotted line surrounds your object.

selecting all dotted line

Step 8 - Now that your object is completely outlined, pick the sub-selection tool to adjust the border around your subject and then click on the icon that looks like a cursor or press A instead. 

Eventually, use the sub-selection tool to move the anchor points in the border, and when you click on any anchor point, you will notice two lines with dots from the anchor point. After that, click and drag this with the sub-selection tool to set the curve of your lines.

curveing line

Step 9 -The next step is to use the Select tool and move the objects. To do so, select the icon that looks like a black cursor or press V.

Select tool from pointer

Step 10 - After this, you need to select the image and the border around your subject, press Shift, click on the image, and click on the outline using the Pen tool. 

After that, right-click on your border and pick the Create Clipping Mask option. It will remove the background. 

Create Clipping Mask option

Let us look at the second method of removing the background using Adobe Illustrator.

Method 2: Use Image Trace Method to Remove Background In Illustrator

The below-given steps are yet another method of removing a background from an image using Adobe Illustrator. But before doing so, ensure that the Image Trace feature will work with your image because it only works with images with less solid colors.

In case your image meets the above-stated criteria, here is what you need to do to remove the background from your image using Adobe Illustrator:

Step 1 - Launch Adobe Illustrator and click on the File menu at the top. Then, click on Open to open your image or use Place to insert the image in an already open file and then click on Open again.

insert the image in Ai

Step 2 - Now, click on the Select tool, it might look like a black cursor, or you could also press V. After that, select your image by clicking on the artboard.

click on the Select tool

Step 3 - Head to the Image Trace panel. Then, follow these steps: For Illustrator CC: Click on Window and then on Image Trace. For Older Versions: Click on an object and then on Live Trace. Then, select Tracing Options.

select Tracing Options

Step 4 - After this, click on Mode, and a drop-down menu will appear, there click on Colors.

click on Mode, and a drop-down menu

Step 5 - Select the slide bar next to Colors to set the maximum number of colors in the space. If your image has many colors, the process might take some time, or your system might not be able to convert every colour into a vector.

convert into vector

Step 6 - Select Trace from the bottom-right corner. It will scan the image and form borders that can be converted into vectors.

Select Trace from the bottom-right corner

Step 7 - From the top of the screen, select Expand. This will help convert your image into vectors, and you will spot outlines around the different colors in your image. You can also do so by using the Select tool.

select Expand

Step 8 - Now that the vectors are formed, the next step is to ungroup them. To do so, select the image and then use the Select Tool. Then, click on the Object and then select Ungroup.

vector ungroup

Step 9 - Use the Select tool or press V and select an object in the background. Then, press the Delete key to remove the Object. If your background is of a solid colour, click on the background and hit the Delete key.

Delete key to remove the Object

And you are all set!

How To Save Image After Removing Background With Adobe Illustrator?

Saving an image after editing the background is very easy with Adobe Illustrator. Stick to the below-given steps to do so:

Step 1 Go to Files and then click on Save As.

Step 2 Now, type the file's name in the File name section and use the drop-down menu to pick the image format.

Step 3 Click on Save, and you are all set. PS: You can save an image as an AI file, PDF, EPS, PNG, JPG, JPEG, or SVG with Illustrator. 

Well, that was all about removing the background using Adobe Illustrator. But did you know you could refrain from this hassle of removing the background from an image using

Remove Background From PNG, JPG, JPEG and WebP Images with

While the above methods were limited to removing background from PDF files, you can use to remove background from PNG, JPG, JPEG, and WebP images. 

To remove background from these formats, you must either access through the website or download the Application from the App Store (for iOS users) or Google Play Store (for Android users)

Here's how you can remove background from WebP, PNG, JPG and JPEG images using

Step 1 - Click on the dialogue box that reads "Upload Image," or drag and drop the image on the page.

1st Step to Upload image

Step 2 - A message will appear on the screen that says, "Uploading image, please wait…" and during this time, Erase. bg's AI will perform its wonders to remove the background from the image of your choice.

2nd Step to Processing Image

Step 3 - If you want to remove something or edit the image, you will see an Edit option on the top right corner of the Background Removed image.

3rd Step to Edit button if you wish to erase anything

Step 4 - Download the image in your chosen format to your preferred destination.

Last Step to Download image without Background

Wasn't that too quick and easy?


Here, we have listed some of the commonly asked questions from the community. If you do not find the information you need, feel free to reach out to us at

How to erase specific colours in Illustrator?

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In order to remove some specific colours in Illustrator, here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Launch Illustrator and open your File.

Step 2: Select the object that has colours that you wish to erase and then click on the Select menu.

Step 3: In the Select menu, pick the Same and then Fill Color. 

Step 4: Now, click on the Window menu and select Color again. A window will pop-up showing the colour you picked. 

Step 5: Select None and the Illustrator will erase the colours you picked.

How do I make a white background transparent in Illustrator?

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In order to make a white background transparent in Illustrator, here is what you must follow:

Step 1: Launch Adobe Illustrator and press be Illustrator. On your keyboard, press Ctrl + Shift + D on Windows or Cmd + Shift + D on Mac.

Step 2: Pick the image on the artboard using the Selection Tool. You can also do this by pressing V.

Step 3: Now, click on Window and a dropdown menu will show up. From that dropdown menu, select Image Trace.

Step 4: In the Image Trace Menu, switch the Mode from Black and White to Colored.

Step 5: The next step is to open Advanced Settings by hitting the triangle next to it and then head to Options and tick Ignore White.

Step 6: Now, click on Trace and you are good to go!

How to cut part of an Image in Adobe Illustrator?

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There are a lot of ways to cut part of an image in Adobe Illustrator. One of them is explained below:

Step 1: Go to Adobe Illustrator and click on the image. When you do so, you will see a Crop Image option in the Properties Panel.

Step 2: Select the Crop Image option and you will spot a crop frame around your image. You can move it and reposition it as per your liking.

Step 3: Click on Apply and you are all set!

PS: In case you do not want any background on the image, you can use the Pen Tool to cut that part out.

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Remove Background From Any Platform can be accessed on multiple platforms like Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.

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