How to Remove Background and Make It Transparent in Illustrator for Beginners

March 18, 2022Ashley Mae

Illustrator, which is released by Adobe, is a software program used to make illustrations, drawings, and creating artwork on Windows or Mac. Now, it is a part of Adobe Creative Cloud, but you can subscribe to the software independently. Being a designer, you must understand how to work with the software properly. For example, Illustrator does not offer the option to set an image background color. This guide will show you how to make a background transparent in Illustrator properly.

Illustrator Transparent Background

Part 1: How to Make Background Transparent with Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is a powerful graphic application. It comes with a wonderful feature called Image Trace, which enables you to turn images into vectors so that you can remove the white background in Illustrator smoothly.

Step 1:
First of all, open the image that you want to make a background transparent in Illustrator.
Step 2:
Press keys on PC or Cmd + Shift + D keys on Mac at the same time. This key combination will display the transparency grid. You can also enable it by selecting Show Transparency Grid in the View menu. With it, you can learn if your image background is transparent or not.
Illustrator Transparancey Grid
Step 3:
Click the Selection Tool on the toolbox or press V key on your keyboard, and select the image on the artboard.
Step 4:
Go to the Window menu on the top menu bar, and choose Image Trace to trigger the Image Trace panel.
Illustrator Image Trace
Step 5:
Next, leave the Preset setting to default since it changes automatically according to your modification. If you want to do other changes, select Custom. Select Tracing Result in the View option to preview the result. Pull down the Mode option, and switch from Black and White to Color.
Step 6:
Expand the Advanced settings by hitting the triangle icon. Make sure to check Ignore White in the Options section.
Step 7:
Once you hit the Trace button on the Image Trace panel, the image will turn to a vector and make background transparent in Illustrator immediately. You can view the result in the main panel.

Search for files and folders related to Photoshop, and move them to the Trash folder.

Step 8:
The last but not least step is exporting the image in PNG. Go to the File menu from the top menu bar, click Export, and choose Export As. Choose PNG from the Save as type menu, and hit Export.
Illustrator Export Transparent
Step 9:
On the popup dialog, pull down the Background Color in the Preview section, and choose Transparent. Click the OK button to confirm it.

Note: In addition to PNG, there are a few image formats that maintain a transparency background in Illustrator, such as SVG and TIFF. Moreover, you can create an image with transparent background in the graphic editing software.

Part 2: Best Alternative to Illustrator for Transparent Background

Illustrator is just one way to make the background transparent, but not the only option. It is expensive and costs $29.99 per month. Moreover, the learning curve is not intuitive. In one word, Illustrator is not a good idea to make the image background transparent if you do not have it on your desktop.

How to Remove Background with Illustrator Alternative

Step 1:
Fire up a web browser, enter and press the Enter key on your keyboard to access the web page.
Step 2:
Click the Upload Portrait button to get the open-file dialog, find and select the target image on your hard drive, and open it. The web app supports JPG, JPEG, PNG, and GIF.

Tip: Although there is no file size limit, it takes a while to upload a large image. It is also determined by your internet connection.

Home Page
Step 3:
After uploading, you will be presented background remover app displaying the original picture and the result. You can use the brush tool to draw on the original image and refine the edges.
Transparent Logo
Step 4:
Optionally, you can go to the Edit tab from the left sidebar, and get the bonus tools, such as cropping the image, changing the background color, and more.
Step 5:
When you are done background removal in Illustrator alternative, click the Download button to get the result. The web app saves the image in PNG format while keeping the transparency automatically.
Black Ground

Part 3: FAQs about Illustrator Transparent Background

What image formats support transparent background?

If you intend to make an image background transparent, you have to use a few specific formats, such as GIF, PNG, WebP, BMP, TIFF, and JPEG 2000. For various practical reasons, the last three are not generally used.

Why my Illustrator cannot save transparent background?

It is not very difficult to make a transparent background in Illustrator; however, the export process is very important to save the result correctly. You must save the image in PNG or other formats supported transparency. Plus, make sure to switch Background Color to Transparent on the PNG Options dialog.

How to change the background color of your artboard in Illustrator?

By default, Illustrator opens with a white artboard, but the background is transparent. White color is used to indicate the space. There is no way to directly change the color of the artboard.


Now, you should understand how to make an image background transparent with Adobe Illustrator. Sometimes, you have to remove the background of a logo, an image, or a portrait. If you already have Illustrator on your computer, it can meet your need directly following our guide. Aiseesoft Free Background Remover Online, on the other hand, is the best alternative solution to get the same result online for free. More questions? Please feel free to contact us by leaving a message below this post.

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