How do you make a transparent image?

Below is a listing of different programs and how to create transparent images in each of these programs. Before continuing with the steps below, realize that when creating a transparent image, you need to save the image as a GIF image and not a JPEG image. Also, if the program you're using also supports both GIF 87a and GIF 89a, you'll need to save the file as a GIF 89a in order to create transparent images.

Adobe Photoshop

  1. Photoshop magic eraserOpen Adobe Photoshop and create a new file or open an existing file you want to create transparency on. If a new file, make sure the mode is anything but Bitmap.
  2. Select the Magic Eraser, as shown in the image to the right.
  3. Once this tool has been selected, click on the portion of the image you want to make transparent. For example, click on the background if you want the background of the image to be transparent.

TipIf you're noticing that the edges of the non-transparent portion of the image are not clean, in the Magic Eraser Options, increase the Tolerance.

  1. After you've got the transparent background how you want it, click Image > Mode, and select Indexed Color. Change any settings you may want in the Indexed Color window and click Ok.
  2. Finally, once the above has been completed, save the image as a .gif image. For example, save the picture as mypicture.gif.

GIMP

  1. Open GIMP and create a new file or open an existing file you want to create transparency on.
  2. Select the "Selects regions by color" tool or press Shift + O. Once selected, click the portion of the image you want to be transparent. For example, click on the white background of an image.

Tip:If you want to not have borders around the non-transparent portions of the image, you need to increase the Threshold by dragging the slider to the right.

  1. Once the area you want to make transparent is selected, click Layer > Transparency, then select Add Alpha Channel.
  2. Click Edit and then select Clear or press Ctrl + K. The selected portion should now appear as a checkered background indicating it is transparent.
  3. After you've got the transparent background how you want it, click Image > Mode > Indexed. In the Indexed Color conversion box, change any settings you want and click Ok.
  4. Finally, once the above has been completed, export the image as a .gif image. For example, export it and name it mypicture.gif.

Microsoft Paint (MSPaint)

The Microsoft Paint program that is included with Microsoft Windows does not support transparent images, even if you're working with a GIF image that already has transparent properties. If you need to create or modify images with a transparent background, we suggest trying one of the above programs.

Additional information

  • See the transparent definition for further information and related links.