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. Finally, 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 support 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, the background if you wanted the background of the image to be transparent. If you're noticing that the edges of the non-transparent portion of the image is not clean in the Magic Eraser Options increase the Tolerance.
  4. After you've got the transparent background you want click Image, Mode, and selected Indexed Color. Change any settings you may want in the Indexed Color window and click Ok.
  5. Finally, once the above has been completed save the image as a .gif image for example mypicture.gif.

The GIMP

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

Microsoft Paint (MSPaint)

The Microsoft Paint 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.