Art & Design Graphic Design

Transparent Background in Adobe Illustrator

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You have just created the perfect logo. Then you drop it into InDesign only to realize that it has a white background. You thought you saved it in the correct format, so what did you do wrong? I’ll walk you through how to make an image in Adobe Illustrator with a transparent background.

Step 1

Go to the Document Setup under the “File” menu. Now you’ll be able to see all the document properties.


Step 2

Make sure that “Transparency” is selected as the background and not “Artboard.” Artboard will give you a white background.


Step 3

Select the transparency preferences you prefer. I usually stick to the default options on this.


Step 4

Choose Export under the “File” menu.

Step 5

Save the file as a PNG.

Step 6

Select your PNG options. You can use the default options as well.

Step 7

You now have a finished image with a transparent background.


Now you’ve created a transparent background for your image using Adobe Illustrator! It’s saved in the correct file format using the right settings! Test your image out in your next big InDesign concept!

Click here if you are interested in learning more about the Adobe Creative Cloud. There are also discounts for students, teachers, etc!

More Adobe posts:

The Pen Tool: Adobe Illustrator

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Quick Adobe Photoshop Hacks


      1. no. it doesn’t work
        there is no chance to select “Transparency” in the “Document Setup”

  1. Your illustrations do not agree with Illustrator 2020. There is no way to change Artboard that I can see.

          1. Thanks indeed, this worked… in fact, neither your original article, neither the video gave me the exact command I needed — it seems that Adobe is making that ‘transparent’ option harder and harder to find — but you pointed me into the right direction: what (and possibly where) to search for an option that changes the background to transparent.

            I’m sure I’ll be back to this article in 3-4 years when Adobe changes the many menu options again, and I’ll be furiously typing on Google adobe illustrator make background transparent over and over again…


  2. I use Windows 10 and there is not the option between artboard or transparency.
    When I save, the option tranparency is there, but it is grayed out.
    I need high resolution too, so .png is not an option.

  3. Hi Kelcy! I’ve only used Illustrator for a few months and I’m still very unexperienced with it so thank you for sharing this tutorial – it already helped me a lot!
    But I still have one question.
    Just like Dean I have a vector file that needs a transparent background. If I put the resolution in the png settings to the highest, is it still a vector file?
    If not, is there any way to save a vector file with a transparent background?

    1. Hi Lena,
      I’m glad the tutorial was helpful.
      If you change the resolution it will still be a vector file. Vector means that it is scalable to any size as opposed to bitmap, which is not scalable.

  4. Thank you for your post, Kelcy!
    I’m not the kind of person who can learn from doing courses or reading a manual – this is very helpful to me

  5. I must be missing a step. I don’t have the option to select ‘transparent instead of artboard’
    When i click on Document Set up I get three sections.
    On your screen shot there is a section with transparency at the top left. I don’t have that functionality.
    Bleed and View options
    Transparency (in this section I have Grid size, Grid colours, Simulate coloured paper
    Preset (medium resolution) Custom
    and three boxes. White grey and the transparent grid. I tried to click on the transparent grid without success.
    Type options

    Could it be because my illustrator is quite old?

  6. I chose an AI file (vector graphic) so that it would be scalable to any size. If I follow this method I end up with a PNG file with limited pixels per inch resolution. Is there a way to get the transparent background but with I higher pixel count?

    1. Hi Dean,
      See step 6. When you choose your PNG options, make sure you choose” high resolution (300 ppi)”. You can also choose a custom ppi resolution.

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