How to Remove Background in Illustrator

how to remove background in illustrator

Adobe Illustrator and its sister tool Adobe Photoshop have been significant shareholders in creating some of the most impeccable designs in the marketing world. 

Adobe Illustrator, since its release 35 years ago, has been a famous drawing and graphic design tool in the computer industry. It is a must-have tool for those involved in designing typography, illustration, picture rework, or logos.

For the layman, you can put it as such – Adobe Illustrator is used by Virtual Artists, while graphic designers use Adobe Photoshop for photo modifications. 

While in Photoshop, there is a feature that lets you get rid of the background of any photo. But does Illustrator have this feature as well?

In this blog post, we will take you through the best ways to remove backgrounds in Illustrator while also learning a few new skills along the way.

Different Methods To Remove Background Image In Illustrator

While creating a graphic design program, Adobe Illustrator allows us to remove the background and make it transparent. Here are a few methods which designers at All Time Design stick through thick and thin,

How To Create a Transparent Background in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator, by default, creates a solid white artboard in the background. This is so that you can see your subject as a forefront object and helps you when creating an artwork. But what to do if, while saving the file, you do not want to have any backgrounds? 

The following guide will explain how to create transparent backgrounds in Illustrator.

Open a new file in Illustrator by clicking “create new” on the main drop down menu. 

Alternatively, you can open an existing file by going to File menu > open or drag and drop a file onto the workspace. 

Once you have your file on the artboard, enable the transparency grid. You can find this under the view tab at the top and select show transparency grid. It works if you see a white and gray grid in the background.

Now that you have a transparent background, you can start creating a design. 

After you have finished your design, save the changes with the correct file type so that the transparency remains in the final product. 

The final product will have a transparent background if saved to the correct file type. You can save the final design using the FileExport As menu. Some of the common file types that retain transparency are PNG, SVG, and TIFF file formats. 

Also, for a graphic designer, the best choice for creative projects such as logos or graphics is to convert them into vector objects.

How to Remove The White Background In Illustrator?

Vectors are the best file type when creating impeccable graphic design. Unlike a bitmap file, vectors are scalable, meaning the whole image doesn’t lose clarity even when you zoom in, especially true when working with complex images.

Thus, when creating a logo or other creative projects, save it as an EPS file. This will let you enlarge your ai file as much as you want.

Additionally, they are a quick way to remove the white background from Illustrator: the background is automatically transparent when you save an EPS file.

To save a file as an EPS,

Click the file option on the menu bar and select “save as.” In the final tab, choose Illustrator EPS and press the “save” option after deciding on your file location.

While saving, choose Tiff (8-bit color) option in the menu underneath the preview option in the EPS window. To get a transparent EPS file, you must ensure the background is Transparent, so click that and press OK.

Using Image Trace Tool To Remove Background In Illustrator 

Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based tool. These images are typically drawn by computer math and are sharper than regular images such as JPEGs. The best part is that these images do not get pixelated even when zoomed in. 

A remarkable feature of Illustrator is that it easily distinguishes the background from the subject. It is especially easy to remove the white backgrounds.

Choose an image file from your PC to your workspace. 

Convert the file into a vector by going to Windows > Image Trace panel in the menu bar. 

 how to remove background in adobe illustrator

Once in the image trace window, choose the “High Fidelity Photo” option for best results. You can also select one of the other two presets that best match your image. 

Then select the fill color. Go to the “mode” tab on the Image trace panel and choose the “color” option.

 how to remove background in illustrator cs6

Go to View > “Show Transparency Grid” or press Shift+Ctrl+D in Windows or Shift+Command+D in Mac. Doing this will reveal the checkerboard background, indicating the transparency. 

Click on the “Direct Selection Tool” (the arrow symbol) or the “Object,” and then click “Expand” in the dropdown menu. Doing so will bring the anchor points in your vector and convert them into a shape. 

 how to remove white background in illustrator live trace

Then right-click and choose ungroup option from the drop down menu.

how to remove background in illustrator 2022

Press the shift key and click, to select the background parts you want to remove. Then, press “Delete.” You might have to do this for each area. 

 how to remove a background in illustrator

Finally, export the file as a PNG file or EPS file. But, before saving, cross-check if you have checked the Background Transparent box.

Use Magic Wand Tool or Pen Tool To Remove background in Illustrator

The clipping mask method using the pen tool is another method in Adobe Illustrator to remove a background. 

Start a new project and drag your chosen image to the clipboard. 

Next, choose the pen tool and start to create an accurate shape around the region of the image you want to remove the background.

 how to remove white background in illustrator

Select the “Zoom Tool” to get a precise shape, or you can press “Z” or select the tool from the toolbar. 

Once you have decided on the portion you want to cut, select the pen tool from the toolbar. This tool lets you choose any object by producing a string of clicks. Each click helps you to create an anchor point. In this case, you select the object by moving orderly from the first anchor point and returning to it. Ultimately, you create an outline around the foreground object from these anchor points. Find the guide for how to crop in illustrator,

 how to remove transparent background in illustrator

In Illustrator, if you stay close to the edge as much as possible, Illustrator will help you correct your clicks for precision. For example, the tool automatically creates a curved line if you have a curve section between your anchor points.

 how to remove grid background in illustrator

To show all the objects, select the sub-selection tool. The outlined picture is now considered an object. Both the newly selected object and its background now have outlines that are selected and surround them. 

 how to remove background from picture in illustrator

Click on the foreground object > hold the shift key while clicking on the background. 

 how to remove an image background in illustrator

Now, right-click on the foreground object, and choose the “make a clipping mask” option to turn the background white. Now the section you selected using the pen tool is separated from the background. As a result, the final image will no longer have the background. Check out another guide for, how to make a transparent background in Illustrator.

 how to remove image background in illustrator

If you’d like to know more about the different methods of designing an Illustrator file, take a look here.


How to remove background in Adobe Illustrator?

Click the direct choice tool (arrow) or the item, then click on Expand from the dropdown menu. This will show the anchor factor in a Vector and convert it to a shape. Next, choose the part of the background you need to remove and press the Delete key.

Can I select multiple objects using a clipping mask tool?

If you try to utilize more than one object as a clipping mask, only the most recently produced object will function as a mask; the others will be disregarded. Therefore, to use those many objects as a mask, select all of them and then pick Compound Path > Make from the Object menu or press Command-8 for Mac and Ctrl-8 for Windows platforms.

How to export your vector as a PNG with a transparent background?

You can now export the vector to an opaque background. You just have to make sure that one set of PNG options has a good value for this. This is a close discussion. Alternatively, the PNG image with a transparent background will be located on the file name specified. Find the top difference and know when to use both software, Illustrator vs Photoshop.

Can I edit my outline after making a clipping mask?

Yes. Just equip the sub-selection tool and alter the anchor points along with your image.

We hope you find this useful. Have fun removing your backgrounds in Illustrator!
Check out the step-by-step guide for making a logo in Illustrator.

Bottom Line

These are some of the easiest methods for the question “How to remove background in illustrator?” These methods not only cut down your time but also help you in,

  • Focusing on the primary object 
  • Enhancing the image quality 
  • Easy creation of multi-layered diagrams
  • Making the entire image look clean 
  • Avoiding distractions

June 30, 2022
10 min read
10 reads

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