How to create an image with a transparent background in Photoshop

Tip by bikegypsy on February 18, 2018

A transparent background in an image is a characteristic that is useful for some web or print usage. They allow to use a logo, for instance, over a colored background.

This process usually involves designing the image in an other software such as Illustrator, but not always. The reason for this is that Illustrator is infinitely more powerful to created vector shapes, while Photoshop’s strengths lie in other areas. Having said this, the cross over between Photoshop and Illustrator is a normal part of the design process used by creators the world over. The exercise will involve the use of a logo created in Illustrator. Note that you can save a file directly as a PNG (therefore with a transparent background) in Illustrator, but the purpose of importing a vector file in Photoshop would be to include it in a large image or to apply some specific treatment.


1. Copy the image you want from Illustrator

2. Open Photoshop and open a new document by going to ‘File’ and choosing ‘New’ or using the shortcuts Command + N on a Mac and Control + N in Windows. This process will open the following panel.

3. In this panel, you must select the Transparent option in the Background Contents tab. Note that Photoshop automatically calculates the size of the document for you based on the size of the image copied from Illustrator.

4. Click ‘OK’.

5. The new Photoshop document will open with a transparent background recognizable by with white and grey checkered pattern.

6. Paste the image from Illustrator and press on Enter on your keyboard.

7. Our image is now on a transparent background and the last step is to save it. Note that an image with a transparent background is saved in only two formats: Photoshop’s own PSD, because of it capacity of having layers, and the infamous PNG format, the latter being the only format used for online purposes that is capable of have a transparent background.

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