How to Remove the White Background of a .jpeg Image in Illustrator

Updated on June 25, 2019
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Forest and Ance both work with a variety of software and enjoy sharing program techniques and insights with others.

Images with white backgrounds don't incorporate well into presentations, documents, or other media. Learn how to remove the white background of a .jpeg image using the tools in Adobe Illustrator.
Images with white backgrounds don't incorporate well into presentations, documents, or other media. Learn how to remove the white background of a .jpeg image using the tools in Adobe Illustrator. | Source

How to Make a White Background Transparent

I was recently confronted with the simple problem of removing a white background from a .jpeg image for some web development work I was doing. While I know how to do this in Photoshop, I wanted find a way to do it in Adobe Illustrator so I could keep my workflow confined to a single program.

There are many methods for removing backgrounds from images, and this method is just one that you can apply within Illustrator. This method is effective for simple .jpeg images, but less so for photographs. If you have a photograph that you want to remove a background from, you may want to check out this video.

This is the sample .jpeg image I'll be using to demonstrate the process for the purposes of this article.
This is the sample .jpeg image I'll be using to demonstrate the process for the purposes of this article. | Source

A Note About This Method

This technique involves utilizing the automatic tracing tool with abutting, which creates an artwork outline. Therefore, this process works best with simple images that have a white background.

1. Open Your .jpeg File in Adobe Illustrator

  • Open Illustrator.
  • Select File then Open and locate your .jpeg file.

Open the image file you would like to remove the background from.
Open the image file you would like to remove the background from.

2. Activate the Transparency Grid

To make it easier to see if you're actually making the background of your .jpeg transparent, do the following:

  • Select View then Show Transparency Grid.

The transparency grid will allow you to see which areas of your image are actually transparent as opposed to white.
The transparency grid will allow you to see which areas of your image are actually transparent as opposed to white. | Source

3. Prepare to Trace Your Image

You will now need to open up a trace window to do your work.

  • Select Window then Image Trace.

The image trace tool can help you isolate the subject of your image from its white background.
The image trace tool can help you isolate the subject of your image from its white background. | Source

4. Set Your Tracing Settings

To create a trace that will remove the white background from your .jpeg, choose the following settings in your trace window:

  • Preset: Leave Default (this may change as you make changes to other settings).
  • View: Select Tracing Result.
  • Mode: Select Color.
  • Palette: Select Full Tone.
  • Advanced: Expand to show Advanced Settings and leave all options on their default settings except Method. Change method to Abutting (left icon).
  • Options: Check Snap Curves To Lines and Ignore White.
  • Select Trace.

Note: You may check Preview before tracing to see how changing each setting will affect your image.

Be sure to choose the correct settings before tracing your image.
Be sure to choose the correct settings before tracing your image. | Source

5. Review Your Image and Save

You should now have an image with a transparent background. To save your background-free image, do one of the following:

  • Export the file as a .png by selecting File then Save As. Choose the .png suffix in the save window.
  • Select File then Save for Web to save the file in .png format.

Note: Other file formats that support transparent backgrounds include .gif, .bmp, and .tiff.

Be sure not to save your image as a .jpeg. That will give it a brand new white background once it is exported!
Be sure not to save your image as a .jpeg. That will give it a brand new white background once it is exported! | Source

Say Goodbye to the Background!

All non-rectangular .jpeg images have a background color—usually white. When using these images on documents, web pages, or presentations that do not have white backgrounds themselves, these can be pesky, distracting, and downright unprofessional. I hope this guide has helped you in modifying your .jpeg images so that they can add to, rather than detract from, the quality of your media.

Questions & Answers

    Got other methods or questions?

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      • profile image

        McKenna 

        8 weeks ago

        SO helpful!!!

      • profile image

        Amir Ghafari 

        10 months ago

        tank u so much

      • profile image

        Jojo 

        11 months ago

        Thank you soooooo much!!! :)

      • profile image

        Erica 

        16 months ago

        I'm still having some trouble because my logo has white in it so the trace is detecting the white and when the trace is complete there is a line going straight down the middle of where the white is in the logo. Any suggestions on how to adjust the trace parapmeters so it doesn't detect the white in the logo?

      • profile image

        Erin Riley 

        17 months ago

        You are a badass! Thank you so much!!!

      • profile image

        ricben 

        17 months ago

        I have to chime in my thanks as well. I've been searching options and trying what others have suggested with some success but NOTHING came close to how well this worked.

        I've spent hours and you've just saved me countless hours going forward. Thank you SO MUCH!

      • profile image

        MOBEEN 

        18 months ago

        THANKS ALOT .! Its helped me in my business

      • profile image

        The Chosen One 

        19 months ago

        OMGGG this helps a lott!!! Thaaaanks.~~

      • profile image

        Elsa 

        20 months ago

        THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • profile image

        waro 

        22 months ago

        thaaaaaanks a lot

      • profile image

        Ducky 

        23 months ago

        Thank you very much

      • profile image

        Ashley 

        2 years ago

        awesome thank you so much!!

      • profile image

        Bri 

        2 years ago

        Doesn't work. It messes up my image itself and doesn't take a clear cut on anything.

      • profile image

        Dave 

        2 years ago

        Thanks Bro, I was starting to get realy p-o'd and about to punch my computer screen before I came across this!

      • profile image

        Jim 

        2 years ago

        Thank you!

      • profile image

        JASKJosh 

        2 years ago

        Perfect thanks!

      • profile image

        Awful Grace 

        2 years ago

        Excellent!! It works. Thank you!!

      • profile image

        Tiffany 

        2 years ago

        Easiest tutorial - thank you!

      • profile image

        Nicholas 

        2 years ago

        Thank you, but my opinion, i have the easier way.

        1. Select the image

        2. Click "Opacity"

        3. Change the "Normal" into "Darken" or "Multiply"

        4. Tada

        5. You're Welcome

      • profile image

        JEFFREY 

        2 years ago

        I Can't find the image trace function on my menu?

      • profile image

        The Guy Who Was Doing IT ALL WRONG!! 

        2 years ago

        DUDE... HOLY BAWLS, you just saved me an un describable amount of time... I've been using the anchor point tool this WHOLE TIME.. I wanna hug you.

      • profile image

        Mark 

        2 years ago

        Forest! Thanks for the help. You never come visit us in Seldovia!

      • profile image

        Kat 

        2 years ago

        This helped me SO much! Thank you tons!

      • profile image

        martin 

        2 years ago

        i am trying this but with a black background and I am struggling, any tips?

      • profile image

        Jawhar Petersen 

        2 years ago

        Awesome, saved me some time in trying to figure it out! great tutorial!

      • profile image

        deepsea 

        2 years ago

        bloody great help - WORKED for me

        Thank you

      • profile image

        Dave 

        2 years ago

        As an infrequent Illustrator user this was a huge help in getting text out of a psd layer and into an svg. While it seems fairly simple and straightforward, I had expended way too much time on this effort before coming across this post.

        Much Thanks!

      • profile image

        Linda 

        2 years ago

        wonderful tutorial, made my life a hold lot easier....

        Thanks

      • clippingpathindia profile image

        Clipping Path India 

        2 years ago from United Kingdom

        It is just for specific images.. like yours. Thanks for the tutorial!

      • profile image

        momo 

        2 years ago

        this was great but when I try copy and paste the image somewhere else it doesn't show up

      • profile image

        Lara 

        2 years ago

        Thank you - really beautiful!

      • profile image

        Laura 

        3 years ago

        Great - thank you!

      • profile image

        Jacquelyn 

        3 years ago

        Thanks so much!

      • profile image

        ... 

        3 years ago

        thank you ! extremely helpful

      • profile image

        sume 

        3 years ago

        Your tutorial was the absolute best compared to anyone else online! Great job.

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