Guide: How to Get Rid of White Background on JPEG in Illustrator

how to get rid of white background on jpeg in illustrator

If you’ve ever tried to use a JPEG image with a white background in a project, you know how frustrating it can be. Whether you’re designing a website, creating a logo, or putting together a presentation, having a white background on your image can make it look amateurish and out-of-place. Luckily, Adobe Illustrator offers a simple solution to get rid of that pesky white background and make your images look more professional.

In this guide, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process of removing the white background on a JPEG image in Adobe Illustrator. By the end of this guide, you’ll have the skills you need to create clean, transparent images that will make your projects look their best.

Key Takeaways:

  • Removing the white background on a JPEG image can make it look more professional and clean.
  • Adobe Illustrator is a powerful tool for removing background and making image transparent.
  • Following step-by-step guide can help you get rid of white background on JPEG images in Illustrator.

Understanding the White Background on JPEG Images

When working with JPEG images, it’s common to encounter a white background that can be difficult to remove. This is due to the nature of how JPEG compression works, which often adds a white background to the image. This can be especially problematic for designers and photographers who need to create images with transparent backgrounds.

The white background on JPEG images is a result of a lossy compression algorithm that removes non-essential data to reduce file size. This process can create jagged edges around the subject and leave behind a white background that cannot be easily removed. It’s important to understand these limitations when working with JPEG images.

Another factor that can contribute to the difficulty in removing the white background is the color depth of the image. JPEG images are typically saved in 8-bit color, which means they have 256 possible color values. This limited color range can make it difficult to distinguish between the white background and the subject of the image.

To overcome these challenges, it’s necessary to use an image editing tool such as Adobe Illustrator and employ various techniques to select and remove the white background. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can achieve a professional result and create images with transparent backgrounds that can be used in a variety of contexts.

Opening and Preparing the JPEG File in Adobe Illustrator

If you want to remove the white background on a JPEG image, the first step is to open and prepare the file in Adobe Illustrator. Here’s how:

  1. Launch Adobe Illustrator and go to File > Open to select the JPEG image you want to edit.
  2. Make sure that the image is in RGB color mode for better compatibility with web browsers.
  3. Set the resolution to 72ppi, which is the standard for web graphics. If you plan to print the image, you can increase the resolution accordingly.
  4. Once the file is open, zoom in to the image and check if there are any important details that you want to preserve, such as text, logos, or small elements. If there are, you may need to be more careful when removing the background.

By properly opening and preparing the JPEG file in Adobe Illustrator, you can ensure that the image is ready for background removal and that you can work with it efficiently.

Using the Magic Wand Tool to Select the Background

The Magic Wand Tool is a powerful feature in Adobe Illustrator that allows users to select parts of an image based on color. In this section, we will learn how to use this tool to select the white background of a JPEG image.

First, open the JPEG file in Adobe Illustrator and select the Magic Wand Tool from the toolbar on the left-hand side of the screen. Adjust the settings of the tool as needed, such as the tolerance and anti-aliasing options, to achieve the desired selection.

Click on the white background of the image with the Magic Wand Tool to select it. You may need to adjust the selection by holding down the Shift key and clicking on additional areas of the background.

Once you have the desired selection, make sure to refine it in the next section to ensure the subject of the image is not affected.

Refining the Selection and Creating a Clipping Mask

Now that you’ve used the Magic Wand Tool to select the white background of your JPEG image, it’s time to refine that selection to ensure that the subject of your image is not affected.

To do this, you can use the Lasso Tool to manually select any areas that may have been missed, or use the Select > Similar Objects option to automatically select all objects of the same color. Once you have your selection, you can create a clipping mask to isolate the subject and remove the background.

To create a clipping mask, select both the subject and the selection by holding down the Shift key and clicking on each. Then, right-click and select Make Clipping Mask from the drop-down menu. This will create a mask that hides everything outside of your selection, effectively removing the white background.

If you find that there is still some residual background leftover, you can simply use the Eraser Tool to remove it. Alternatively, you can use the Pen Tool to create a precise path around the subject, giving you greater control over the final result.

With your selection refined and your clipping mask in place, you can now fine-tune the edges of your image for a clean and professional look.

Removing Residual Background and Adjusting Image Edges

With the Magic Wand Tool and Clipping Mask in place, there may still be some residual white background around the edges of the image. This can be removed using the Eraser Tool, which allows for precision in erasing only the unwanted background.

An alternative to the Eraser Tool is the Pen Tool, which can be used to create a precise outline around the subject of the image. The anchor points can be manipulated to ensure a smooth and accurate selection, after which the background can be deleted.

After removing the residual background, it’s time to adjust the image edges. The Refine Edge Tool in Adobe Illustrator can help achieve a cleaner and more polished look. Users can adjust the edges of the selection using the slider, allowing for greater control and customization.

In addition, the image can be cropped or resized to achieve the desired dimensions, using the Crop Tool or the Transform Tool respectively. This can also help eliminate any remaining unwanted background.

Remember to pay attention to details in this step, as it will affect the overall appearance of the image. Take time to fine-tune the edges and double-check for any traces of the white background before moving on to the next step.

In the final stage of this section, create a Clipping Mask over the finished image. This will ensure that any adjustments made to the image do not affect the final outcome.

Removing Residual Background and Adjusting Image Edges Checklist:

  • Use the Eraser Tool or Pen Tool to remove any remaining background.
  • Refine the image edges using the Refine Edge Tool in Adobe Illustrator.
  • Crop or resize the image to achieve desired dimensions
  • Double-check for any remaining traces of white background.
  • Create a Clipping Mask over the finished image.

Saving the Image with a Transparent Background

Once you have removed the white background from your JPEG image in Adobe Illustrator, it is time to save your file with a transparent background. This will enable you to use your image in various projects, without an unwanted white background.

When saving your file, you should choose a format that supports transparency. The best format for this is PNG, which allows for high-quality images with a transparent background. To save your image as a PNG file, go to File > Save As and choose “PNG” as the file format.

Next, you will need to ensure that the option for a transparent background is enabled. To do this, click on the “Use Artboards” drop-down menu and select “Transparent Background”. This will ensure that your image is saved with a transparent background.

Finally, give your file a name and choose the location where you want to save it. Click “Save” and your image will be saved as a PNG file with a transparent background.

By saving your image with a transparent background, you will have increased flexibility and versatility when using it in various projects. You can now easily overlay your image on top of other graphics or backgrounds without worrying about a white background interfering with your design.


By following the step-by-step guide outlined above, removing the white background on JPEG images in Adobe Illustrator should no longer be a daunting task. It is essential to remember that the process may require some refinement to achieve the desired results.

With this new skill, graphic designers, artists, and marketers can achieve professional-grade image editing, which will enhance the quality and attractiveness of their designs, product photography, and marketing collateral.

Don’t hesitate to experiment and explore further possibilities with your image editing tasks. Keep in mind that removing white backgrounds from JPEG images in Adobe Illustrator is just one of many skills you can acquire to elevate your design game and stand out from the competition.

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