How to Make Inkscape's Background Transparent

inkscape transparent background

When you start a new Inkscape document, it may look like the background is simply solid white. This is not the case, because that white background is actually completely transparent by default. If you’re having some questions about this, allow me to explain.

1. Save PNG With Transparent Background

Step 1

A common issue I’ve seen is that some people will head up to File > Save As, and then save as a PNG file. If you create your PNG this way, you will indeed end up with a solid white, non-transparent background.

inkscape save as png

Step 2

In order to achieve the transparent background, you must go to File > Export PNG Image. You’ll see a menu pop up where you can select a Filename and then Export.

inkscape export png image

2. Changing the Background Color

Step 1

If you want to change the color or transparency of the Inkscape document background, go to File > Document Properties, and click the Background color button on the bottom.

inkscape change background color

Step 2

Now you can choose a specific background color and change the Alpha channel to adjust transparency. Inkscape also notes that the transparency will only be used for exporting, not editing.

background color transparency

3. What About Other File Types?

Almost all vector file types such as SVG, PDF, or WMF will also respect the transparency of the background (and other objects for that matter).

vector transparency support

Now We’re Transparent!

After going over a few things about default settings and changing background colors, hopefully you can now create graphics with transparent backgrounds. Thanks for reading!

5 thoughts on “How to Make Inkscape's Background Transparent

  1. hi
    i need to export from inkscape as an svg image to use in whiteboard animations but they always come with a white background. how can i make it transparent instead?

    1. Simon, Me too, I am using Inkscape for whiteboard animation video. What software do you use for the animation?

    2. As long as your background color is set to be transparent as in Section 2, you shouldn’t get a white background. Alternatively, I suppose you could open the SVG in a text editor and manually remove any background manually via the XML.

  2. I did everything as described, still I have a grey background in the exported png. I used Inkscape on a mac OSX. What am I doing wrong?

    1. I wish I could be of more help, but just double-check that the Opacity on your background color is set to 0. Also make sure you “Export” the PNG and don’t “Save as”. I’m sure you’ve done this all already, but I can’t think of any other reason you’d have a different background other than what you have assigned.

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