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How to Remove a Background in Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is the best tool for creating vectors. It is the first choice application for a graphic designer to make a beautiful vector design with precise accuracy. Sometimes you need to remove the background of an image to make it suitable for your overall composition. But, how to remove a background in Illustrator? Although Illustrator is not meant to be an ideal choice for removing background, you can do it with several methods. You are about to know the background removing methods using Illustrator to save your valuable time.


How to Remove a Background in Illustrator

Before you learn the process, I admit that it is not the most convenient way to use Illustrator to remove the image background. Usually, the Photoshop background remove tool is the most reliable and convenient way. However, switching to another application can kill your time and create a distraction in your creative mind. So, using these processes can be a time-saving option along with a better user experience.

Using Magic Wand or Pen Tool And Clipping Mask

The clipping mask is a popular way to hide a certain part of the graphic that is not necessary for your composition. But, you have to use a selection tool to select that particular part of the graphic. Let’s get into the detailed process.

Select Using Magic Wand

If your desired background has only one color, using a magic wand can make selecting that part faster.

  • First, zoom the object to precise selection. Only by ensuring precise selection can you get the best-quality masking.
  • Now pick an element that you want to remove. And the magic wand will automatically select all the similar elements available in the graphic.
  • If you need to add multiple elements, press the SHIFT button to add another type of element. Also, you can get rid of unusual selections by pressing ALT.
  • This tool is not always precise unless you customize the setting and set the accuracy.

Select Using Pen Tool

The pen tool is the most reliable selection tool for a graphic designer. It ensures the precise selection every time. Although it is time-consuming, you will get the finest result from it.

  • So, click on the pen tool to start the tool.
  • Now, select the unusual part of the graphic that you want to remove.
  • First of all, set the stroke color to no fill. Then create a pointer around the object. Then, zoom the object and go precisely and make a selection.
  • After that, end your last point on the first point to make it an object.

Clipping Mask

Whether you are using a pen tool or magic wand, you have made the selection. Now select both objects that you need to remove and your desired graphic. And click the mouse’s right button and select the clipping mask to hide the unnecessary object that you have already selected. You can select alternate objects to do the reverse.

Therefore you will get rid of the background easily and save that image from getting a transparent image. Also, this is the most reliable way to remove background in Illustrator.

Use Image Trace to Remove Background And Create Vector

Image Trace is the popular way to create a vector of any image within no time. But what about removing the background? Here is how to do it quickly.

  • Open the image on Illustrator.
  • Then select the image and go to the Window> Image Trace.
  • Here you can select the sensitivity level and click on Full-color mode.
  • Now click on the Image trace button and wait to complete the process. The amount of time it will take depends on how powerful your computer you are using.
  • After that, select that traceable image, and you will see the expand button appearing on the top.
  • Click on the expand button. It will break the vector into various pieces.
  • Now click on that vector image and click the mouse’s right button and ungroup all layers.
  • Finally, select an unusual background and delete it. And select your image and export that.

However, if you use this method, you will lose the sharpness of that particular image. Also, sometimes images are divided into too many pieces that it is not easy to remove the background. Nonetheless, this method is super fast for creating a vector from a JPG file and removing the background. If you get a detailed image, you may not end up with a good result. But, an image with a good outline can give you an ameliorate outcome for making vectors as well as removing unusual backgrounds.

Saving EPS File To Remove White Background

If you have a file in your Illustrator that is a proper vector object and it has a white background, you do not have to do anything else to remove it. If you save your Illustrator file in EPS format, that will automatically separate the white background. Also, you have other benefits in this format. Usually, creating a vector in a computer and trying to open that on another computer creates some issues. For example, it may not match the font, stroke size, or composition size. But, creating EPS format ensures that it supports it in any computer. Also, you can open this file in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator without losing the quality or layers. Therefore, it is easy to re-edit that graphic and adjust it.


If you are concerned about removing background from an image, I would suggest going to a better tool such as Adobe Photoshop. But, Illustrator is not that bad at all. And now you know how to remove a background in Illustrator. If you have enough time and intend to remove the background precisely, use a selection tool and a clipping mask to make it clean. But, Image trace is the fastest way to remove a background in Illustrator. As a consequence, you will get a less sharp image with imperfect graphics.