How to Make a Transparent Background in Photoshop in 3 Easy Steps

Learn the steps to make a transparent background in Photoshop. Do it manually using the magic wand tool or with the quick action "remove background"

Creating transparent backgrounds in Photoshop is a useful trick to have stored up your photo editing sleeve.

A transparent background allows you to swap backgrounds easily to suit a product you wish to sell or highlight the features of an object.

The best method to use to make an image background transparent will depend on the image quality and range of colors.

A solid background color, such as a white background, will make removing the background layer easier.

When the image background has similar colors to the foreground you wish to isolate, the task will be more time-consuming and require a selection tool as there will be some blended lines.

Here are two ways to make a background transparent in Abode Photoshop – automatically with an easy, quick fix click or manually using one of the selection tools.

(You may also be interested to learn how to create a transparent gradient in Photoshop too.)

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How to Make a Background Transparent in Photoshop

To make a transparent background in Photoshop, you will need to open the image or select the layer in the layer panel.

When the image is selected, navigate to the right side of your image window to the layers panel.

If you can’t find the layers panel, go to Window > Layers in the drop-down menu and click on Layers, the layer panel will appear.

If the layer is locked, unlock it by clicking the lock icon in the layers panel.

Now any area you delete from this layer will be transparent.

Method 1 – Quick Fix Selection

If the background is one block of color (such as a white background) and contrasts the foreground, you can use the Quick Action, Remove Background in Properties.

Find Quick Actions in the Properties panel to the right of your image, and choose the Remove Background option.

If you cannot find the Properties panel go to Window > Properties in the drop-down menu.


When you have clicked Removed Background you will have a perfectly transparent background.

Method 2 – Manual Selectionx

To make the background transparent on an image that has overlapping colors in the background and foreground, you will need first to isolate the object from its background.

One of the best ways to do this is to use a selection tool.

Using a selection tool, such as the Magic Wand tool or Magnetic Lasso tool, you will have more control allowing you to perfectly select the area you wish to turn into a transparent background.

Select Magic Wand from the Tool Bar to the left of your image, or use the keyboard shortcut by pressing W.


When the Magic Wand tool is selected, navigate to Select in the menu and click on Subject.

(Learn how to use the Photoshop magic wand tool here.)

Photoshop will aim to select all of the subject by surrounding it with marching ants.


When the image is complex Photoshop will not always be able to select the entire foreground object perfectly and the marching ants may stray into unwanted areas.

Using the Magic Wand you can correct the marching ants selected area.

Navigate to the Top Menu bar and click on the Subtract or Add icon. You can now scan the marching ants to fix the line, manually removing unwanted background or including excluded areas.

When the marching ants are encompassing the object you wish to isolate, navigate to the Top Menu bar and click Select > Inverse.

You will now have the background selected and ready to delete to become a transparent background.

From the Top Menu bar, choose Edit > Cut. The background will be deleted to leave a transparent background.

If you’re having trouble deselecting your selection for whatever reason, here’s a guide I wrote on how to deselect in Photoshop.

Now that you have successfully removed the background and created a transparent background, you can transpose your isolated object onto a funky background layer.

How do you extend backgrounds in Photoshop?

Make a Transparent Background in Photoshop | Final Words

When you have succeeded and have a perfectly transparent background, you can replace it with a new background layer at your leisure.

There is nothing like having a blank canvas behind your image to spark creativity!

Making a background transparent in Photoshop means the foreground or isolated object can easily be imposed onto a range of vibrant punchy backgrounds.

This is incredibly useful for marketing if you have products you wish to sell online.

Although most common image editors allow you to make a transparent background, Photoshop is by far the most powerful, especially with its AI tools to lend a hand – learn how to buy Photoshop here if you don’t already own it.

Now you know how to make a transparent background, will you be using this technique?

Let us know what your favourite way to create a transparent background is. What do you use images with transparent backgrounds for? Business or pleasure? Let us know in the comments!

Shotkit Writer & Photoshop Expert

Judyth is an experienced studio photographer and glass artist. When she isn’t Photoshopping comedians into the bellies of sharks, you can find her cooking delicious treats for her guests.

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