How to make a background transparent in Paint and Paint 3D

by Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams
Windows & Software Expert
Matthew is a freelancer who has produced a variety of articles on various topics related to technology. His main focus is the Windows OS and all the things... read more
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  • Microsoft Paint is capable of various tricks, and in this guide, we’ll show you how to make a transparent background in Paint.
  • To create a transparent background, you just need to select the object and cut it from an image.
  • Paint 3D also supports transparent background, and it’s usually a better option for image editing.
  • If you want to create professional images, you can always use specialized tools like Adobe Photoshop.
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Paint is the image editor included with Windows. Most photographers probably overlook MS Paint or new Paint 3D for editing photos as they have relatively limited tools compared with the likes of Photoshop.

However, one thing you can do is make a transparent background in Paint and Paint 3D for Windows 10. Here’s how.

How can I remove background color in Paint?

There are two ways that will let you can make a picture’s background transparent in Paint for Windows 10.

The first method involves cutting out a foreground area in an image so that the rest of its surrounding background becomes transparent. Then you can paste the foreground over another image.

The second method involves deleting an area from a picture so it’s left with a transparent area that you can fill by adding a second background image layer.

You can add transparent backgrounds to selected foregrounds with the original Paint. However, that Windows accessory doesn’t save transparent backgrounds so that you can combine images with layers.

Although, you can set up image layers with transparent backgrounds in Paint 3D. Below you can see how you can make the background 100% transparent in both Paint and Paint 3D.

1. How to add transparent backgrounds to images with Paint

  1. Open Paint by clicking the Cortana button.
  2. Enter the keyword Paint in Cortana’s search box, and select to open Paint.
  3. Next, click File, then Open, and select an image to open.
  4. Press the Select button, and then click the Transparent selection option.transparent background in Paint on Windows 10
  5. Select the Free-form selection option on the Select button’s menu.
  6. Trace around a foreground area to preserve from the original picture with the cursor by holding the left mouse button.
  7. The rest of the picture left outside the traced area will be a transparent background.transparent background in Paint on Windows 10
  8. Right-click within the rectangle that appears around the selected area.
  9. Select Cut on the context menu to remove the selected foreground from the picture as in the snapshot below.transparent background in Paint on Windows 10
  10. Now open an entirely new image in Paint.
  11. Press the Ctrl + V hotkey to paste the foreground area you traced from the first image.
  12. As that picture now has a transparent background, you can see the rest of the second image behind it as shown below.
  13. Now left-click the pasted foreground image, and drag it to a suitable position on the background picture.

If you ever wondered how to remove background in Paint, this is one of the ways to do it. And if you’re not satisfied with the result, choose a product from this list of free photo editors since they may help you.

2. Alternative methods to add transparent backgrounds to images on Windows 10

  1. Go to the Layers tab on the right-pane, right-click your image, and select Duplicate Layer.
  2. Make sure to hide the newly-created bottom image layer.
  3. Select the original picture in the Layers tab, and then select the Magic Wand tool from the toolbar on the left pane.
  4. Select and mark the background in your image that you need to turn transparent.
  5. Click the Delete key on your keyboard.
  6. Press File, and hit Save as...
  7. Give your newly-created image a name, and save it in the PNG format.

When it comes to digital graphics design, few programs have a more resounding name than Adobe Photoshop.

Among the many features that this program boasts, it can also help you in your effort to create transparent backgrounds.

This is thanks to the fact that Adobe Photoshop supports the use of image layers, allowing you to overlap images for great effect.

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If you want to know to create a transparent background in Adobe Photoshop, follow the steps above.

Of course, this is just one of many tools and useful tricks that you can perform in Adobe Photoshop.

As such, if you are an avid graphics designer and feel like adding a bit of extra life into your photography, then a tool like Adobe Photoshop is the right thing for you.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a professional image editing software that you can use to easily remove the background from any image.

Free trialVisit website

3. Add transparent backgrounds to images in Paint 3D

  1. Enter Paint 3D in Windows 10’s search box.
  2. If you haven’t had the Creators update, add the app to Windows 10 from this website page.
  3. Select to open the Paint 3D app below.
  4. Click Menu, then Open and Browse files, and select an image to open in Paint 3D.
  5. Press the Canvas button to open the sidebar shown directly below.
  6. Click the Transparent canvas setting on the sidebar.
  7. Press the Select button, and then drag the selection rectangle over an area of the image to delete.
  8. Press the Ctrl + X hotkey to cut out the area from the picture as in the snapshot below.
    • That leaves the picture with a blank transparent area that any background layer can fill.
  9. Click Menu > Save as, and select the 2D PNG option.
  10. Enter a file title in the text box, and press the Save button.
  11. Click Menu > New to open a blank canvas.
  12. Select Menu > Open > Browse files, and select to open a background layer image for the transparent picture you just saved.
  13. Click Menu > Insert, and select to open the transparent image that you saved.
  14. The transparent image will open on top of the background layer as shown in the snapshot directly below.transparent background in Paint on Windows 10
  15. As you can see, the background image layer now fills the transparent area in the overlapping picture.
  16. You can resize the overlapping picture by moving the cursor to one of the selection border’s corners, holding the left mouse button, and then dragging the cursor.transparent background in Paint on Windows 10
  17. To rotate the foreground picture layer, hover the cursor over the rotation circle at the top of the selection border and hold the left mouse button. Drag the cursor left or right to rotate the selected layer clockwise or anti-clockwise.

Cutting the foreground out in Paint leaves a blank area in the original picture. However, that does not become a transparent region in the original picture when you save the image.

Consequently, the area cut out remains blank when you open the image and utilize layers in other image-editing software.

Should you encounter any issues with Paint 3D on Windows 10, this guide dedicated to fixing Paint 3D if it’s not working will help you to get it up and running in no time.

However, Paint 3D in Windows 10 does save transparent areas in images, and you should be able to make a transparent background in Paint 3D using this method.

If you need more ideas on how to make transparent selections in Paint, we’ve written a similar guide about making transparent selections on Paint. Check it out to find more details.

So, that’s how Windows 10 users can add transparent backgrounds to images with Paint. Then you can combine the transparent images with other pictures by pasting the selected foreground or overlapping them with layers.

Alternatively, in case you may want to remove photo background images without using any photo background remover software, check out this guide about erasing photo backgrounds for more information.

Please, feel free to give us any information, tips, and your experience with the subject in the comment section below.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Yes, Microsoft Paint is completely free-to-use, at some point even came pre-installed with Windows 10.

  • Microsoft Paint is now downloadable as an app via the Microsoft Store. However, if you are looking for some professional alternatives, there are some other great graphics editors out there.

  • There are plenty of alternatives to Microsoft Paint, some of which are professional-grade graphics design tools. These include Krita, GIMP, Adobe Photoshop, as essential graphics & design software tools.