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

Maryam OseniMaryam Oseni·December 13, 2023

One thing the Windows operating system will always do is throw surprises at you. One minute, you're confidently navigating through files, and the next, you're greeted by the infamous "Blue Screen of Death."

But, with all its update quirks and occasional glitches, Windows offers gems like Microsoft Paint—a program so simple it's almost comical but still versatile enough to keep you entertained for hours.

Microsoft Paint isn't just for doodling stick figures or playing pixelated pranks on your friends. You can actually do something practical with it, like make an image background transparent. And we are going to show you how in this article.

How to make a background transparent in MS Paint

If you think about making an image background transparent, the ideal thought process is to remove the image's background. But, in MS Paint, the logic is reversed. 

To make a background transparent in MS Paint, you need to cut out the image from the background.

Launch Microsoft Paint on your PC and follow these steps:

  • Once you launch MS Paint on your PC, click File >> Open to access your files and add the image to Paint.

  • Click the Select button at the top of the menu bar to open a list of options. Then, click the Transparent selection option.

  • Still in the Select list, click on Free-form selection. This allows you to select the image without restrictions.

  • Click and drag your cursor over the object in the image to "protect it." The rest of the image, i.e., the background, will become transparent.

  • Right-click on the protected object and select "Cut" to remove it from the image.

  • Open a new MS Paint window and press Ctrl + V to add the selected object to a new background. Alternatively, you can right-click and select "Paste" to add the cut-out image. 

How to make a transparent background in Paint 3D

Paint 3D is a more sophisticated version of MS Paint. You need to have Windows 10 or 11 if you insist on doing photo edits in Paint 3D. The background removal process is similar to MS Paint but with fancier words and tools.

Launch Paint 3D on your PC and follow these steps:

  • Add your image to Piant 3D by clicking Menu at the top left corner and selecting Open >> Browse files.

  • Click Magic Select on the toolbar, adjust the area to fit around the section you want to keep and select Next.

(P.S.: The select tool will most likely not isolate your object perfectly. Use the “Add” and “Remove” icons to adjust accordingly. Select Done when you are satisfied).

  • Delete the remaining part of the image and make the canvas transparent by clicking Canvas in the toolbar to toggle the Transparent Canvas option.

  • Select Menu >> Save As >> Image to save the cutout as a .png file.

Simplify background removal with a photo editor

Let's face it: not everyone has the time or patience to select around an object or erase around the edges, especially for a task as specific as making a background transparent. It’s also not efficient to wait till you are near a PC with MS Paint before you can make simple alterations to your image.

AI photo editing apps like Photoroom are designed to streamline photo editing tasks, one of which is making the background of an image transparent. Look at the image below to spot the difference.

Here's how to make an image background transparent using Photoroom in just a few simple steps:

  • Download the Photoroom mobile app or go to Photoroom Web and set up your account in less than a minute.

  • Once you're in, click on Remove Background at the top or +Start from Photo at the bottom to add the image.

  • Photoroom’s AI automatically detects what part of an image is the object, and neatly removes the background around and within it.

  • Select the Transparent background option or any background of your choice.

  • Download the final image.

All you have to do is add the image and download the final result. Photoroom handles everything in between.

Further reading: Boost productivity, creativity, and sales with 16+ AI tools for e-commerce (2024)

Scenarios when you need a transparent background

Background transparency is aesthetically pleasing and serves many practical needs, especially if you are running a business. Here are some specific scenarios where you need transparent backgrounds:

Logos and digital assets

Transparent background images are often the go-to format for digital assets and branding elements like logos. With a transparent background, you can place your business logo in any color or background without clashing with different color schemes. 

Your online presence is another avenue where a transparent logo will be highly useful. Whether you’re using a template or a custom design, your logo can be placed anywhere on the site without clashing with other design elements.

This makes it easier for you to use your logo in various marketing materials such as business cards, brochures, websites, and social media platforms. 

This article could be interesting for you: How to remove the background of a logo

Online marketing materials

Transparent background images help your main message or product catch the viewer's attention. No distractions, just the stuff you want your potential customer to focus on.

Let’s say you run a small bakery. You can take a photo of your best-selling cupcake, remove the background so it's transparent, and then overlay it onto various seasonal backgrounds for different holidays. This way, the same cupcake photo can be reused for Christmas, Valentine's Day, and other occasions, saving you time and effort.

When sending out newsletters or promotional emails, transparent images can make the email layout look clean and professional. For example, if you have a yoga studio, a transparent image of a yoga pose can be placed over various backgrounds like serene landscapes, depending on the theme of the email.

E-commerce product images

​​Transparent backgrounds are also helpful when designing product images. E-commerce businesses often need to showcase their products on different platforms to generate sales. For example, if you're selling something like handmade jewelry or crafts, and you want to list your products on Etsy, you need to take a photo without a cluttered or patterned background that can distract potential buyers.

With a transparent background, the focus is entirely on your product, making it more appealing at first glance. Or maybe you’re selling home decor items like table lamps and want to suggest complementary products like a matching table.

Transparent background images of your lamps can easily be overlaid onto images of tables, creating a cohesive and appealing visual without needing to stage a new photoshoot.

This article could be interesting for you: Product photography tips

Custom Merchandise

Let's say you own a small café and want to sell branded merchandise like mugs or t-shirts. With a transparent background, you don’t need to worry about a white square appearing around your design and making the merch look tacky.

You can effortlessly place that design on merch of any color, texture, or design. You also get to experiment freely without additional costs. Not only that, but you can easily overlay your art onto different background colors or textures, testing what works best before committing to a larger print run. 

It also ensures that your branding remains consistent, whether you're offering merch in classic white, trendy pastel hues, or even patterned designs for the holiday season. 

Print materials

If you're creating flyers or posters, transparent images are a lifesaver. You can easily place the image on any design without worrying about a white box appearing around it. Let's say you own a small pizza place and you're launching a new special. You want to print some flyers to spread the word. 

With a transparent background, you can easily add your logo and pizza shots to the flyer's design without having to fiddle around with matching backgrounds. This ensures your promotional materials look professional, without requiring the services of a graphic designer. Plus, you can use the same images across multiple types of print materials, such as banners or table tents, without the need to adjust the background each time.

Create clean, background-free images with Photoroom

Using Photoroom to remove the background from your image hits the sweet spot between simplicity, effectiveness, and professionalism. With a user-friendly interface and quick editing functions, you can create a transparent image immediately you need one.

There is a more detailed tutorial on how to create clean, transparent images in the Photoroom Help Center. Download the mobile app from Google Play Store or App Store or log in to Photoroom Web to get started.

Related articles:

How to add a background to a photo online
5 Tips for product photography backgrounds (2024)
How to change the background color in Instagram Stories

Maryam Oseni
Maryam OseniI am a content marketer and I love painting. At Photoroom, I write about multiple ways to make your product photography better with AI.