How to remove a white background with Inkscape

2 Methods To Remove White Backgrounds With Inkscape


There’s a lot of software editors that can remove a background from an image or change the background to make it transparent. Inkscape has 2 basic ways to remove background from an image or logo. In particular, when you remove white or colored backgrounds in Inkscape the background actually becomes transparent.

Using either removal method takes less time to open and save the file then to actually remove the background. However, removing backgrounds easily and cleanly with Inkscape does depend on a few factors. In this article, I demo how to remove the white background of a logo; the process works with other types of images and graphics too.

It’s important to note that the alpha channel is the key component allowing the background to be removed or become transparent. Easy background removal also depends on the file type you’re starting with. For example, the first method I mention removes backgrounds of SVG files while the other method works with JPG or PNG files. As mentioned, I’m focusing on Inkscape removing white backgrounds. It is possible but not always easy to do the same with colored backgrounds, especially if the starting file isn’t an SVG. I say that because there are much easier alternatives with background removal techniques if the file is JPG or PNG.

While I’m not discouraging you from using Inkscape to remove backgrounds, I tend to use whatever tool is easiest for the type of file I’m working with. So if you want to remove colored backgrounds from raster images or you have a complex multicolored or shaded background you need to make transparent, I’d strongly suggest using either GIMP or PixlrX. If you’re a GIMP fan then take a look at the GIMP article below. If you simply need a quick easy way to remove backgrounds online then check out my mini-series with PixlrX. I wrote that mini-series in mind for those who need to do this but didn’t want to have to install any editing software.

3 Free Tools Remove Backgrounds

5 Ways To Remove Backgrounds Using GIMP

The Easiest Online Background Tool For Non-Designers – PixlrX

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If you still want to use Inkscape, are looking to remove a white background and/or you have SVGs then this article is perfect for you. Just keep reading.

2 Methods – How Inkscape Removes Backgrounds

Let’s look at an Inkscape SVG file and easily remove the white background from the logo.

Method 1. Remove White Backgrounds With The Inkscape Alpha Channel

With this method, the alpha channel is set to transparent, thus removing the background.

First, open the SVG logo in Inkscape.

Click on Document Properties.

Click on the Background Color (bar is trans/white) to open the dialog.

In the Background Color Popup window, the sliding bar below the wheel represents the Alpha channel. Move the triangle slider (the little arrows at the top and bottom of the slider bar) all the way to the left or type in the value of 0 in the box to the right of the slider. This sets it to transparent no matter what color is shown. Close the window and close the Document Properties.


Save the Inkscape file (File >Save). To export the logo be sure to keep it in PNG format (File> Export to PNG) to retain the transparent background.

Method 2. Inkscape Background Removal Of PNG / JPG Images

Since the Inkscapes default file format is SVG, the PNG or JPG Logo file must first be converted and then the background is removed. We’ll use the Trace Bitmap function to do this while removing the background and also setting the alpha channel to transparent like in method 1.

Here’s how to convert a JPG or PNG file into an SVG format that Inkscape can use to remove the background and make it transparent.


Import the file into Inkscape (File> Import). Use the default Embed option.

Go to Path> Trace Bitmap. The next part (choosing from the options) depends on the logo. You’ll have to play with the options to see which works best for your situation.



If just an outline is needed than Single Scan Edge Detection works nicely. This results in a logo “silhouette” effect. (See result).


If the whole logo is desired then Brightness cutoff work but will result in a black logo requiring change of color back to the original. (See result).


If the color of the logo is shaded or has a special text effect than choosing Colors under Multiple scans: Creates a group of paths may be a better option. (See result).

Be sure deselect the checkbox next to Smooth and select the checkboxes for Stack scans and Remove background.

Complete by saving the file first in Inkscape SVG format and then exporting it to a transparent PNG format for use. Before exporting, make sure the alpha channel is set to transparent like what was done in method 1.

And that’s how to easily remove the white background from a logo with Inkscape.

Check out the 2 min video.


Want to make a logo that’s pretty cool and takes less than 5 minutes to create?

Check out my article on 24 Inkscape filters that work with text: Inkscape Filters For Text Designs

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