Take the 2-minute tour ×
Graphic Design Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for Graphic Design professionals, students, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm saving an Illustrator CS6 file as a PDF. The file has a transparent background, however when exported as a PDF and dropped into InDesign the file has a white background.

I've tried saving the file as different types of PDF but nothing has worked.

This is a recent problem that I've not had an issue with until the past two weeks.

Can anyone give any suggestions?

share|improve this question
Hi Sam, the background looks white because that's what the PDF associates as "transparent". It will still be transparent. –  SaturnsEye May 1 '14 at 8:23
The background isn't transparent though as when I put it into InDesign over the top of an image it has a white square box background, even when viewed in high quality. –  Samantha May 1 '14 at 8:26
This method is working fine for me with PDFS and InDesign. How are you importing the PDF to InDesign? –  SaturnsEye May 1 '14 at 8:28
I know, it has worked for me too for as long as I can remember but for some reason there is a problem now. I'm saving an Illustrator file as a PDF then importing it into InDesign. I appreciate your help. –  Samantha May 1 '14 at 8:32
I'm currently working so will not be able to I'm afraid. If you think of any suggestions please let me know. –  Samantha May 1 '14 at 8:38

3 Answers 3

You are saving the image correctly but the white background is showing because there is a setting for it in Adobe Reader, follow the below steps to remove the white background from your pdf.

  1. Open Adobe Reader.
  2. Press CTRL+K or go to Edit > Preference and check the box, which says show the transparency grid (Please check the image below for clarification.).
  3. Open the saved pdf with transparent background.

Hope that helps. :)

enter image description here

share|improve this answer

It seems that you're placing the PDF ignoring its transparency. In the file selection window shown when the “Place” command is used, there's a checkbox (near the lower left corner of the window) “Show Import Options”. When checked it'll cause the said “import options” window to appear. Make sure that the “Transparent background” is selected there.

share|improve this answer

You have to make sure that the pictures is linked directly to the images. Else will it be white-boxed-background instead of transparent!

// MP

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.