I have an ajax spinner which unfortunately has a white background in the corners. I want to remove the white and make it transparent using GIMP. How can I go about doing that? I tried opening it in GIMP and changing all the pixels to red to target but that changed the whole image when I made red transparent, and also it didn't seem to perpetuate through the sequence.

  • 1
    The chosen answer doesn't really answer the question of how to edit the animated gif in gimp, maybe re-word the question?
    – MetaGuru
    May 22, 2014 at 15:40
  • @ioSamurai - I had to manually edit every frame.
    – Travis J
    May 22, 2014 at 17:02
  • Got it now, leaving this here for others who end up on this thread from this question in search: CTRL+L to show layers, then edit layer at a time by making it the only 'visible' one, then you go Filters -> Animations -> Optimize Gif... gimp.org/tutorials/Simple_Animations
    – MetaGuru
    May 22, 2014 at 20:23
  • @ioSamurai - Perhaps you should convert that into an answer
    – Travis J
    May 22, 2014 at 20:30
  • Good point, added :)
    – MetaGuru
    May 22, 2014 at 21:28

3 Answers 3


GIF doesn't have "proper" transparency. You will always have to optimize it towards the intended background. And depending on the image you might have to change every single keyframe.

  • I was able to edit and export a gif with transparency using GIMP no problem, the transparency is reflected in the gif properly (you can see anything behind it, no need to color for a specific background).
    – MetaGuru
    May 22, 2014 at 21:34
  • 1
    Then please share this magic with us. The GIF Format does not support alpha-channel transparency.
    – KMSTR
    May 23, 2014 at 5:48

Note: Gimp does support transparency and then when you optimize for animated gif and export it will support transparency in the gif!

To edit a gif in Gimp, first open it.

Then look at the layers window (CTRL+L).

To easily edit an individual frame, uncheck the 'eyeball' for each frame that you wish to hide, then edit the remaining visible frame. (At this point you can edit in your transparency as needed, you may need to change color types if the gif you are opening loads without transparency support, but once it is there it will export properly with animated gif being transparent!)

After your desired edits are completed recheck all eyeballs so all frames are visible and then prepare for export by first optimizing via the filter menu: Filters -> Animation -> Optimize (for GIF)

This will create a new window with your optimized GIF, now just File -> Export and during the save make sure the 'Animated' checkbox is selected (other options such as framerate will also be available here).



Your method didn't work for me, but quite to my surprise, I found another one on my own which worked fine:

  • go to Layers Window (CTRL + L),
  • uncheck all layers which wouldn't show missing background (i.e. gray-checkered surface),
  • open all of them in turn
  • then every time
    • go to Layer menu (my Layers Window was not cooperative for that),
    • open Transparency,
    • click Color to Alpha,
    • click OK (you will see the gray-checkered background to appear instead of white or whatever your unwanted background was),
  • then check the "eyes" in Layers Window,
  • and voila!, it's done.

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