So, I recently took on the challenge of learning how to use Inkscape. I wanted to trace bitmap an image of the Australian flag, but the white parts if the flag is removed.

I tried the Trace Bitmap with Remove Background off, but it just made the image have a white background, even though the .png image has a transparent (alpha) background.

Does anyone know how to fix this?


  • 1
    Hi. Welcome to GDSE. I'm having difficulty understanding your question. What do you want - a flag with white areas removed, or a flag with the white areas solid? Your question seems to indicated you have achieved both, so I don't understand what you are asking.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 10:42

1 Answer 1


Crop the flag in a bitmap editor (GIMP, Paint.NET, Photoshop, etc...) to its exact rectangular size. Then you haven't any background to remove. Every pixel belongs to the flag. Trace without removing the background.

Of course it can happen that your flag is a photo which is taken when the flag is waving and it cannot be cropped. In that case a little more is needed. Import the image and do not scale it smaller. You need the original size. Scale it after the process is done and you have a vector image.

At first make a spare copy to the artboard. Trace (see NOTE1) the imported image in colors without the background. Shift the tracing result (with holes) aside and colorize the imported PNG to black (Filters > Color > Colorize):

enter image description here

Select the blackened image, goto Edit > Make bitmap copy, delete the original blackened version. Now you have a real black bitmap, not the original bitmap with SVG function.

Trace in BW the black bitmap, remove the background from it, too.

enter image description here

Change the fill color of the black shape to white. Arrange it behind the flag with holes. It should fit within 1 pixel.

Ungroup the colored version. Group it with the white shape. The result:

enter image description here

NOTE1: If your image isn't pixel perfect 3 colors, but anti-aliased or a photo, you may need more colors than 3, I needed 4. There was 1 px wide light blue shape in the tracing result. I removed it with no harm.

  • No, I don't want to see the yellow thing through the white parts of the flag. So i tried to trace it with "remove background" off, but that gives the image a white box background. Thanks for taking your time answering this question! sorry for a late response!
    – lpydawa
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 13:54
  • @lpydawa It's fixed - no holes!
    – user82991
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 19:14
  • Thank you very much for your help! Will follow the steps and try when i can! Thanks
    – lpydawa
    Commented Oct 16, 2018 at 23:12

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