I would like to export my image to a pdf with a transparent background but it exports with a white background.

My vector contents are clearly on top of the checkerboard pattern indicating transparency.

In document setup I have checked discard white overprint in output. This did not seem to make any difference.

This content exported correctly before but I have updated to Illustrator 2020 version 24.0.1 and now it seems to have stopped working.

Where is the correct setting to get a transparent background in the exported PDF?


  • Does putting the pdf back to illustrator imports it with white background?
    – Hassan
    Dec 20, 2019 at 7:20

1 Answer 1


Acrobat > Preferences > Page Display > Show Transparency Grid

What's transparent in Illustrator is transparent in Acrobat. Acrobat, designed for reading or printing, merely shows white rather than the transparency grid. Much the same way Illustrator shows white rather than the transparency grid, unless you turn on the grid.

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