I'm using Adobe Photoshop.

I noticed that there are other questions similar to this one. However, the reason I'm posting my question is, when I followed the instructions in the other question about removing the background from a signature, it was not working for me on this document. I needed to select several times for each letter. Many times I was also getting parts of the background with the letters.

Is there some shortcut?

It looks like it will take me a whole day to select all the text, letter by letter.

Perhaps the reason the Magic Wand tool is not working well is because the text is handwritten and the edges are not well defined?

So, here's the picture. (I thought I uploaded it the first time, I'm trying again now)

enter image description here

Basically, I would like guidance on how to remove the background and put the text on a solid white background. (If possible in an easier more efficient manner than selecting each letter one by one)

P.S. For those curious, this is a handwritten marriage document in the Hebrew language written on parchment with a quill.

  • 4
    we need a screenshot to understand if we can help you
    – Ilan
    Jul 13, 2014 at 11:11
  • There's no mention of the software you are using, and as stated, without a sample image I don't think anyone can help any further than what has already been answered.
    – Scott
    Jul 13, 2014 at 15:49
  • Please also edit your question to explain why the post Scott links to does not help you. Otherwise this is likely to get closed.
    – benteh
    Jul 13, 2014 at 16:13
  • 1
    I edited your question a bit for clarity. I also removed your request for someone to supply a background. We don't really fulfill image requests here.
    – Scott
    Jul 15, 2014 at 10:08

3 Answers 3


All you need to do is choose Image > Adjustments > Levels and alter the levels within the image.

enter image description here

Simply drag the left triangle (black) to the right to darken the dark areas and then drag the right (white) arrow to the left to lighten the lighter areas on the image.

Viewing the histogram will help. It shows the ramp on the right which is all the data in the light end of the image. By dragging the right arrow to the left to approximately where the ramp starts, you clip all that extra data and essentially remove the background coloring.

The middle (grey) triangle control the midtones of the image. You can slide it left or right to tweak areas which are midtones.

You could also adjust in a similar manner by choosing Image > Adjustments > Curves.

This is much easier for many images than trying to create a selection.

  • wow thanks scott. thats perfect. as u can probably tell im new to photoshop. but have alot of experience with computers, so im happy to learn what i can. just curious, using the Curves adjustment or the Levels adjustment does the same thing in this case. would it be the same in all cases? thnks! Jul 15, 2014 at 15:11
  • Just to add; I also find it better to greyscale the image prior to editing the levels/curves I find it just gives a nicer result as sometimes the left over colour can look harsh around the text
    – SaturnsEye
    Jul 15, 2014 at 16:06

You need better edges. In Adobe Illustrator it is called Image Trace and will allow you to reduce the numbers of colors in the image for the purpose of defining better edges for the wand tool to use. Depending on what your doing you may want to do some hand touch up of the edges.


Comparing Levels and Curves: The Levels tool can push near-whites to all-white, and near-blacks to all-black. The middle eye-dropper button will color-correct when you click on a spot that should be true mid-gray.
The Curves tool allows finer adjustments, plus contrast and overall brightness. Try both tools on the same image copy to see what you can achieve.

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