I have been using GIMP successfully for a little while, but had no trouble with it. Now my transparent backgrounds are not transparent anymore. I go to Layer and Transparencies then to Add Alpha Channel. Then Duplicate Layer. Then I make the image black and white using Color. I use the Brightness-Contrast control. Then Invert.After this I paint whatever is needed, and I want transparent Black, and what I want opaque I paint White. Then to Edit and Cut, back to Layers and Mask, Add Layer Mask. Then I go back to Edit and Paste. When it is ready I go to file and Export As a png. When I try to use it the background is either black or white. What is my problem? I have already tried several different things to change this such as making sure that the opacity is set right and that the .Save Background Color is not checked.

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    Welcome to Graphic Design! I might break this down into a numbered list of steps (easier to follow than "then... then..."). Also a screenshot of your document's settings might help to get a good answer... May 3, 2016 at 4:17
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    Also your question seems to be a duplicate of this one. You might be able to find an answer there... May 3, 2016 at 4:23
  • Following your steps, I can't replicate the problem. You say "when I try to use it" - but you don't say how you are using it. Perhaps that's the problem. Have you tried opening the exported PNG in GIMP? Does it have transparency in GIMP, but not in the application your are using it in? Can you share the PNG file so I can have a look at it?
    – Billy Kerr
    Mar 30, 2017 at 8:57
  • Agree with @BillyKerr You have to distinguish "checking the file in a known working image viewer" (which can be your browser using File>Open) and using it in a web page from some server (where plenty of things can happen, including the server recompressing the image....). In case of doubt, re-download your image from the server, and see if it's the same file that you uploaded...
    – xenoid
    May 29, 2017 at 9:46
  • Are you by any chance importing in to LibreOffice? I had a lot of trouble recently with rotated transparent images. Straight images worked fine, but rotated images had black blobs; I reckon because LibreOffice re-interpolates the image so it can be exported as an unrotated image in the PDF. Jun 28, 2017 at 22:55

2 Answers 2


If no steps are missing from the description, then the active drawable just before the export is the layer mask. In this state, the active layer mask will be exported, which will result in a non-transparent image representing the layer mask.

In order to avoid this, make sure that a layer is active. This is done in the layers dialog by clicking on a layer - and it is noticeable by paying attention to the white outline around either the layer or the mask.


There are several common reasons this may occur:

  • Uploaded file gets converted to a non-transparent file type
  • You are inserting a smaller version of the file from your image library, which was converted to a non-transparent file type
  • CSS on website is over-riding background color for the image

Try this: - Verify file type after uploaded - Try inserting a full version of the picture (if using an image gallery) - Try a different website theme (if uploading to a CMS, like Wordpress)

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