How To Save A Transparent PNG with Inkscape

In today’s tutorial I’ll be demonstrating how you can use Inkscape to generate a PNG file with a transparent background from a graphic you made.

At first you may assume that the best way to do this is to go to File > Save As, and choose to save it as a Cairo PNG. However, that method does not work because it does not output the file with a transparent background.

Inkscape: Saving As Transparent PNG

Open up the Export menu by going to File > Export PNG Image (or press Shift + Control + E)

Export PNG Image

The Inkscape Export menu will open either in its own window or docked to the side of your screen. It will look something like this…

Inkscape Export Menu

The first thing we have to do is define the export area. Inkscape gives us 4 options…

  • Page – This will export all objects within the page borders. Everything outside of the page borders will be excluded.
  • Drawing – This exports the entire canvas — including objects both inside and outside of the page border.
  • Selection – Export whatever object you currently have selected with the Select tool (this is what I commonly use and recommend myself if you’re looking to save a transparent PNG file of a logo or some other individual graphic.)
  • Custom – Define your own export area using the X and Y coordinates of the document.

Next, we have to set the DPI. This should already be correct by default. If you’re using Inkscape version 0.92 or later, the default is 96 dpi. If you’re using an earlier version, the default is 90 dpi. You can double check this yourself though by checking the size of the graphic in the Export menu and making sure it matches the actual size of the graphic on your canvas.

Finally, choose a destination to save your transparent PNG to by clicking the Export As button, name your file whatever you’d like, then click Export.

Transparent PNG made with Inkscape

Your Transparent PNG file should now be ready to go! Check the folder where you saved it for confirmation.

A Brief Warning…

If you’re exporting your PNG based on the selection option, be forewarned that everything within the bounding box of the selection will be exported with it, so make sure your graphic is moved far enough away from all other objects.

Bounding box
Since the red circle is intersecting with the boudning box around the logo, that intersecting area will also be exported.

Video Tutorial

For a more in-depth explanation of how to save transparent PNG files with Inkscape, watch the video tutorial below where I demonstrate exactly how to do it:

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13 thoughts on “How To Save A Transparent PNG with Inkscape

  1. I have a white logo with no outline color. I have the background of my document set as checkerboard and exported the selected logo as a png. When checking the file, it is all white. So my question is, how do I export my white logo as a png so I can have a transparent background?

  2. Hello Nick, I recently ran into an issue that I was hoping you had a possible resolution for.

    I am exporting my vector logos (2 in particular) following the directions you’ve explained and when I view these images on a cell phone (I’ve tried both on Android and iPhone), my png has a black background and I am not able to view my png with a transparent background. The same applies when I view it in my computer only instead of a black background, the background is white instead of being checkered/transparent.

    I was hoping that you would be able to help me resolve this issue and would appreciate any assistance you can provide if any at all.

    1. There’s a black background because that’s the default background your phone uses. Your computer uses a white background by default. The background is still transparent regardless.

      1. Thank you, is it safe to say then for demonstrative purposes when I am showing a client a design I have created for them should I add a contrasting color background so they can properly see it ?

          1. Okay, it’s so strange how when I download a png image from google that has a checkered transparent background, it appears on my phone with a checkered transparent background. But when I export a png that I have created in inkscape the background appears black or white depending in what I am using to view it. I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my inquiries and helping me understand. I hope you have a great rest of your day Nick.

          2. A lot of those PNGs from Google Images have the checkerboard as the background design. So the background isn’t really transparent, the designer manually added it.

  3. Thank you, I couldn’t work out how to export to png. Your tutorial makes it easy to understand.

    Thank you
    George T.

  4. I’ve exported a transparent inkscape png file to powerpoint, but when I export the powerpoint slide to a pdf, the png becomes encased in the bounding box and is no longer truly transparent. Any recommendations?

    1. I’m not sure. As long as the PNG file exported from Inkscape has a transparent background, Inkscape has done its job. Sounds like a PowerPoint problem and I’m not sure why unfortunately. I’m not very familiar with it.

  5. Just a heads up: There’s a checkbox underneath the export button saying ‘Hide all except selected’ which will allow you to export the selection even when there’s stuff underneath it, without showing up in the exported png.

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