Which File Formats can Produce a Transparent Background?

There are ample reasons why you would want to use a transparent file. Maybe you want to create that perfect collage for your friend. Or layer one image over the other to make them look cool. Perhaps you want to change the backdrop of your image to make it appear more Instagram-savvy. However, not every file type can have a transparent background. Hence, this article will tell you all you need to know about which file formats can produce a transparent background.

Which file formats can produce a transparent background

There are four major file formats that are known to support or provide a transparent background: 

  • GIF (Graphic Interchange Format).
  • PNG (Portable Network Graphic).
  • TIFF (Tagged Image File Format).
  • BMP (Bitmap).

You must be thoroughly versed in the first two formats. GIFs have become a very famous file format across all smart devices. And PNG is a name you might have heard of or read while downloading images from the web.

But the remaining two are not that well known.

Hence, without wasting any more time, let’s understand these four formats in detail so that you can decide which one suits your purpose the best.

What is Transparent Background? Why Do you need one?

Before moving on to the file formats, let’s understand what transparency exactly means in terms of images.

A transparent image will always have a main icon or object in focus, while the background of the file will always look like the color that you place that image on.

Hence, when you put that image on a colored background, it adapts that color while the object in focus remains the same.

Similarly, when you place it on another image or element, it blends in seamlessly with that to give you a wholesome experience.

Coming to its importance, unlike a file with a stock background, a transparent file provides you with more flexibility of use.

For example, if you use a transparent file of a logo, you can change its size to accommodate different documents like Office banners and business cards. Other than this, you can place it anywhere on your website, and it will look pristine and distinguished everywhere.

What are GIF, PNG, TIFF, and BMP, and their uses?

Now that you know what transparency is in terms of files and images, how about we understand the different formats?

So that you can choose the suitable format for your requirement.


The Graphic Interchange Format is a raster file. It was designed originally for showcasing basic images on the internet. And is widely recognized for its support and portability with different types of applications and Operating systems.

The GIF can support up to 8 bits per pixel for each image and allows animation. They also provide designers with a 24-bit Color Space to choose from.

GIFs are mainly used for web graphics and logo designs, but nowadays, they have also become a massive part of the online meme culture.

You can use them for graphics like charts, buttons, and short animations. Owing to their compression technique, GIFs deliver fast loading and support transparency. And their animations keep frames and timing information in a single file to make your task easier.


Portable Network Graphic files are an evolution of GIFs that can handle graphics better with transparent or semitransparent backgrounds. This is another raster file that is famous for not being patented. Hence, anyone can use or edit a PNG file without the need for licensing.

Furthermore, PNGs are a move away from the limited features on offer by GIFs. For example, it has a wide array of colors to choose from when compared to the 256-color pallet on offer by GIFs.

Although these file types don’t support animation, they deliver a higher-quality image and are used for making logos (especially with transparent backgrounds) and web graphics.

So, if you want to create smaller images and retain their originality when compressed, you should opt for a PNG file. They offer better readability when compared to GIF and JPEG and are supported by major browsers and Operating Systems.


Tag Image File Format is a level beyond the small compression of PNG files. These raster files are known and recommended for storing high-quality images before editing and printing.

Originally created with the intention of desktop publishing, TIFFs are known to retain high-quality data because of their loose compression. This means that when you convert or save your file as a TIFF, it will not lose its original quality, as might be the case with PNG or GIF.

Therefore, TIFFs were earlier recommended for print publication and are now becoming popular in the digital medium as well. TIFFs can be used to design high-quality images and scan images and documents.

However, this file type takes up a lot of space and can only be accessed by premium applications like Adobe Photoshop.


Bitmap is entirely different from the other types discussed above. This type of file uses bits of 1 and 0 to store the data of your image. Hence, a bitmap is quite literally a map of bits that turns into your image when rendered on the computer.

BMP is one of the most recommended files for edition because it is built pixel-by-pixel. Hence, BMP allows you to edit a single pixel of your image.

Although, one major setback of BMP is that they don’t rescale. When zoomed in, they become blocky and blurry and lose clarity when reduced.


Finding or creating a file with transparent background can be a little tricky and challenging sans the right tools. But with the proper knowledge of which file formats can produce a transparent background, you can work your way around anything.