Make a Background of an Image Transparent on Windows for Free

Often times you’ll have an image, perhaps a logo, that you want to use on a website, and you’ll want that image to have a transparent background.  Here’s how to make an image have a transparent background using a free drawing program called (note this solution works on Windows only).

1. Download and Install

First, you’ll have to download and install if you don’t already have it.  It’s available for free or for $7.99 from the Microsoft Store.

2. Install the Grim Color Reaper Plugin

Next, you’ll need a plug-in curiously named the “Grim Color Reaper” (don’t ask me why it’s called that).  Download it, unzip the file, and copy the .dll file to your desktop for now.

You install this plug-in simply by copying the .dll file into the “effects” directory where was installed.  In most computers, that directory is here: C:\Program Files\Paint.NET\Effects.

3. Open the Image

After it’s copied, re-start and open the file that you want to make transparent.

4. Apply the Grim Color Reaper

Now, in, select Effects -> Color -> Grim Color Reaper.  You’ll see a preview of the image, with the transparent parts with a grey checkerboard pattern.  In this case, the default settings are wrong; the image is transparent and the background is opaque (that might be okay with your image though).  If it is not correct, select “Secondary Color” in the “What Color?” pulldown.  You might also need to play around with the “Color tolerance” and “Consider transparent..” sliders to get the desired results with your particular image or logo.

5. Save

When you get the opaque areas that you want, save the file as a .png.

This is really useful for logos and such.  Let me know about your experiences or comments!

– Brian


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9 years ago

The 2010 & 2013 versions of PowerPoint also have this feature … many people have this Microsoft software on their computers and don’t know this trick! YOU HAVE A GREAT SITE.

9 years ago

Wow Brian! Thank you SO much for your post! It was so easy and simple to understand….and worked perfectly! :)

9 years ago

This is simply the best!