How to Make an Image Transparent in Photoshop CS5: A Step-by-Step Guide

Making an image transparent in Photoshop CS5 is a handy skill to have and it’s easier than you might think. Basically, you’ll need to remove the background of the image and then adjust the opacity to your desired level. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to pull this off!

Step by Step Tutorial: Making an Image Transparent in Photoshop CS5

Before we begin, let’s clarify what we’re about to do. We’re going to remove the background from an image and then adjust the transparency. This is perfect for when you need to overlay an image without a clunky background getting in the way.

Step 1: Open Your Image

Open the image you’d like to make transparent in Photoshop CS5.

When you open your image, make sure it’s the one you want to work with. It helps if the background is a solid color or significantly different from the subject of the image, as this will make the next steps easier.

Step 2: Select the Background

Use the ‘Magic Wand Tool’ to select the background of the image.

Click on the background with the ‘Magic Wand Tool’. If the background isn’t selected in one go, hold down the ‘Shift’ key and click on other areas of the background until it’s fully selected.

Step 3: Delete the Background

Hit ‘Delete’ on your keyboard to remove the background.

Once you’ve hit ‘Delete’, you’ll see a checkered background which indicates transparency. If you see any remnants of the background, use the ‘Eraser Tool’ to clean it up.

Step 4: Adjust the Opacity

Go to the ‘Layers’ panel and adjust the ‘Opacity’ slider to your desired level of transparency.

As you adjust the ‘Opacity’ slider, you’ll see the image become more transparent. Play around with it until you’re satisfied with the result.

After completing these steps, you will have successfully made your image transparent. You can now save it as a PNG to preserve the transparency and use it however you need.

Tips: Enhancing Transparency in Photoshop CS5

  • Always save your transparent image as a PNG. This format supports transparency, unlike others such as JPEG.
  • Use the ‘Refine Edge’ feature to smooth out the edges of your subject after deleting the background.
  • If the ‘Magic Wand Tool’ isn’t getting it all, try the ‘Quick Selection Tool’ for better control.
  • Remember, the ‘Undo’ function is your friend. Don’t be afraid to go back a step if something doesn’t look right.
  • Experiment with different levels of opacity for various effects. Sometimes a slight transparency can give a subtle and professional touch.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make an image transparent in other versions of Photoshop?

Yes, the process is similar in most versions of Photoshop, though some of the tool names and locations might differ slightly.

What if the ‘Magic Wand Tool’ doesn’t select all of the background?

You can adjust the ‘Tolerance’ setting of the ‘Magic Wand Tool’ to select more or less of the background. Alternatively, use the ‘Quick Selection Tool’ or the ‘Pen Tool’ for more precise selections.

How do I save my image to keep the transparency?

Save your image as a PNG. This format supports transparency, while others, like JPEG, do not.

What’s the difference between opacity and fill in the Layers panel?

‘Opacity’ affects the entire layer, including any effects or styles applied. ‘Fill’ only affects the pixels, shapes, or text on a layer without influencing the layer effects.

Can I adjust the transparency of a specific part of my image?

Absolutely! Just select the area you want to adjust with any selection tool and then change the opacity for that specific area.


  1. Open Your Image
  2. Select the Background
  3. Delete the Background
  4. Adjust the Opacity


Making an image transparent in Photoshop CS5 is a breeze once you get the hang of it. With just a few simple steps, you can create sleek, professional-looking images for your website, presentation, or graphic design project. Remember, practice makes perfect. So, don’t be afraid to experiment with different tools and techniques to achieve the look you’re going for. And always remember to save your work in PNG format to maintain that crisp, clear transparency. Happy Photoshopping!

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