How to Import an EPS With a Transparent Background in Illustrator

Written by william carne
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How to Import an EPS With a Transparent Background in Illustrator
Complex transparencies are difficult to transfer with an EPS file type. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

For various projects, it may be necessary to import transparent images into Adobe Illustrator. However, an EPS file is not a particularly effective file format for saving transparencies because it does not save "live transparencies." Instead, an EPS file flattens an image, essentially turning transparent sections of your image to a solid white. Better file types for transferring transparencies to Illustrator include PSD, GIF and PNG. However, if it's not possible to use a file other than an EPS, you may be able to create a transparency effect nonetheless.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Open Adobe Illustrator and load the design to which you want to add the EPS file.

  2. 2

    Click "File > Place" and select the EPS file from your hard drive. Position the file in the place you want. Don't worry if it doesn't appear transparent yet.

  3. 3

    Open the transparency panel from the sidebar on the right. From the drop-down menu, select "Multiply."

  4. 4

    Save your work.

Tips and warnings

  • Because EPS files do not natively carry transparencies, this tactic may not work with all images. For example, images containing a great deal of light colours, or solid whites that you do not wish to appear transparent, may not transfer properly. In such cases, consider opening the EPS file in Photoshop or a similar program and re-create a proper transparency effect. You can then save the file as a PSD, PNG or GIF to transfer into Illustrator.

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