google logo with transparency

If you’ve ever searched for a transparent image on Google, you’ve probably run across “fakes.” You save an image only to realize the checkered background is solid. Thankfully, there’s a simple little trick in Google Images to avoid this.

For those unfamiliar with this phenomenon, allow me to explain. Images that have transparency often illustrate it by using a gray and white checkered pattern. The idea is that you can see which parts of the image will be transparent before you save it.

Here’s how it plays out: You search for an image, maybe a logo with a transparent background, and you see a result like this:

google image results

It appears that the background behind the Microsoft logo will be transparent when you save the image, but here’s what it actually looks like (black border added):

image with fake transparency

The checkered pattern is the background. There’s no transparency. Here’s how to prevent that from happening.

Go to Google Images in your desktop web browser (such as Chrome or Microsoft Edge) and search for something with transparency. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work on the Google mobile site.

search for an image

Next, click “Tools” underneath the search bar.

A toolbar will expand with a few extra options. Select “Color.”

select Color

From the drop-down menu, choose “Transparent.”

select transparent

That’s it. All of the results will now be images that contain at least partial transparency.

Real transparency

Now, this photo is a truly transparent image.

transparent microsoft logo

As someone who dabbles in design, this “problem” has always bothered me. I’ve learned how to spot the fakes, but with this trick, you don’t even have to. It’s a real game-changer.

Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
Read Full Bio »