PhD: Portable Network Graphics Lose Transparency in Web Browser

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Article ID: 265221 - View products that this article applies to.
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If you save an image with a transparent background in Portable Network Graphics (PNG) format and then open the image inside Microsoft Internet Explorer or another Web browser, the image background may appear to be gray rather than transparent.

NOTE: The image background appears to be transparent when you open the image inside Microsoft Picture It! 2000, Microsoft PhotoDraw 2000, or Microsoft Photo Editor.


This behavior can occur if you enable the True Color option when you save an image in PNG format in PhotoDraw 2000.

Internet Explorer versions 4.0 and later support transparent backgrounds in PNG images only if you save the image with a 256 color palette.


To preserve the transparent image background in Internet Explorer:

  1. Start PhotoDraw 2000.
  2. Create or open an image.
  3. On the File menu, click Save As.
  4. In the Save as Type box, click Portable Network Graphics.
  5. Click Options.
  6. In the Convert to box, click Palette.
  7. In the Color palette box, click Optimal palette.
  8. Click to select the Save transparency check box, and then click OK.
  9. Click Save.
NOTE: If you open an image that you saved by using this procedure in Netscape Navigator, the quality of the image may appear degraded, and the image background may not be transparent.


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed at the beginning of this article.


Transparencies in PNG images are achieved by using an alpha channel.

The PNG alpha channel can associate a variable level of transparency with each pixel in a PNG picture, known as per-pixel-transparency. Any area of the picture can be fully or partially transparent, or fully opaque.

Internet Explorer 4.0 or later does not support per-pixel-transparency for PNG pictures. Transparency can only be applied to the picture as a whole or through the use of colormap or palette-based images (where the color of a pixel is defined by a lookup table). This provides equivalent results as can be achieved with GIF-based pictures.

There is a workaround available that is recommended for developers who are creating Windows-specific content or applications through CSS Filters and Transitions. For more information, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
NOTE: The PNG file specification was released as a World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recommendation on October 1, 1996.

For more information on the PNG file format, visit the following W3C Web site:


Article ID: 265221 - Last Review: July 19, 2007 - Revision: 3.3
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 128-Bit Edition
  • Microsoft PhotoDraw 2000 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft PhotoDraw 2000.2 Standard Edition
kbbug kbconversion kbdisplay kbpending KB265221
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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