There are many ways you can remove many types of backgrounds in Photoshop; the type we will discuss is the checkerboard background. Learning how to remove checkerboard background in Photoshop is quite easy if you follow our guide.

First, we will cover why you might see checkerboards in photos and how they might impact the image quality. Once that is over, we will tell you the tools you need to remove these backgrounds. The background removal method we will cover is one of the best and most reliable methods. So you will not have any issue with making your image look perfect from now on.

What Is A Checkerboard Background In Photoshop?

In Photoshop, a checkerboard background is a visual representation that indicates transparency in an image or layer. It appears as a pattern of alternating light and dark gray squares, similar to a checkerboard. This pattern helps users distinguish between opaque and transparent areas within an image.

When you see the checkerboard pattern in Photoshop, it signifies that the areas with the pattern are transparent, allowing the layers beneath them to show through. This element is particularly helpful when working with images with a transparent background or when creating images with transparency. In some cases you might need professional image editing services to deal with these checkerboard backgrounds.

Common Reasons for Checkerboard Background

  • Transparent Layers: If a layer has transparent areas, Photoshop shows them with a checkerboard pattern.
  • Deleted Content: If you delete parts of an image, the space becomes transparent and shows the checkerboard.
  • Layer Masks: Layer masks can reveal or hide parts of a layer, causing transparency and the checkerboard.
  • Image Formats: Some image formats, like PNG, support transparency. If saved in these formats, transparent areas show as a checkerboard.
  • Blending Modes: Certain blending modes or effects can create transparency, displaying the checkerboard where the image is see-through.

How Checkerboard Backgrounds Affect Image Quality

A checkerboard background itself doesn’t compromise image quality. In fact, it’s just a visual representation in software like Photoshop to indicate transparency. However, the issue might arise when dealing with transparent areas in the final image. Here’s how:

Compression Challenges

The compression may not handle transparency well when saving images with transparency in certain formats (like JPEG). This can lead to artifacts or a loss of detail in the transparent areas.

File Formats

Some image formats that support transparency (like GIF or PNG) may not be the best for maintaining overall image quality, especially if the image has complex details or gradients.

Background Mismatch

Suppose the image is used in a context where the background differs significantly from the intended one. In that case, the transparency might not blend seamlessly, affecting the visual appeal.

Limited Browser Support

Suppose you’re using transparent images on the web. In that case, not all browsers may fully support transparency in certain formats, potentially impacting how the image appears to users.

Editing Challenges

In some cases, editing transparent images may require careful handling to avoid unintentional changes to transparency, which could affect the final quality.

It’s essential to consider the image’s intended use and choose the appropriate file format to maintain the best possible quality, especially when transparency is involved.

Step-By-Step Guide For Removing Checkerboard Backgrounds

Step-By-Step Guide For Removing Checkerboard Backgrounds

Essential Tools for Background Removal

Removing backgrounds in Photoshop can be achieved using various tools, each with its strengths. Here are some essential tools for background removal in Photoshop:

Magic Wand Tool

Ideal for simple and solid-colored backgrounds. It selects pixels based on colour similarity, allowing you to delete or replace the selected area.

Quick Selection Tool

Offers a more advanced selection process by automatically detecting and selecting similar tones and textures. It’s great for more complex backgrounds.

Lasso Tools (Lasso, Polygonal Lasso, Magnetic Lasso)

Useful for making freehand selections. The Polygonal Lasso is excellent for straight lines, while the Magnetic Lasso helps snap to edges.

Pen Tool

Precise for detailed selections. You create paths around the object, which can then be converted into selections. It’s often used for intricate or complex shapes.

Select and Mask

Provides a refined way to adjust selections. After making a selection, this tool allows you to fine-tune edges, add feathering, and preview the selection against different backgrounds.

Remove Checkerboard Background In Photoshop Using Magic Wand

Remove Checkerboard Background In Photoshop Using Magic Wand

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide for removing checkerboard backgrounds using the Magic Wand tool in Photoshop:

Open Your Image

Launch Photoshop and open the image with the checkerboard background.

Select the Magic Wand Tool

In the toolbar on the left side, find the Magic Wand tool. It looks like a magic wand (duh).

Adjust Tool Tolerance

At the top of the screen, set the “Tolerance” in the toolbar. A lower tolerance selects fewer colors, while a higher tolerance selects more. Start with a value around 20-30.

Click on the Checkerboard

Position the Magic Wand cursor over the checkerboard area, then click on it. This should select the entire checkerboard region.

Refine the Selection

If parts of the checkerboard are not selected, hold down the Shift key and click on unselected areas to add them to the selection. Hold down the Alt/Option key while clicking if you need to subtract from the selection.

Invert the Selection

Once the checkerboard is fully selected, go to the “Select” menu at the top and choose “Inverse.” This will now select everything except the checkerboard.

Delete or Cut

Press the Delete key on the keyboard to erase the selected checkerboard region. Alternatively, you can use the Cut command (Ctrl+X on Windows, Command+X on Mac).

Deselect and Save

Finally, go to the “Select” menu and choose “Deselect” (Ctrl+D on Windows, Command+D on Mac). Save your image using the appropriate file format (e.g., JPEG) if you’re finished with the editing.

Remember to save your work periodically to avoid losing changes. This simple guide should help you remove the checkerboard background using the Magic Wand tool in Photoshop.


There are multiple reasons why you might remove a checkerboard background in Photoshop, but you can rest easy that it won’t compromise your image quality in any way. Many tools in Photoshop canMany Photoshop tools can help remove backgrounds. Still, the best and most reliable one has to be the Magic Wand. This tool and following our guide will give you an image with its background properly removed. 


Q. Can I use the Content-Aware Fill to remove the background?

Certainly! Content-Aware Fill is a powerful ally in background removal, offering smart and automated solutions for a pristine result.

Q. Is there any risk of losing image quality?

Rest assured, our guide prioritizes image quality. Follow the steps diligently, and you won’t sacrifice the visual appeal of your precious photos.

Q. Can beginners easily follow these steps?

Absolutely. Our guide is crafted with beginners in mind, providing clear and straightforward instructions to make the process accessible to all.

Q. How long does it usually take to remove the background?

The time varies based on image complexity, but our guide ensures efficiency without compromising the quality. Expect a smoother, quicker process with practice.

Q. Are there any online tools for this task?

While Photoshop reigns supreme, several online tools offer background removal services. However, Photoshop provides unparalleled control for those seeking perfection.