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Changing 'background contents' setting in existing PS document?

New Here ,
May 22, 2017 May 22, 2017

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When creating a new Photoshop file you are able to select either white, black or transparent as the documents background. Is there a way to change this after the fact in an existing document? I'm not after other methods - I need to do this for an action.

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Community Expert , May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017

One additional point to add to the correct answers above.

If you want to change the background to be transparent, as opposed to a pixel colour, or even use the eraser tool on it to make part of it transparent - then you will need to change it from a "background layer" to a normal layer (Layer 0). To do this click on the lock symbol in the layers panel.

Dave

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Community Expert ,
May 22, 2017 May 22, 2017

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Hi. If the background is a separate layer just fill that layer with the color or erase it the pixels for getting transparency. Otherwise, you need first manually select the background.

Marlon Ceballos.

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Community Expert ,
May 22, 2017 May 22, 2017

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Selecting the Background Layer, setting Foreground Color and filling (or changing the Background Layer to a regular one and removing it) should work out fine in an Action.

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Community Expert ,
May 23, 2017 May 23, 2017

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One additional point to add to the correct answers above.

If you want to change the background to be transparent, as opposed to a pixel colour, or even use the eraser tool on it to make part of it transparent - then you will need to change it from a "background layer" to a normal layer (Layer 0). To do this click on the lock symbol in the layers panel.

Dave

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Explorer ,
Nov 19, 2019 Nov 19, 2019

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With newer versions of PSD (2020, for sure), select your artboard using the Artboard tool.  Up in the top bar — right side of Size, Width, Height —is a dropdown from which you can select Transparent, White, Black, or Other…; that's your background canvas setting for the document.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 13, 2021 Jan 13, 2021

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You have just saved me so much time!! Thank you so much!

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New Here ,
Jan 23, 2023 Jan 23, 2023

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You save my life too! Thanks!

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New Here ,
Jun 07, 2023 Jun 07, 2023

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This answer should be updated and pinned as the answer. Exactly what I was looking for, the previous answer was such a basic answer with 1 upvote, whereas this has 10 upvotes.

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New Here ,
Oct 04, 2023 Oct 04, 2023

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So helpful. Thank you! 

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Participant ,
May 05, 2023 May 05, 2023

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In Photoshop Version 24 (year 2023) for Mac, the command you use to set the document background for a regular document (not an artboard) when you create it is found in the File > New window under the name Background Contents.  However, if you are working on a document and do not like the background you chose, you can change it for that document (on Mac) in Apple icon > Settings > Transparency & Gamut (I believe the setting command is named Preferences in Windows.) 

 

Here, you can change both the size of the boxes in the transparency grid and their color, or choose a solid color in place of the transparency grid.

Screenshot 2023-05-05 at 12.21.48 PM.jpg

Tip:  White backgrounds on my display screen bother my eyes, and I just discovered that changing these settings to the ones shown above knock down the brightness of the transparent canvas noticeably without making it harder to see the contents of Layers panel thumbnails.

Note:  If you only want to change the background contents for one file, you will need to go back and change the default in Settings (Preferences) at some point.

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