Ask A Cartographer

Maintain transparent background on bitmap picture of my logo in PDF?

March 11 2008 | 1 comment
Categories: Map Elements

My agency's logo shows up with a white box behind it when I export to PDF from ArcMap. The logo is fine on prints and exports to JPEGs. How can I keep the white box from appearing on the PDF?

To keep the image quality of the logo, I typically paste it into a Word document and then insert that document as an object.

Our logo file is attached.

Mapping Center Answer:

Unfortunately this is not supported; the raster picture elements in ArcMap do not support transparency. In fact, for a while, there was a "bug" that was causing such images to display with their transparency. It was a bug in that none of the output format options could support what was shown on the screen.

There are a couple of workarounds. First, if possible, change your logo's format to Enhanced Metafile (.EMF). Mostly the idea with that approach is that we're hoping you have a higher quality vector format version of your logo and you should be using that instead.

If making an EMF doesn't look good or cannot be done while maintaining corporate standards for logo representation quality, etc., then create a picture marker symbol from the logo. You can pick one of the bitmap image's colors to be transparent, and that will work in your PDF output.

In your case, one thing to watch for if you use the Picture Marker Symbol solution is the fuzzy drop-shadow. Yours will work fine as long as you are placing the image over something white--otherwise the non-tinted gray tones will look awkward. If that is the case, get the RGB value of the color that will be behind your logo and create the logo with that background color. This implies you will need a program like PhotoShop to make the correction.

The EMF works! posted by Jenny Reiman on Mar 13 2008 7:42AM
Thanks for your prompt response. The EMF works! We are now able to export to PDF without getting the white box behind the logo. Thanks!

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