I have noticed that the PDF of some of the books have vector graphics with tranparancy feature, which is very illustrative. Could someone tell me what the format of these graphics could be?

I was researching online and found out that EPS cannot encapsulate transparency and therefore it should be other formats. In my LaTeX manuscript, I would like to use vector graphics with transparency. My ultimate goal is to be able to submit to scientific journals. Since journals ask for figures in separate files, what format is generally used for vector graphics with transparency? Has someone had this experience before?

  • I fear this question is off topic as it has nothing to do with LaTeX. If you want to produce transparent images with help of LaTeX, search this side for "tikz opacity" or "ps-tricks opacity" or similar. If you try to do it externally (inkscape, Gimp) make sure to export your result as png and it will keep its transparency. If you want to keep it a vector, SVG would be a good point to start and then exported to PDF.
    – LaRiFaRi
    Jul 17, 2014 at 6:55
  • PDF format can have vectorial graphics and transparency. You can generate this kind of graphics programatically using tikz, or using a GUI app such as inkscape.
    – JLDiaz
    Jul 17, 2014 at 8:47

2 Answers 2


EPS (PostScript) itself cannot show transparencies. But it is no problem to convert an EPS image to PDF (which will already be the default) before printing such a document. Log speech short sense: Use eps or pdf images and create a PDF document and everything will be fine. \usepackage{epstopdf} will convert EPS images on-the-fly


I have found it best to use PDF as my image format in LaTex docs.

There are a couple of other options, EPS will be able to be converted within latex while you compile, and there are also packages that convert SVG... For the sake of simplicity I would stick to PDF files as your import media.

Inkscape will allow you to build PDFs and also export LaTex TIKZ code... though I found this to be flaky.

I've also found that the journal accepted image formats tend to be terrible, so check with your publishing journal first. They often only accept nasty raster formats from my experience... Good luck!

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