Save figure with transparent background color in Plots.jl

Is there a way to save a figure with transparent background color in Plots.jl? pyplot can do that by transparent=True.

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Yes: background_color = :transparent. You might also need to set your foreground_color to :black, because otherwise the axes and grid lines seem to come out white for some reason.


@sswatson Thank you for the help.

It seems to work for .png but not for .pdf.

I tried the following code and got nice png and black background pdf.

using Plots
p=plot([1,2,3], background_color=:transparent, foreground_color=:black)
savefig(p, "test.png") # work nicely
savefig(p, "test.pdf") # not work
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Looks like a GR issue. Both PDF and PNG work for me with the PyPlot backend.

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@sswatson Oh, that is right. Thank you!!

Works in plain GR:

julia> using GR
julia> plot([1,2,3])
julia> savefig("test.png")
julia> savefig("test.pdf")

Both files are transparent.

So, it’s a problem in the Plots gr backend code.

Yes—I should have said an issue with the GR backend, not necessarily GR per se.

Presumably what’s happening is that the color :transparent—which is an RGBA black with an alpha value of zero—is being passed to GR in such a way that the alpha value gets lost. I suppose this means that Plots.jl isn’t adhering to the GR interface for fill color opacities, at least when it comes to the background color.

Is there a way to save a plot with transparent background to a pdf file?

Have you tried pgfplotsx() backend?

nope. I didn’t know this backend… Is this backend new? I am on julia 1.6.1, and I don’t see it there. Should I upgrade?

Older than 1 year, for sure.

So why do I get this?


ArgumentError: Package PGFPlotsX not found in current path:
- Run `import Pkg; Pkg.add("PGFPlotsX")` to install the PGFPlotsX package.

using Plots first please, and what version?

Of course that I did using Plots
and the version is [91a5bcdd] Plots v1.25.0.

Of course you did. In order to use pgfplotsx() backend it seems that one has to install first the package PGFPlotsX.jl, and to have a LaTeX installation (MikTeX or other).

I have latex installed.
I tried this package, but I still get a black background.
This is my plot:

plot(x, sin.(x), background_color=:transparent)

This creates a PDF with no black background:

using Plots; pgfplotsx()

How do you distinguish in such PDF a transparent background from a white background?

You may try also:

plot(sin, background_color=RGBA(1,1,1,0))

I tried both and it does not work for me.
To really check the background color, I add the file to a keynote slide, and I see that the background is white.

From this issue, pyplot() backend might be your best bet.

I see. Thanks!
I see there is some issue with pyplot that I have to solve. But once I manage that I will test and update!