Can You Change the Color of a PNG File in Illustrator?

Editing and changing images within a program can be slightly taxing, especially if you have never done it before. This includes changing the color of a PNG file in your Illustrator program. But can you even do this? Is it possible?

Yes! You can most definitely change the color of your PNG file in your Illustrator program. There are several ways you can do it, so you don’t have to stick with the same color if you don’t want to.

There are a few ways to change the color of your PNG file. Continue reading to find the easiest way and the steps you can follow.

Can You Change the Color of a PNG File in Illustrator?

Yes, you can! But some methods necessarily don’t change the entire color of the picture but more like changing the tone of it. It depends on the method you use to change the color and the file you are editing. But changing the color is possible, though. 

How To Change The Color Of A PNG File

Changing the color of your photos isn’t too difficult, but it does depend on what type of PNG file you are trying to edit. Low resolution or transparent photos will be a little easier than high-resolution photos. Here are the steps for both.

For Low Resolution Or Transparent Photos

For low-resolution or transparent photos, you may not be able to make intricate edits. This doesn’t mean you can’t change the color, but you may not be able to change the design or the colors in specific objects within the photo. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Open up the Illustrator program.
  2. Go to “Create New.”
  3. Select “Print” and then “Letter.” 
  4. Then click on “Create.”
  5. To bring in the PNG file, click on “Place” and then the file you want to edit.
  6. Size the photo to what you want.
  7. Click on the “Links” panel to ensure that the picture is embedded (there should be a symbol next to the file name in the Links panel).
  8. If it is not embedded, click on the flyout or grid for more options, and click on “embed image(s).” Now the image should be next to the file name on this panel.
  9. Click on “Edit” at the top of the program to open the drop-down menu.
  10. Click on “Edit Colors” and then “Adjust Color Balance.”
  11. Check the box that says “Preview” to see your live edits.
  12. Once you find what you want, you can adjust the size of the photo, or you can click on “Object” then “Artboard” and “Fit to image size.” 
  13. Then save the edited photos.

It is best practice to save the edited photo with something different than the original picture. This will allow you to reuse the original photo for future edits and keep the new ones. If you don’t, the new file will override the old one, and you won’t have access to the original file anymore.

For High-Resolution Photos

Changing the color within your high resolutions is a little more complicated in the Illustrator program than if you were editing a low-resolution image. You will need to convert an image to a vector with Image Trace. Here are the steps to changing your image:

  1. Complete the first four steps for low-resolution images in Illustrator.
  2. Click on the image(s) you want to edit and drag them into the new file.
  3. Click on the image and click on the “image trace” button to convert the PNG to a vector.
  4. Go to “Window” and then “Image Trace” to fix any blurriness or other picture defects to clean up the image.
  5. You can now edit other settings through the “Image Trace” function.
  6. Once you have completed your edits, save your file.

Many of the edit options under “Image Trace” are more detailed. You can change the brushes of the image, the colors, and so much more. You can even fill in colors where there normally doesn’t have color. 

Just remember that if you are using images from Google, these are protected and should not be used in your work. There are a few pictures that you can select that are not copyrighted, or you can use clip art given by the programs. You can also find make designs on, which is a user-friendly graphic design tool alternative.


The more you play around with your images within the Illustrator program, the more you can learn to edit. As you continue to test out different settings, you will get more comfortable with the program and can do more than just change these photos’ colors.