I need to know how to (1) make a vector image transparent AND (2) I only want the letters and the symbol to show up without the white background. I want to export it as a .png. Any help?
Unless you added a white background, it will be transparent. view >> show transparency grid.
You can also do a file >> save for web >> png, and you will see your transparent background there, adn be able to add a matte color if needed.
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