I don't fully understand your dilemma. All Illustrator files have a transparent background by default.
It sounds like your issue may be with Live Trace. Try choosing "Tracing Options" from the small downward arrow in the control Panel next to the Live Trace button. When the options come up, tick the "Ignore White" box and try the tracing options you like. That should eliminate areas with white fills.
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You can go View>Show Transparency Grid in Illustrator. This will give you some reference to what is White and what shows through to Transparency. Hope this helps. I never use this view option because I have become accustom to knowing the artboard white is actually transparent. Or if there is a doubt in my mind I just make a big square of color and send it the the back of the bottom layer to see if my artwork has the correct show through/compound paths.
This helps me a lot. The white doesn't appear and I don't have to deal with deleting the color showing. I've set this as my default.
Brilliant as well!
"Showing the grid" lets me see what is transparent and what isn't.
I wish I could have given you a "Correct Answer" as well but the forum only allows for one.
Thank you for your help!!
Your Illustrator Artboard might be transparent by default, but mine certainly isn't. I have been turning myself inside out trying to work out how to export a PNG file to PowerPoint 2010. I thought that PNGs should be transparent by nature! You can't use the Web export either as the quality is too poor. No, I haven't optimized it!
Win 7, Illustrator CS5, plenty of RAM & ROM
I am having trouble with PNG transparent files also. This work is from an original EPS, so no tracing is involved. I wish to use the file in PowerPoint so I need the transparency. As I mentioned above, I thought that PNG files were natively transparent, unless you add a coloured background.
I have tried flattening the file but this does not work.
Only saving as a web file maintains the transparency, but this quality is too poor to use.
I have worked it out at last. You cannot use the export for Microsoft Office as this carries a white background with it! The only option is to use the 'Export' option and this carries a top quality transparent file. It really shouldn't have been this difficult.