Freeware graphics editor - transparent bitmap, .bmp

Anyone know a freeware graphics editor, that will easily let me make part of a bitmap (.bmp) transparent?
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As far as I know theres no transparent channel, alpha channel inbuilt in the BMP file format. You need to use a GIF, PNG or other format etc. Someone else might like to confirm this.

Quite often you can get older versions of Paint Shop Pro on cover discs. I got my version of 7 free with a bulk retail pack of Blank CDR's. Its worth chasing a free version as its very useful for so many graphic tasks.

What are you trying to accomplish with the graphic. There may an alternative approach that you haven't considered.

You might want to try The Gimp (  It is an open-source graphics editor that has been around for a long time for Unix/Linux users.  However, there is a Windows version now.  It might be worth checking out.

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Spary's correct. You can't make a BMP transparent. And jjerome suggestion (gimp) is a good one.

Alternatively,  Photoshop, Fireworks and Paintshop Pro, all have trials.



Paintshop Pro

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elllvisAuthor Commented:
OK Thanks

I see your new here, so I'll give you a run down on the grading.

Grade A = You got the answer you were looking for and the people helped.
Grade B = The responces lead you to the answer you were looking for, but the people didn't try to help. ("Didn't try" means you asked for some clarification and no one bothered to respond)
Grade C = Nothing helped and you don't want to bother with asking a question in community support for the question to be deleted.

If you grade B or C, you should give an explaination why you choose such a grade.

PS, it's a shame you didn't accept jjerome00's answer (Gimp), considering it's the best freeware graphics application around. When those trials run out, you may want to give it a try.

elllvisAuthor Commented:
Yeah, sorry about that Jerome,  I wanted to share the points evenly, but I  ran out!

Gimp looked good, but it was kind of fiddly to download.  You had to download an installer, then another file, and then do a lot of other stuff, it seemed, so I didn't bother in the end.

I am using TClock2 (it's a great bit of software that lets you customise the tasbar clock and start button)

and I customised my "Start Button" on Windows XP, with a bmp.

But I wanted the button to blend into the taskbar, so I wanted to make part of the bmp transparent.  I got round it by making part of the bmp the same colour as the taskbar (blue), but its a pain if I ever want to change the taskbar colour to say, green or something.

elllvisAuthor Commented:
Can you forgive me Jerome? (*Collapses prostrate on floor, gibbering*)
Yah, I'm sure he'll forgive you. I just thought I'd mention the above because you did ask for a freeware graphics editor and if someone stumbles across this thread, they may pass by his answer without considering it.  
I'd like to add that I am experienced graphic artist and have used many packages over the years. I find the GIMP interface awkward to use, probably because I'm used to the Windows standards and GIMP doesn't adhere to that.  Windows users are likely to prefer an application like PSP or similar. As I pointed out theres often older version available for free, so your not limited just to trial versions. That siad, I think GIMP is quite powerful if you can get your head around the interface. Its is completely free of course.
Since were mentioning free graphics programs,  Pixa has got to be the coolest around. Hours of fun!

Wow, I didn't mean to start a debate over The GIMP :)

Anyway, glad to hear you solved your problem.  I'm more into solving problems than pushing any one tool.
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