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Did You Know You Can Copy and Paste Images Directly into Gmail?

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When reader Artem wrote in with this tip, I was pretty surprised—turns out you can paste images from the clipboard directly into Gmail with Ctrl+V or the context menu… but only in Firefox 4 at the moment. In Google Chrome, it works a little differently.

Update: after doing a little more testing, seems like if you do this in Firefox, this might not make it through to the receiver properly in some or all cases. It does appear to work with Chrome, however.

Copy and Paste in Firefox

Update: This Doesn’t Work Right. Skip down to the Chrome section.

If you’re in Firefox, you can take a screenshot with the print screen key, with a third-party utility, or with the built-in Snipping Tool in Windows 7 or Vista. Or you can even right-click an image in any browser and choose “Copy Image”.

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Then you can either Ctrl+V or right-click and choose Paste…

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And just like that, the image will be in your new email.

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Copy and Paste in Google Chrome

In Google Chrome, it works a little differently—you can’t copy an image from the clipboard, but you can copy images within Chrome. Just right-click on any image, choose “Copy image”…

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And then you can paste it directly into Gmail.

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Hopefully it’ll all work seamlessly between all browsers at some point in the future. At least you can drag and drop images to Gmail from most modern browsers.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 04/7/11

Comments (15)

  1. 1010111

    I tried this yesterday, but the email received by receiver somehow didn’t show the image, and it didn’t have a link that say “click this to display images”

  2. Artem Russakovskii

    Actually, it looks like there may still be a problem here – the images indeed get slightly messed up on the recipient’s side which prevents them from showing up. I’ve updated my post about it with some details and there’s additional discussion here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2418188.

  3. Artem Russakovskii

    The reason it works in Chrome is because in Chrome when you select Copy image, it actually just copies the url, so when you paste it, it just makes an <img> tag with the src parameter as that url.

    In Firefox, the image is actually copied and pasted as an inline encoding of it, which Firefox or Gmail then proceed to screw up.

    So, in Chrome, all you’re doing is basically sending an image linked to wherever you tried to copy it from, which means if it gets deleted or isn’t publicly accessible, it won’t show up in the email.

  4. imkhalid

    @Artem Russakovskii

    u r right google chrome is the only one supporting this thing

  5. Barry

    iClippy.com works good for me.

  6. cam2644

    I can insert a downloaded image directly into the email from the compose toolbar which is so much easier. I use Firefox 4 and Zoho Mail but it works with Gmail too.
    All recipients have received them

  7. Chris4

    Firefox users just need to highlight the image > copy, then paste it into an email.

  8. Orks

    Chrome does not work pasting a picture from the clipboard directly to the email body. The only way i can do this today is by dragging it from the Windows Explorer, which is a kind of a hassle.
    I usually capture pictures with Snagit, copy it to clipboard but it’s not enough. I have to save the picture to a folder, open that folder and drag the picture to the poing in the email body.
    Outlook works fine with just using ctrl-V to paste it from clipboard.
    When i first say this thread, i thought we had something new but, unfortunately, so far, nothing new here.
    Orks

  9. Ms Max

    Hello, this method of copy/pasting an image from anywhere online and then opening a blank email in gmail and clicking paste, works great in IE9, and IE 8, too. Why do you say it only works in Firefox 4??
    In fact, the feature of copying an image from online directly into any of my PC folders by simply clicking paste in that folder only works if your image came from Internet Explorer, which is why I keep ending up keeping my browser as IE. Neither Firefox nor Chrome allow you to just COPY some image from online and opening a folder on your computer and hitting PASTE. In both Firefox and Chrome when you go to hit paste it’s greyed out, but if your image comes from IE than pasting into a folder works instantly.

  10. Leon Soles

    I’ve used copy and paste to insert an image into Hot Mail from Internet Explorer 6 through 8, as well as Firefox 4 back through several versions. I think I have done it with Gmail also, but am not sure. I haven’t tried it with Chrome, though.

    What I do now, is to print from any of those three browsers to a PDF maker, such as the free Nitro PDF Reader or free Adobe Acrobat. In the file menu of IE 8, I’m not sure about earlier versions, there is the “Export as PDF” feature. Whatever is on the screen is exported to your default PDF. Document or image. Then you can email that file as a PDF document. On browsers without this feature, click on print setup and make sure that you are offered a choice of printers. You should see a list of your regular printer such as Canon, H.P. and so on, as well as your PDF Printer. This one prints your image or document to a file, and then you can print it out on paper, file it or email it as a document.

  11. MiniMe

    If I got it right, this is something I’ve been doing for ages on yahoo mail. You can copy any image like you do with texts using ctrl+c ctrl+v, on the same browser (I prefer mozzila, not sure it wasn’t possible on other browsers), and this way send lots of images that if, were attached, would make the message much heavier. Instead of ctrl+c, ctrl+v, you can just click on the image and select copy with the right button.

  12. Bob

    I have been an avid user of Firefox with Google Mail for a long time. I loved the fact that I could highlight a picture or entire page in one e-mail copy using ctl+ c then simply paste it using ctl+v into another e-mail message. I have done this for a very long time

    Unfortunately, about two days ago, I started having a problem. The images show up in the message all formatted and perfect. Then I send them and viola the images are gone, nothing there.
    It only started happening in the past two days.

    Any ideas why this happened now when it has been working properly with the same browser, same platform, same mail service after all this time?

  13. SWETA

    I TRIED IT MANY TIMES. BUT IN MY MAIL ID THERE IS NO SUCH OPTION TO PASTE THE IMAGE.SO PLEASE KINDLY SAY HOW TO PASTE THE IMAGE

  14. mandy

    works best. thanks a lot for this tip.
    im using chrome on mac pro.

  15. adboy68

    In order to utilize in Firefox you need to use the compose bar “Insert Image” icon.
    When copying a photo, make sure you right click on “Copy Image Location” and not “Copy Image.”

    Then just paste the address into the pop-up box that appears after clicking on Insert Image in Gmail (in the new version, it is just a small picture that looks like a portrait.)

    Worked for me.

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