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If I'm working on a document in Photoshop and I want to drop in an image by dragging the file from Windows explorer into the open Photoshop document, I can do that. It inserts the dropped image in a sort of "placement" mode until I finalize by pressing 'Enter'.

The problem is, it doesn't insert the image at the image's actual size. It's generally smaller. Sure I can scale it once after dropping it in but that's not very accurate. In order to get the image to go into the document at its correct size I first have to open it in Photoshop as its own document (for example, dropping it into an empty area of the Photoshop window), and then drag that as a layer into the document I'm working on. This feels more like a workaround than a solution/answer.

How can I drop in an image file into an open Photoshop document without it inserting it into the document at the incorrect size?

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I can't suggest a better way but I can suggest a slight improvement - you can open the image directly into photoshop, double click will do it, then select and right click the background layer and select Duplicate Layer, it'll give you the option to duplicate it to any other file you have open, and retain it's original size. –  Dominic Jun 21 '13 at 3:28
Thanks, but that's still more work than my workaround, which simply dragging it into Photoshop and then dragging it into the document. My method is two steps. I was hoping for a one-step method that didn't alter the size. –  vertigoelectric Jun 21 '13 at 6:47
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1 Answer

This is because of the difference in PPI between the image you are placing and the PPI of your document.

Here I've placed a 350 PPI image on a 72 PPI document:

Example PPI placement mismatch

But if I place the same image on a 350 PPI document (same pixel dimensions, compare the rulers of each document):

Example correct PPI placement

How you can fix this:

You can edit the PPI of your image. This is stored in the EXIF data. You can use a program like IrfanView (under Resolution in the Image Properties)

IrfanView Screenshot

This method is probably more of a pain than it would be to open up the image in Photoshop then copy and paste it into your document, but I was not able to find a way to prevent Photoshop from behaving this way (perhaps someone else will prove me wrong!)

Image Credit: Jens Wilmer

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I appreciate your efforts but that is definitely more work than it's worth, especially when it's much easier to just drop it into Photoshop as its own document and then moving it as a layer to the document I want to put it in. It's really not even that big of a deal, but it does seem unnecessary. Although it makes me wonder, if it's a DPI issue, then why does the 'workaround' I mentioned work? –  vertigoelectric Jun 20 '13 at 4:48
@vertigoelectric I'd only be guessing at this point, by my speculation would be that the clipboard does not store any PPI information so Photoshop has no choice but to place the image pixel-for-pixel –  JohnB Jun 20 '13 at 10:10
Except I'm not using the clipboard. I'm not copying and pasting. I'm just dragging and dropping. I drop the file into Photoshop so it opens as its own document. I then drag it from that document to my intended target document and drop it. –  vertigoelectric Jun 20 '13 at 14:21
@vertigoelectric whoops, I misread your workaround (my method is always to copy and paste). Really, I can't give you an accurate answer to that. I would still assume that the principle is the same, though: PPI information isn't transferred when dragging layers from one document to another. –  JohnB Jun 20 '13 at 14:54
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