Is there a way to directly paste PNG images in Photoshop and keep their transparency? I don't mean dragging them, but directly pasting from, for example, a browser. Transparency is always replaced by black.


9 Answers 9


I don't think so.

I believe it's the operating system clipboard which kills the transparency so it's more of an operating system issue than an image or application issue.

  • 1
    It may or may not be an OS issue depending on OS. Under windows it would be an application issue. in that case one can only hope the application would support this in the future. Look for a browser plugin that can perhaps solve this before.
    – user7179
    Dec 5, 2012 at 23:24
  • 2
    Just curious how you see it as an application issue if applications are being switched? To me, it's clear the OS clipboard storing the data is not storing transparency when apps are changed. However, copy.pasting transparency within many apps works with no problem.
    – Scott
    Dec 5, 2012 at 23:52
  • 1
    It's up to the application to set the data object to the clipboard. Under Windows you can do this in various ways, also the sort-of "lazy" way which a lot of applications seem to utilize (which make it appear as if it's a outside problem). I have used the clipboard to store transparent images myself (programmatic) and it's not a huge thing to accomplish, but never-the-less, it's up to the application :)
    – user7179
    Dec 6, 2012 at 0:15
  • I'm under windows so it looks like an application issue. Thanks!
    – Yisela
    Dec 6, 2012 at 3:11

A bit of an old topic but thought I would contribute...

I normally save the image and open in PS however I found a better solution today. It's still a bit of a pain but at least you won't have temporary image files and also saves the hassle of browsing to the file itself.

Simply right click and copy image URL (or similar), or copy the address bar link if you used "view image" in Google search.

In PS, go to Open... and then paste the URL in the File name box and click open.

Note that this technique will only work on Windows currently - OSX has no option to open URL directly from an open dialog window.

  • 1
    I use this method exclusively
    – joojaa
    Sep 27, 2016 at 11:43
  • This is best solution to OP's question for trying to get a copy of an image from example browser. Please mark as correct answer if possible or mods?
    – dvnkiss
    Oct 28, 2016 at 11:04
  • @Yisela - I believe this works for you and no plug instead required. Perhaps a better resolution? If so, please mark as best answer. Thanks.
    – mattb
    Sep 15, 2017 at 15:48
  • Note that this technique does not work on OS X; there is no field in a file dialog where a URL can be pasted.
    – Phrogz
    Oct 4, 2017 at 14:29

There is a plugin for Firefox: Open with photoshop that does what you want, and actually does some of the work for you.

The way it works is: You right click an image and choose "Open in photoshop", and that is exactly what happens ( Not to mention pngs maintain their transparency ).

  • It does work pretty well, though it doesn't open up the images 100% of the time ( at least on mac/cs6 ).

  • It also has a feature to open background images.

  • I'm a bit reluctant to switch from Chrome (its inspector is simply amazing), but it's good to know there is an extension to do so. Maybe I can find a similar one for this browser. Thanks!
    – Yisela
    Dec 6, 2012 at 3:13
  • @yisela I did try to check if chrome had similar extension when I made my answer, but seems like there isn't one. -- I kinda have it the other way. I feel more comfortable using firebug. one thing is that I like the way firebug tells you about javascript errors. I think that firebug is way more straight forward with that ( ...or it could be that I just don't get chrome.. ).
    – Joonas
    Dec 6, 2012 at 9:30
  • "Open with photoshop" is now available for Chrome. However, I can't get it to work. And according to the reviews, no one else can either.
    – Ghost Echo
    Jun 24, 2015 at 20:20
  • @GhostEcho It has been available for quite a long time now and I've heard similar complaints ever since it was released. It's odd that they haven't been able to make it better for chrome. I haven't had a need too use either version, because the good old clipboard copying started working for pngs again like some years ago .
    – Joonas
    Jun 24, 2015 at 21:08

The easiest way to do this would be to save a copy of the PNG and then open it in Adobe Photoshop. This preserves the transparency.

The downfall of this method is that you would have to remember to delete the file afterwords, if you don't want to keep it. Alternatively you could download it to the temp folder.

  • 2
    In OS X I keep a shortcut to the hidden temp folder accessible for these kinds of routine tasks. Save into /tmp, drag it over to your editor (Quicksilver makes this painless for me), create your new file, and forget all about that original that's going to get wiped anyway. Dec 6, 2012 at 17:36

It is a Photoshop issue.

You can copy and paste from your browser to Powerpoint and even Microsoft word and it will retain transparency all day long. Mac or PC.

Again, it is just Adobe doing a piss poor job on supporting usability again.


Easier way to do this:

  1. Copy the URL link to the PNG image
  2. In Photoshop, hit File > Place Embedded ...
  3. Paste the copied link into the File name field

Photoshop grabs the image and embeds it as a smart object layer with all transparency preserved.

  • Placed in an action, this could be a one button operation. Pretty smart!
    – PieBie
    Jan 15, 2019 at 13:37

people are saying that clipboard deletes the transparancy, but that is not true. Pasting the image into Powerpoint works fine.

So this must be a Photoshop problem


Whatever I did, PS still would not open the PNG file in a transparent background. I ended up using an online PNG to JPG converter. A little trouble, but it works.

  • Hi harry, I'm not exactly sure how an online converter would aid in the problem in the question. Could you edit your question and add why you think this is a good solution?
    – PieBie
    Jan 15, 2019 at 13:39

The easiest way is to save it as png file into you pc then open it in Ai from there you copy and paste in Ps and just eliminate the background in Ps.

  • 2
    Why the way over AI to PS? What is the advantage of that? Please explain better what you mean.
    – Mensch
    Mar 14, 2016 at 17:58
  • Agree with @Alejandro here - using an additional program to complete the end result creates an unnecessary additional step.
    – mattb
    Oct 4, 2017 at 14:53

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