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?

  • 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. Commented Jun 21, 2013 at 6:47

6 Answers 6


I think I found an answer to

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

Turn the following options OFF:

Edit > Preferences > General

I recognize that this question is a couple years old, but if anyone else found that this worked for them, let me know (I did a few tweaks but I think this is the one that made it work for me)

  • 1
    I appreciate your answer, however I already have these options turned off and it still inserts it at the incorrect size. Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 4:18
  • Thanks! I had the same problem in CS5. Updating my preferences to the settings listed above totally helped! Thanks again!
    – user49088
    Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 18:44
  • Resize Image During Place was enough for me. But make sure that ppi of the image and the document match. Also, if you're placing a screenshot from a browser under Windows, do note that browsers generally respect Windows display scaling.
    – x-yuri
    Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 14:40
  • This doesn't work for me. I get better results when first opening the image in Paint, then copying and pasting it across into Photoshop. My workaround gives me a new layer without any automatic resizing or the image being in Transform mode as soon as it appears. I would like to be able to bypass Paint and import new images directly into Photoshop though. Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 15:05

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

  • 2
    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? Commented Jun 20, 2013 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
    Commented Jun 20, 2013 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. Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 14:21
  • 1
    @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
    Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 14:54
  • It's rather the way Photoshop works. You can place an image to a document using menu (File > Place...). Similarly, you can duplicate image's layer to the document in the other tab using Photoshop UI (context menu in the Layers panel). I don't see how Photoshop can't know image's ppi in these cases.
    – x-yuri
    Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 14:59

To resolve this issue, I did the following: Edit> image size Select "Resample": Preserve Details

change "Resolution:" to 72 for both images ( I used 72, but as long as both images are the same here it should be fine)

hope this can help

...also, under view, I select "print size" to see the actual onscreen size (for this to work, make sure Edit > Preferences > Units & Rulers has the correct Screen Resolution for your screen (PPI based on horizontal pixels, vertical pixels and diagonal size of your screen...lookup Display PPI Calculator to figure it out)

  • Why resampling when you need to change ppi? You can uncheck "Resample" checkbox.
    – x-yuri
    Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 15:02

The easiest fix I've come up with is after dropping your file in, while it is selected, scale it with the percentages on top. Keep them restrained to one another and adjust for the percent difference in PPI. 300 -> 72 is 416.66, for instance.

  • 1
    Is there a way to scale using pixels instead of percentages? Percentages have too much guess work involved for precise editing.
    – aaronth07
    Commented Apr 12, 2019 at 0:26
  • @aaronth07 have you tried opening your image in Paint first, then copying and pasting it into your already open Photoshop document? I find it works perfectly and takes less than five seconds. The result is pixel perfect, with no possibility of any resizing happening. Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 15:07

I have the same issue but I got a fix. I didn't use the Ctrl+Shift+Alt+S while saving the the file as PNG or JPEG. Just use the regular Save As using Ctrl+Shift+S. I chose the Smallest fize size in the pop up menu and still not losing the original size of the PNG. I'm using Photoshop 21.2.1. Hope this helps. Take note that the image to be drop or place should be the same ppi with the canvas.


This is a guide based on the newer versions of Photoshop (not CS5), however this issue exists in the newer versions as well, and this page is the google's goto for this topic, so this seems justified.

  1. Paste the image as smart object. For that you can do one of these steps (there are probably other ways):

    • Enable File > Preferences > General > Always Create Smart Objects When Placing option and drag the image from Explorer to Photoshop.
    • Use File > Place Linked and select your image there.
  2. Select the image layer in the Layers window.

  3. Click the "revert button" (pictogram to the right of Transform) in Properties window.

  4. Press Convert to Layers (if you no longer need the image to be viewed as a smart object).

This will revert any transform made on the smart object (relative to the original), effectively pasting the image in its original size (in pixels). As mentioned in other answers the problem stems from the image having a different PPI value from the document. There does not seem to be a way to convince Photoshop that we live in a digital age, noone needs to print their work and therefore nobody cares about PPI.

NOTE: The Preferences > General > Resize Image During Place option resizes the image to fit the canvas and is irrelevant for this solution (this transformation will be undone as well).

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