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When I copy a PNG image with transparency to the clipboard and subsequently paste it into Photoshop, Paint, etc. - the transparency turns to black.

Is there any workaround for this? Is this a browser issue, an application issue or an OS issue with the clipboard?

I'm using Windows 7 and tested with the latest versions of Chrome and Internet Explorer.

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Please elaborate. What exactly are you copying? The .png file or its bitmap while it is opened in an editor/viewer? If it is the file, then Photoshop (should) be able to open the file correctly, transparency and all. If it is the picture’s actual pixels, then it depends on the source program and whether it is putting the transparency data in the clipboard or not. – Synetech Jul 7 '12 at 20:34
Sort of depends on OS. Clipboard seems to be unable to contain semitransparent images, but some browsers keep the image link instead - this, when pasted, has transparency unaltered. – Tomáš Zato Dec 1 '14 at 10:40
up vote 17 down vote accepted

Copy-Paste doesn't maintain transparency. Try saving file and then use Open File in Photoshop. AFAIK, Paint doesn't have the ability to save transparency enabled png files.

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Yeah, this is what I do. I just hoped there was some other way around it. – Ryan Elkins Feb 1 '11 at 22:20
@ryan FWIW, this actually seems to be a bug on the Photoshop side. It works in, when copied from IE, FF, or Chrome. I thought maybe a workaround would be "Paste in, select all, copy, paste in Photoshop", but that doesn't work--you get the image on white instead of black, but still with no transparency. – Kip Nov 25 '11 at 19:29
Just a note; you can open the URL in Photoshop, saving you the intermediate step; Windows (I'm sure other OSes will do the same) will download it to a local temporary file, and open. This (I've just observed) retains transparency. – Northborn Design Apr 3 '12 at 19:38
> Copy-Paste doesn't maintain transparency. That depends on the source of the clipboard data. – Synetech Jul 7 '12 at 20:33
If pasted on PowerPoint/Word, the transparencey will be kept. – XiaoPeng Aug 29 '14 at 4:35

Try this: copy the transparent image, paste into MS Word. THEN copy it (or drag/drop) from word and paste it to the other target program.

I found a paste into Visio from Chrome turns black, but works properly in Word, and then copied from Word it pastes properly and transparently into Visio.

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You can just drag the image from the browser to Photoshop or whatever program that will properly handle a PNG file.

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Sounds like a good suggestion, but this does not work between Chrome and Photoshop CC on Windows 7x64. The [+] cursor shows up on the Photoshop target, but no image is opened as a result. – Phrogz Nov 13 '14 at 16:47

I just spent a lot of time looking into this. I've used Photoshop to copy semi-transparent textures for some time while prototyping (with the destination of Axure RP).

Now, I've tried using the new clipboard API in html 5. I dissected the PNG files that are generated by this process.

If I use the clipboard (with a rectangular marquee) to copy a semi-transparent texture to the browser with the clipboard API, it sets the alpha byte to FF (completely opaque).

If I use the drag and drop API to copy a "Save as Web" PNG 24 file to the browser, it works as expected and transparent pixels work (and the alpha byte is not forced to FF).

Note: Even thought Photoshop says it's 24 bit, it actually exports it as 8 bit still (confirmed).

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Posting the comment by @DanLugg as an answer, as it is the most convenient IMHO:

  1. Right-click on the image and Copy Image URL from the browser.
  2. In Photoshop choose File->Open (ctrl-o) and paste the URL into the filename portion of the dialog.
    • Photoshop/Windows will download the URL to a temporary file and open it.
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For anyone wondering, if you get a black background color on a copied PNG file even when opening it manually, try checking if there isn't an alpha channel.

Seems like depending on which software was used to make the PNG, the transparency is sometimes kept as it inside the layers, but some other time, it's kept in an alpha channel.

A trick when it's in the alpha channel is simply to CTRL+Click on the alpha channel's small preview to select it and then create a mask on the layer with the black background from the selection. (Then you can delete the alpha channel)

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