Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

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.

share|improve this question
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

5 Answers 5

up vote 10 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.

share|improve this answer
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 Paint.net, when copied from IE, FF, or Chrome. I thought maybe a workaround would be "Paste in Paint.net, 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. –  Dan Lugg 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

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

share|improve this answer
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).

share|improve this answer

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.
share|improve this answer

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.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.