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How do I copy a picture from a file to the clipboard?

I can just select the file and press ctrl-c. But that wouldn't copy it to clipboard. It'll just be marking it if I want to copy the file somewhere else.

I can open the file in Paint and then change the selection to cover all the picture. I need something simpler.

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What's the reason for wanting to do this? - for context sake – CodeBlend Dec 29 '11 at 14:39
up vote 10 down vote accepted

Download nircmd and extract it or install it to "C:\nircmd" or a similar location. Within the folder will be 'nircmdc.exe.'

This can be used to copy an image to the clipboard. But, this still isn't quite as easy as you were hoping, so let's make it easier:

Open your registry editor.

Now, if you are unfamiliar with regedit, you may wish to find more help, but I will try to make this as simple as possible. First expand "HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT," then "*," then "Shell." Right-click on "Shell" and select "New->Key." Name this key whatever you want for example, "Copy Image to Clipboard." Now, right-click on this newly created key and once again select "New->Key." This one you will name, "command." On the right side, you will now see a value labeled "(default)". Double-click this item and under "Value Data:" put,

C:\nircmd\nircmdc.exe clipboard copyimage "%1"

Quoting the %1 parameter allows this to work with filenames that contain spaces.

Please note if you did not install it the same way as I did this may not be the exact location and you would need to replace "C:\nircmd\nircmdc.exe" with the proper address to that executable file.

Once complete, you will be able to right-click a file and select "Copy Image to Clipboard." From this point forward doing what you need will be just that simple.

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+1 most complete – Jim Thio Jan 1 '12 at 12:58
And it works :) – Jim Thio Jan 1 '12 at 13:08
@Serodis Why don't you just upload the registry exported file which contains patch to the setting need to make (so as to have the context menu available)? – Nam G VU May 3 '12 at 8:03
@Serodis I do the same thing, but I cannot get it works for me on Windows 7 64bit 's Windows Explorer. But I can call it from command line by C:\nircmd\nircmdc.exe clipboard copyimage {path to my image}. Would you have any idea for me? – Nam G VU May 3 '12 at 8:35
This does not preserve png transparency. Any solution that does? – Mark Nov 21 '15 at 22:20

You can use Nircmd.

nircmd clipboard copyimage sourcefile

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I found ClipSa on google, not tried it yet.

Not found anything to do the opposite yet though

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ClipSa is reverted way of the OP(original post), ie. from clipboard to file. What needed is to copy the image in the file to clipboard. – Nam G VU May 3 '12 at 8:04
  1. Press "print screen"
  2. Now open Paint. ( It is under accessories ).
  3. Press Ctrl + V

Alternatively you can try an Open source software called "Green shot" ( ), it has additional feature - capture region of the screen. If that is what you are looking for. Another advantage of this free utility - It has a editor which is built in.

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This will still require you to open the file and create a screen shot, which means that the original resolution of the file will be lost (e.g. open a picture at a size larger than your actual desktop resolution). – slhck Dec 29 '11 at 10:05
No no no. Not from screen to clipboard. From file to clipboard. – Jim Thio Dec 29 '11 at 10:05
@JimThio It is a cool question, but isnt that what the grafics programs are for :-) It is almost as if you (and others) have hundreds of great ways to really "change" the OS itself. Why arent you the ones working at Microsoft? A clipboard manager with a context menu, that drops any "file" into the clipboard, Genious! – Psycogeek Dec 29 '11 at 10:43

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