I would like to be able to directly paste my clipboard image into a Gmail message. I could then just do alt-print screen, go to Gmail compose and press ctrl-v to embed a screenshot, for instance. I'm not talking about embedding a image from disk into my email; that's easily done. I want to skip the step where I have to save it to disk first.

Eudora/Thunderbird support this. There's a program that does this, it's at picturepaste.com, but it's paid (and and the website uses Javascript for no obvious reasons). You can see the demo movie there if it's not clear what I would like.

I would like to find a free alternative, or make one myself, but I have no clue how picturepaste works.

edit: I would like to have the picture inlined, instead of a hyperlink.


There is a Gmail lab "Inserting Images". Once you have it enabled, there's a new button to insert images:

alt text

It's not 100% what you want (still not able to paste from clipboard), but you can at least put the images inline in your mail message. You can also use an url as the source of the image.

  • Thanks, it's useful to know about this, but I don't think it's a solution to this problem. Going straight from the clipboard to a message is what we need, and inserting extra steps (like save the clipboard to a file) adds quite a bit of irritation. – James Moore Jul 6 '10 at 17:50
  • this is not correct answer. correct answer is: it is not possible. – userJT Jan 11 '13 at 17:04
  • Actually, nowadays what the OP asks is just possible without any "lab features" enabled... (at least when you are using chrome or safari ==> gmailblog.blogspot.be/2010/05/drag-images-into-messages.html) – fretje Jan 18 '13 at 20:47

Unless I'm missing the point, what the OP talks about is perfectly doable. Gmail will paste any clipboard copied image as an inline image in an HTML mail, when doing Ctrl+V.

So do Alt+Print Screen, to copy the active program window as an actual image, and then paste it in the mail body using Ctrl+V, as an actual image.

  • I just checked both on Chrome and Firefox and ctrl+v doesn't do anything here. – Frank Meulenaar Mar 8 '13 at 18:42
  • It works on my Chrome 64 – leonbloy Feb 22 '18 at 12:45
  • use Ctrl+Shift+Print Scrn to copy screenshot of selected area with mouse, into clipboard. Also works in Linux (Gnome). – Noam Manos May 31 '18 at 13:55

Your problem is that unless you store the image somewhere, Gmail has no way to reference it. So what you see as "paste" is actually:

  • store image locally temporarily
  • upload image to some hosting service, or gmail
  • embed image-tag in mail message

So you would need a 3rd party solution for this.

TechSmiths Jing might be what you need.


  • Yes, you are right; Thunderbird saves it locally in a temp dir first, and then embeds this. It looks like jing gives me finally only a hyperlink to embed in my Gmail; I would like to have the picutre inline. – Frank Meulenaar Mar 29 '10 at 6:45
  • Does the hyperlink point directly to the picture or to a Jingpage? You couldn't use the link in an img-tag? – Christian Wattengård Mar 30 '10 at 7:54

It is not possible to do what the OP asks.

Gmail can not beat fat client email program like Outlook in this regard.


I am running KDE and I am able to take a snapshot using KSnapshot, then copy and paste by CTRL+V into gmail in Chrome. The clipper tool in KDE has to have MIME-based actions enable. It is under Klipper configuration->actions.

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