134

Google Docs uses a 'web clipboard' approach for cut and paste that works very well so long as the paste target is another Google doc. However, I don't know how to easily copy an image from the Google web clipboard to my local clipboard so that it can be pasted into a local document.

At this point, I have discovered two kludgey ways to do this:

  1. File->Download as a Microsoft Office formatted file, open the file, copy image to clipboard
  2. Capture screen area to clipboard with command+control+shift+4

Both have obvious workflow or quality cons. Is there a better way?

3
  • Is there a Windows version of this question somewhere? Asking for a friend. Aug 19, 2022 at 7:54
  • This is annoyingly hard. The simpliest hack is to use a screenshot tool on your google doc to get it back into clipboard, if you don't need an exact copy (like for pasting into slack channels) Sep 28, 2023 at 14:22
  • Double-click the image, shift + right-click, open in new tab, right-click, copy image.
    – motcke
    May 6 at 14:04

14 Answers 14

80

I continue to have the same problem, my workaround:

using Chrome:

  1. open the development tools
  2. click on Application
  3. click on Frames - top - Images

Among many icons, this list contains the image embedded in the google doc, go through the list with the arrow down, and the image will appear on the right, this image can be copied with right-click-copy.

8
  • Are you using osx? Your answer prompted me to check the question again, and I see that docs has now been enhanced so that both chrome & safari on osx copy an image to the local clipboard with a simple command-C.
    – Jim Vitek
    Jul 22, 2014 at 16:05
  • This works under Windows 8.1 Sep 25, 2015 at 18:05
  • 1
    Copy with command + C under OSX (Chrome) does not work for me.
    – Wolfr
    Mar 16, 2016 at 20:32
  • 2
    In my version of Chrome "Resources" has been renamed "Application"
    – kuzzooroo
    Sep 30, 2020 at 15:44
  • 1
    @kuzzooroo, After "Application" the path is Frames -> top -> images, for me, but I did not find the image I was looking for.
    – zylstra
    Feb 13, 2021 at 2:05
56

Use shift + right click Then you can download the pictures.

Note: You have to double click on the image to select it first.

14
  • 7
    this is the best answer. Aug 20, 2015 at 12:09
  • 21
    Doesn't work on Mac Chrome at least. It saves as a html page and attempting to open it throws a bunch of errors.
    – MikeyN0
    Jan 30, 2016 at 12:10
  • 7
    Doesn't work on Windows Chrome either.
    – Adrian
    Aug 26, 2016 at 19:27
  • 4
    Worked for me in Firefox under Windows. Oct 5, 2020 at 23:24
  • 2
    Worked on Firefox Ubuntu
    – M at
    Aug 7, 2021 at 7:03
35

If you have many files, use File -> Download as -> Web Page (.html zipped)

Then you can unzip on the desktop, and use the files.

Download as HTML zipped

Otherwise, press CTRL + A (selects the entire document/page)

Open Microsoft Word (if on Windows/Mac)
Press CTRL + V (or right-click - insert) to paste the clipboard to Word

Right-click the image in Word and choose "Save as Picture"
(requires Office 2013, if you use Powerpoint it works in 2010 as well)

Or as mentioned by warrax, you can use the Chrome Developer Tools (F12, or CTRL + J)

6
  • 2
    This works, but Google scales the images to whatever size you have them embedded in the doc.
    – magi182
    Dec 1, 2015 at 16:24
  • 1
    This option is no longer available Mar 19, 2018 at 9:24
  • for one or two images, this answers is the best: superuser.com/a/919467/440382
    – crysman
    Jun 22, 2018 at 7:23
  • I was trying to convert from a google doc to a wiki, and I found the following procedure worked: 1. export google doc as .docx. Open with ms word and use "compress pictures" with the discard crops. 2. reupload to google docs. 3. download as zipped webpage. Now you should have all pictures with the right cropping.
    – bruceceng
    Mar 29, 2019 at 18:22
  • 1
    @Anthony Main: If you can download as docx, you can also download docx, rename .docx to .zip, and browse the images in the unzipped word document folder.
    – Quandary
    Mar 29, 2019 at 19:38
13

I've been searching for an easy way to do this too. Triple-click doesn't work.

The best method I've come up with is to paste any image from the Google web clipboard into a GMail message and send it to yourself. After that you can drag and drop the image from within the mail message to where ever you please.

4
  • 2
    This actually works! With Google Inbox too. Ctrl/Cmd-C, then in your email body, Ctrl/Cmd-V. You don't even need to send it to yourself, just right click the image in your compose window and save-as. Mar 13, 2016 at 20:19
  • Doesn't work for me in Windows Chrome Version 52.0.2743.116 m
    – Adrian
    Aug 26, 2016 at 19:30
  • Still my go-to solution in 2020. And as @TravisReeder already mentioned; you don't need to actually send the mail to yourself. Just use the draft message to save-as from.
    – Chris
    Nov 9, 2020 at 10:29
  • SaveAs doesn't work on the image. It tries to save the entire web page. And the web-page that's downloaded isn't even the email; it's an error message about a workspace not being available. Doesn't work. Although to be fair, it is easier to extract the image from a GMail html element than it is to get it out of the Google doc Canvas black box.
    – Triynko
    Jan 4, 2023 at 17:07
13

Updated:

  1. Open Chrome Developer Tools
  2. Select the Sources tab
  3. Expand the contents for (no domain)
  4. Locate the entries in the list which begin with filesystem:https://docs.google.com.... Clicking on one will display a preview of its contents. This is the form of the url that's used to reference the images in your document.
  5. When you find the one you want, right-click it and Open in new tab. In the resulting tab, you can interact with the image in the same way you'd interact with any other image in your browser.

screenshot of navigating chrome devtools


Previous answer:

Triple-click the image (or Select All) to select it and then you can right-click it and "Copy Image". Then you can paste it wherever you'd like.

EDIT The key is getting the browser's native right-click context menu instead of the Google Docs context menu.

6
  • 1
    Didn't work on my mac. Where is the documentation for the triple click?
    – Jim Vitek
    Dec 8, 2013 at 15:48
  • Triple-clicking should just select the raw information on the page, instead of selecting the image "inside the Google doc". The key is to access the browser's native right-click menu, not the custom Google Doc right-click menu. Positioning the cursor next to the image and then selecting all should also do the trick.
    – jsejcksn
    Dec 9, 2013 at 23:46
  • Got it, thanks! I was using Presentations where there is no triple-click. Works like a charm in Documents. I asked this question a few weeks before Google Drive launched and effectively narrowed the definition of "Google Docs". Accepting as the correct answer. Thanks!
    – Jim Vitek
    Dec 11, 2013 at 2:24
  • 7
    Doesn't seem to work anymore, I can see some difference in the way it is selected after a triple click, but I can't get the browser's native context menu.
    – haridsv
    Mar 24, 2014 at 6:47
  • 1
    @JimVitek Please consider accepting my updated answer.
    – jsejcksn
    Jan 23, 2019 at 7:06
6

As of Chrome Version 52.0.2743.116 m, none of the answers stated work. (I don't know if the plugin works, but I don't want to install more plugins to find out).

What I was able to do was to use the development tools (most if not all modern browsers have this now).

  1. Use the select element on page, and select the image you want to copy/download. Do not have the image selected in the Google Doc, otherwise you will select an overlay/container instead of the image.
  2. You should see an <image> tag with an attribute with a url. As of this writing, that attribute is named xlink:href, but may change in the future.
  3. Copy link and open that link in another tab/window of the same browser. This might be obvious, but... shrug.
  4. Right click on the displayed image and select Copy/Save As or whatever.

This should work for all browsers that have development tools.

3
  • 1
    It's the same variant that I've come up to myself while scrolling down to this answer :) Nov 14, 2018 at 11:16
  • There are issues with this if you want the actual link and not just a copy, and you have enabled "offline editing of documents". If that case, the link is to "filesystem:h t t p s://drive.google.com/persistent/docs/documents/..." and despite the fact that the part after the https looks like a valid link, it returns a 404 when you strip off the "filesystem" part. In addition, if you have just created the image, you may see a "blob" and have to reload the page before the actual link appears.
    – Michael
    Aug 22, 2019 at 21:14
  • 1
    This just results in "Sorry can't open the image at this time" as of Jan 2021 Mac Chrome...
    – Tom Auger
    Jan 14, 2021 at 1:35
5

CLI One-Liner

I wouldn't necessarily call this simple but it is kind of a fun hack. This solution works on Linux and requires xclip, xmllint, and curl. I believe it should work on a Mac also using the pbcopy and pbpaste commands in place of xclip, but I have not tried it.

The idea is to copy from the Google Doc as normal (Ctrl+c or right-click and Copy on the image), and then execute a one-liner CLI command to "fix" the clipboard so that it contains the actual image.

Background

When copying an image from a Google Doc in Chrome, the clipboard contains the following data types:

$ xclip -selection clipboard -o -t TARGETS
TIMESTAMP
TARGETS
SAVE_TARGETS
MULTIPLE
chromium/x-web-custom-data
text/html

Ok, we've got some HTML in there, and inspecting that, we have an img tag with a source URL. So all we have to do is extract the URL from the HTML, download it via curl, and send that output back to the clipboard!

Solution

Here we go:

curl \
  $(xclip -selection clipboard -o -t text/html \
    | xmllint --html -xpath "string(//img/@src)" -) -o - \
  | xclip -selection clipboard -target image/png

If you use this often, I recommend putting it into a little script or shell function/alias so you can just call "docsfiximageclip" or something like that.

Explanation

Breaking that down into parts:

  1. The xclip -selection clipboard -o -t text/html command extracts the HTML from the clipboard and writes it to standard output.
  2. That HTML output is piped through xmllint --html -xpath "string(/html/body//img/@src)" - in order to extract the URL to standard output, which points to a Google Docs content server.
  3. The URL is provided as a parameter to curl, which downloads the content and writes it to standard output.
  4. The downloaded image data is piped back into the clipboard as an image/png via xclip -selection clipboard -target image/png.

Note here we assume at step 4 that the image is a PNG, which seems to be a fair assumption for images stored in Google Docs. If that assumption does not hold, variations on this theme are of course possible in which we buffer the output of curl to a temporary file, inspect it via file, and then set the clipboard target appropriately, which can all be easily scripted.

1
  • For anybody searching: this works great on Linux too. Jan 14 at 4:25
2

This drives me crazy. However, I've found a quick solution using your Google Keep app, at least on desktop computer.

Right-click the image in the Doc, select

enter image description here

It'll open up a side-panel for Keep, then paste it to a new "note" (I had to do this twice for it to work, but it's the first time I've tried anyway). You can then right-click the image in the Keep note and select "open image in new tab" (I'm paraphrasing since I'm using Chrome), at which point you can right-click the image in the new tab and copy-paste to wherever.

Even if you've never used Keep, it's excellent, try it out, and this solution should be as easy for you as it was for me. Sure, Docs should just let me copy-paste to anywhere, at least with less steps than this, but I don't know how to get Google to actually be reasonable with this for us.

1
  • Tried everything else here, nothing worked except this.
    – rob
    May 31, 2023 at 15:57
1

This works for me on the current version of FireFox:

  1. Double Click -> Image
  2. Shift + Right Click
  3. Use the Context Menu to Save, Copy, or Open in a new Tab

As a side note, it seems you can't do anything else between steps 1 & 2, so if you do just deselect the image (click off) & do it again, should work.

1
  • For me this converts some of the text into part of the pasted image and others have reported the entire page becomes the pasted image.
    – rob
    May 31, 2023 at 15:50
1

enter image description here

Works on macOS + Chrome (101.0.4951.41).

  1. Hover cursor on top of image.
  2. Shift + Right click
  3. Copy image from system context menu.

The trick is to NOT highlight the image using the doc selector (no blue outline). If a blue outline appears, Copy image will not appear in the system context menu.

1
  • 3
    Interestingly, this copies the whole page for me on Windows Feb 6, 2023 at 19:14
0

If you are using Chrome you can install a Google Docs add on and then cut and paste from docs to a desktop application like word - when copying/cutting from the apps document you must use Ctrl C or X. The first time you try and do this in Chrome it should ask if you want to install the add-on.

1
  • Can you be more specific on the add-on to install? I did a quick search and didn't see anything that syncs the google docs web clipboard with the local clipboard. Specifically, I was looking for a simple way to copy (Command-C) an image from a google doc, and paste (command-V) it into a local application like MS Word or Powerpoint.
    – Jim Vitek
    Dec 8, 2013 at 15:50
0

The triple-click trick is not available any more. To select and copy to Photoshop does not work.

However, to select the image and paste it into a word processor works and from there you can copy and paste the image into Photoshop.

Note that if the image is reduced in size in your Google doc it will keep its original size as you copy paste it into the word processor, but not keep it as you copy-paste it from the word processor to Photoshop. So, you should drag it to a bigger size in the word processor before copy-pasting into Photoshop.

0

I had this exact same problem - I wanted to copy an image from Google Docs into Photoshop. The two things that made this possible are:

Don't use Chrome. I opened the document in Firefox, thereby disabling some of Chrome's clever/annoying functions.

Log out of Gmail/Google. That disables all the editing functions in Google Docs/Drive, so you're back to the browser's copy/paste commands.

You can then just right-click and copy the image as you would on any other HTML web page. This process should theoretically work on any OS. I did that on a Mac.

1
  • If you log out, you may not be able to see the document any more, no?
    – Michael
    Aug 22, 2019 at 21:15
-1

One trick is to Print -> Open as PDF for Preview, then double-click on the images in the preview PDF to select and copy.

1
  • not seeing that option in Chrome on Linux
    – rob
    May 31, 2023 at 15:51

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