How to save an image from the clipboard as a JPG or PNG file

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Matthew Wilhelm Kapell
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Like most people these days, managing multiple types of images and saving them to other formats is routine. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to save clipboard images as JPG and PNG files.

In this article, we will go over the easiest and easiest methods. You don't need to launch a beast of a program, like Photoshop or Illustrator for this task. We'll show you how to do it whether you're a Windows, Mac, or Linux user.



Saving clipboard images in Windows

Windows users have several built-in tools. The two apps selected for this article are the Snipping Tool and Paint 3D apps.

Saving Clipboard Images with Snipping Tool

The first and easiest way to take images on the desktop is the small application called Snipping Tool. It's there for situations where you only need a partial screenshot. It allows you to quickly mark the image you need and save it in a format you want.

Here's how to save an image from the clipboard using the Snipping Tool. Keep in mind that these steps apply to computers running Windows 10.

  1. Click the Start menu icon or press the button Win key.
  2. press the S key on your keyboard.
  3. Windows will list all matches for the letter S. Click Snipping Tool. If it is not listed, click the Applications tab and search for the application. Click on it.
  4. Next, browse to the image you want to save in JPG or PNG format. Keep in mind that you can take snapshots of anything that appears on your monitor.
  5. Once you have located the image, click on the New in the Snipping Tool app. If it's an image stored on your computer, open it in Photos first.
  6. The screen will dim slightly. Click where you want the upper left corner of your future image to be.
  7. Hold down the mouse button and drag the red rectangle until you are satisfied.
  8. Click it save (floppy disk) icon.
  9. Choose the location and file type.
  10. Click on save.

Saving clipboard images using Paint 3D

Windows users reluctant to use the Snipping Tool app can still use Paint 3D for this task.



Here's how to do it:

  1. Locate the image you want to save, right click on it and click Copy. Alternatively, you can press the Screenshot on your keyboard if you want to retrieve an image online.
  2. press the Win key on your keyboard.
  3. press the P key.
  4. Select Paint 3D from the list. If you don't see it, click on the Applications tab, find Paint 3D and click on it.
  5. Once the application is launched, click on the New File icon.
  6. Paint 3D will create a blank file with default settings. press the Ctrl + V keys together.
  7. Paint will paste your image into the file. press the ESC to deselect the image.
  8. If the image does not fit the canvas perfectly, click the button Crop option.
  9. Choose the part of the file you want to save.
  10. Click it Menu icon in the upper left corner.
  11. Select the Save as in the left menu and click on the Image button.
  12. Select the location for your new image.
  13. Click on the Save as type drop-down menu and select the preferred format.
  14. Click on save.

Save images from the clipboard on a Mac

This part of the article explains how to save a clipboard image in JPG or PNG format on a Mac. Your Mac lets you save clipboard images in several ways, but we'll stick to the simplest one – through the Preview app. Keep in mind that this tutorial only covers Mac OS X and the process may be slightly different on other versions.



Follow these steps:


  1. Gather the image you want to convert. If you want to copy an image online, you can right click + Copy or you can take a screenshot by typing the Shift + Command + 4 keyboard shortcut.
  2. Start the Preview app on your Mac.
  3. Click on the deposit preview application menu tab.
  4. Click on Export.
  5. Click on Size and select either JPEG ou PNG as file type.
  6. Save the image.

Saving Clipboard Images in Linux

Of the major operating systems, Linux users are probably the most comfortable using Terminal to get things done. If you don't have an image editor installed on your Linux, you can use the xclip command to save a clipboard image file in PNG or JPG format.

This is how it works:

  1. Find the image you want to save in JPG or PNG format and right-click on it.
  2. Select the Copy the image option. Keep in mind that this works for both online and locally stored images.
  3. Launch terminal.
  4. If you need, you can run “$ xclip –selection clipboard –t TARGETS –o” to see the list of available targets. Since all major Linux distributions support JPG and PNG files, you'll probably find them on the list.
  5. Then run “$ xclip –selection clipboard –t image/png (or jpg if available) –o > /tmp/nameofyourfile.png”.
  6. To open your new file, run "$see /tmp/nameyourfile.png".

If you are using a newer Ubuntu distribution, 17.10 or later, you can use the native set of hotkeys to save your screenshots as images.


  • Ctrl + Alt + Print will copy the screenshot of an entire window to the clipboard.
  • Shift + Ctrl + Print will copy the screenshot of part of a window to the clipboard.
  • Ctrl + Print will copy a screenshot to the clipboard.
  • Alt + Print will save the screenshot of an entire window to Pictures.
  • Shift + Print will save a screenshot of part of a window in Pictures.
  • Print will save a screenshot to Pictures.

You can disable and enable each of these shortcuts as you see fit.

Use OnPaste to Save Clipboard Images

Some free online sites offer image to clipboard conversion. Here's our pick – OnPaste. This site allows users to create their own canvas from scratch or upload an image that they want to save in JPG or PNG format.

Here's how to create a file from scratch:

  1. Navigate to the location of the image you want to save in JPG or PNG format and press Screenshot.
  2. Open your favorite browser and navigate to onpaste.com.
  3. Choose the canvas size. Optionally you can also set the color of the canvas.
  4. Click it Create a canvas button.
  5. When the empty canvas appears, press the Ctrl + V buttons simultaneously.
  6. Click on the Crop button (the first one next to the site logo).
  7. When you're ready, click the little arrow next to the save (diskette), name your file and click on either PNG ou JPG.
  8. Click on save.

Unlimited JPG and PNG

Saving image files in PNG or JPG format has never been easier. You can do it natively on any major operating system in less than two minutes. Alternatively, you can use one of the many websites that offer similar functionality.

How do you save your clipboard images? Do you use heavy artillery image editing programs or do you meet the minimum firepower needed? Let us know your preferences in the comments below.

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