Mastering Your macOS: Saving a Clipboard Image

MacOS’ robust clipboard offers a seamless way to copy a variety of content – from text and files to images. The ability to copy images from virtually any app displaying them and subsequently paste them into various places, including notes, documents, or messages, is a straightforward task. However, what if you want to save the clipboard image on macOS as a separate file? Well, the Preview app, commonly mistaken as just a file viewer, is your solution. This application not only allows you to view files but also to create new ones, thus enabling you to save a clipboard image on macOS.

clipboard image macOS

How to Save Clipboard Image in MacOS?

Time needed: 2 minutes

  1. Image to Clipboard

    Start by selecting an image of your choice on any browser. Right-click the image and from the dropdown menu, opt for the ‘copy image’ command. To ensure the image remains in your clipboard, avoid copying anything else before you’ve saved this image.

  2. Launch the Preview App

    Post copying, you’ll need to launch the Preview app. This can be done either from Spotlight or Launchpad in macos. In the absence of a specific file to open, the app will prompt you to select one. Navigate through this by heading over to the menu bar and choosing ‘File>New from Clipboard’.

  3. Auto-pasting

    This action triggers the Preview app. Your clipboard image is automatically pasted, creating a new file that needs saving.

  4. Save the New File

    Now, head back to ‘File’ and click on ‘Save’. Preview’s versatility becomes evident here as it allows you to save your image in several formats. Unless you choose a compressed format and intentionally lower its quality, the image will retain its original quality.

  5. Image Size and Quality

    Rest assured, the dimensions of your saved image will match the original. This is because the canvas size is set automatically, as the file is created directly from the clipboard.

Preview Clipboard Image

The Preview app stands out as a sophisticated file viewer, offering an array of features unmatched by desktop operating systems’ standard file viewers. Its extensive capabilities often lead users to forget or dismiss its ability to create new files. The absence of a simple drawing or scribbling app in macOS, like Paint in Windows, often makes users overlook Preview’s comprehensive capabilities. Although it doesn’t offer an open, empty canvas for drawing, the Preview app offers much more, including the ability to save a clipboard image on macOS, highlighting its multifaceted functionality.

clipboard image macOS

More from us:


To conclude, the macOS operating system provides a surprisingly simple and effective method to save clipboard images using the Preview app. This process not only retains the original quality and size of the image but also offers a range of formats to save the image in. The often-underestimated Preview app emerges as a robust tool, making it easy to manage images without needing to download any third-party software.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I save a clipboard image on macOS directly?

Yes, by using the Preview app, you can save an image directly from the clipboard on macOS.

Does saving the image from the clipboard in Preview degrade its quality?

No, the image quality will remain the same unless you choose to save it in a compressed format and deliberately reduce its quality.

Does Preview allow saving the image in different formats?

Yes, Preview allows you to save the image in various formats that it supports.

Can I use any other app to save clipboard images on macOS?

The Preview app is the most straightforward method to save clipboard images on macOS, although there may be third-party apps available.

Does the size of the saved image from the clipboard differ from the original?

No, the size of the image remains identical to the original image you copied.

Leave a Comment