API status: In Development

Abstract: Pasting images is basically supported by any major browser. But there are several difficulties to provide a cross-browser solution. This article covers, how to paste images into the different browsers.

Paste images

If speaking about pasting images, it is important to consider the source where the image was copied. Basically, copying images from an application is possible (for details see Section Applications). It seems like these applications are simply storing the image data in the clipboard which can be accessed by the paste events of the browser.

Pasting images from a folder of the operating system does not work on any tested environment. Whereas OS X does provide the filename and a dummy picture, the clipboard of all browsers on Windows Systems remains empty.


The following table lists all major browsers and their ability to insert pasted images from applications.

browser paste support (tested version) specifics
Chrome 43.0.2357.81
Safari no support in 8.0.6 Does not provide images in clipboardData. After pasting, the browser inserts an img-tag with webkit-fake-url. There is no pure javascript solution to retrieve the image data for upload.
Firefox 38.0.1 Does not provide images in clipboardData. After pasting, the browser inserts an img-tag with base64 encoded src.
Internet Explorer 11.0.9600.16428 IE 10 does not support image pasting.


This table lists some applications which were tested as copy sources for images. Mainly, OS related applications does are not supported as copy source whereas image viewing/editing related applications are supported.

application paste support operating system
Finder no OS X
Preview yes OS X
Fotos yes OS X
Chrome yes OS X and Windows
Internet Explorer yes Windows
Windows Explorer no Windows
Windows Photo Viewer no Windows
Paint yes Windows
GimP yes OS X and Windows