Drag ‘n Drop Into Photoshop

Drag N Drop Cursor

There are several ways to open an image with Photoshop. One easy way is to grab the image file, drag it into Photoshop, and drop it into your workspace. This way you can skip the whole dialog box or the right click menu from within the OS. I know this works with Windows, but I’m unsure about this functionality with Mac users. The one hook to using this method is that you need to have Photoshop already up and running.

Another perk of this method is that you can place a new image into another image as a new layer. You just need to have one image already open in Photoshop, and you then drop it on the image rather than the Photoshop background. This is handy if you’re working on textured photos, composites, or graphics.

In addition to that, you can grab images from your web browser by clicking, dragging, and releasing into Photoshop. Then you don’t have to save the file to your computer before opening it.

21 thoughts on “Drag ‘n Drop Into Photoshop

  1. Brian Auer Post author

    Damien — that IS handy. All I get on Windows if I drag an image to the Photoshop icon is a fresh startup of photoshop if it wasn’t running already.

    Vivien, which version are you using? I’m not sure how well some of this works pre-CS3.

  2. the_wolf_brigade

    That last tip is cool. How does it react when faced with an image on flickr that has “All rights reserved” and theoretically cannot be downloaded, (despite the numerous plugins for firefox that bypass this “privacy setting”)?

  3. Brian Auer Post author

    Flickr covers their “All Rights Reserved” images with a 1 pixel transparent gif. So if you try that with those photos, you end up opening that instead of the photo. The CC images, however, are not covered by this so the image will open up.

  4. libeco

    Call me old fashioned but I never liked the dragging around. I knew it was possible in Windows, even with collapsed windows in the taskbar, but I just never use it. And for me hittong ctrl + o and finding the image I need goes a lot faster anyway, although I use brdige for photos usually…

  5. Music Site

    @ libeco, I am at the opposite site, I find it more easier to drag the image, it save more time sepcially when your computer is well organized,

    Thank you,

  6. Chica

    Right on, I didn’t know you could do all that in windows, I will have to try it out. The only thing I do when browsing my files, is right click and open in Photoshop. I need to up my game apparently! :)

  7. Chica

    Ah But Brian, I know an awful lot about photoshop, All self taught as well, mainly with jpegs, and no other format besides psd files. :)

  8. Patricia

    Thanks for these tips. I have Windows Vista and I use Photoshop Elements 5.0. When I dragged a photo to the PSE icon (when it wasn’t already running), the photo opened up in PSE. So it worked for me with Windows and Photoshop Elements.

  9. Michael

    When I drag in WinXP an image from a browser into photoshop, it will just open a NEW dialog box, with the images name, without the image, it used to just open the image, does someone have a clue why this happens?

  10. Brian Auer Post author

    I’ve been having the same problem since Firefox 3 rolled out. I think it may have something to do with the browser rather than Photoshop. Which browser are you using?

  11. Vsync

    Listen guys, it goes like this:
    1. you CAN drag n’ drop images into photoshop, BUT don’t drag then to the grey zone, but first
    drag them to the Photoshop thingy in the windows Taskbar. where it says “Adobe Photoshop”.
    then the program pops to the screen, and it gets into the front, where it was in the back view before.

    2. this doesn’t work, nor anything else, in Firefox-3 for some reason.

  12. James Rekerki

    i have that problem dragging pictures into photoshop and I honestly believe it is Firefox 3 that is the problem. Before I had no problems and once I upgraded that’s when the problems began. I honestly thought that I had changed a setting somehow and this resulted in me no longer being able to drag and drop. Reading these posts has pointed me in the firefox 3 direction. You win some you lose some :(

  13. Japan icons

    I had no idea you could drag and drop from browser to Photoshop, I always used the ctrl + PrtSc to print the screen then past to photoshop, then cut out the image.. this is good for grabing more than one image, but an entire sitelayout, or something. Guess most of you know this short cut though.

  14. Falcon

    Does anyone know if Firefox 3 is endeavouring to fix drag and drop into Photoshop. It seriously cuts down my work time when using drag and drop. :(

  15. Falcon

    Yep, I am just stoked that I can still run FireFox 2 easily enough – not like Microsoft who FORCE you into downloading the Multiple IE programme just so I can test in IE6 and 7 etc.

  16. Darian

    In Firefox 3 just use the “copy image” option when right clicking on an image. Then paste it in Photoshop. No need to save it and then open it. Although sometimes this doesn’t work for very large images.

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