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How to copy a picture from an Outlook email

Like an image in an email? Here’s how to save it.

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by Office for Mere Mortals

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Sometimes you get an email with a nice picture displayed in the message (as opposed to an attachment).

Outlook - email with embedded images image from How to copy a picture from an Outlook email at

How can you ‘grab’ that image as save it to your computer?

On most web pages you can simply right-mouse click and choose a save picture option. That doesn’t work for most emails, even HTML formatted ones, because the image isn’t always a separate file.

Attached, Linked or Embedded

A picture in an email can come in three different ways, attached, linked or embedded.

Attached is when the image (or any file) is sent with the message. It appears in a line at the top of the message

Outlook - image as attachment image from How to copy a picture from an Outlook email at

Linked images appear in the body of the message but the image itself is stored on an Internet web site. Recent versions of Outlook block the download of the images unless you approve it, until then the place for the image has a red X icon.

Outlook - image as link to external site image from How to copy a picture from an Outlook email at

Embedded images are sent as part of the email message (the message is therefore larger than one with linked images). On a technical level the picture is encoded and made part of the HTML code sent to you.

How to save any image in an email

Attached images are easy to save, right-click on the file name and choose ‘Save As’.

Linked and Embedded images can also be saved, but it’s not obvious how to do that.

Right-click on the image and choose ‘Copy’

Outlook - right click to copy image image from How to copy a picture from an Outlook email at

Then paste into an image editor like Paint, Photoshop or whatever you prefer. All Windows users have Paint on their machine (under Programs | Accessories). Open up the image editor to a blank image then paste.

Outlook - paste emailed image into Paint image from How to copy a picture from an Outlook email at

You may need to resize the image size to fit what you have pasted in.

Then simply save the image to whatever format and location you want.


If that doesn’t suit you, there are alternatives which might work.

  • Save As the message to web page, open the page in a browser
  • Use the View in Browser option to open a HTML message

Outlook 2007 - View in Browser image from How to copy a picture from an Outlook email at

Either method will leave you with the message open in a browser window and from there you may be able to copy images.

Article posted: Tuesday, 12 May 2009

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