How to Use the Paste Special Commands in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite 6 provides a few different paste special commands— Paste Into, Paste in Place and Paste Outside. All three commands are lumped under the new Edit→Paste Special submenu.

How to use Photoshop CS6’s Paste Into

You can start with a favorite — Paste Into. You may occasionally want to place an image on a separate layer, yet have it fill a selection. That’s where this command comes into play. Paste Into enables you to insert a copied or cut selected image into a selection outline.

For example, if you want to make it appear as if a snake is poking its head out of the opening of a cave, or a bottle is poking out of a bucket, Paste Into is your command.

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Bedolaga Image #18359494 and paulvision Image#13335898]
Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Bedolaga Image #18359494 and paulvision Image#13335898

Follow these steps to insert a copied or cut selected image into a selection outline:

  1. Make the selection on the layer that you want the image to fill.

    This is the destination layer.

  2. Select the image that will fill that selection.

    This is the source image.

  3. Choose Edit→Copy.

  4. Return to the destination layer and choose Edit→Paste Special→Paste Into.

    Photoshop converts the selection outline on the destination layer into a layer mask. The pasted selection is visible only inside the selection outline. In the example, the sake bottle is showing only inside the selection. The bottom of the bottle is hidden, making it look like the bottle is sitting inside the ice bucket.

How to Paste Outside and Paste in Place in Photoshop CS6

The opposite of Paste Into is Paste Outside. The Paste Outside command pastes a copied selection outside another selection, rather than inside. If you are copying between two images and you want to paste the selection of your source image into the same relative location in your target image, choose the Paste in Place command.