How to Combine Images on a Mac

Macs are known for being wonderful machines, easy to use. So it seems odd that there is no obvious way to paste one image into another to combine two images on a Mac! We love the free Skitch for most of our image creation and editing needs, but the one thing that even Skitch won’t do is combine two images, not even allow you to paste one image into another.

But there is an easy way to do it; you just have to know the secret – and here it is.

For this short tutorial, we will refer to the two images we are going to combine as “the primary image” and the “additional image”. The additional image is the one that you want to paste into the primary image.

To combine two images on a Mac, open the primary image in Preview. Let’s say that we want to create a picture of Lady Gaga with a kitten on her head, for an editorial. So our primary picture is of Lady Gaga:

Combine photos on a Mac primary photo

Now, find your kitten image:

how to combine two pictures on a mac

You will want to do a ‘screenshot’ of your additional image, so that the image is copied into the “clipboard” of your computer’s memory. To do this, hit command-shift-4 all at once:

command shift 4

This will replace your regular cursor with a little cross-hair cursor on your screen. Put that cross-hair cursor at one corner of the image that you want to copy, click and hold it down, and drag across the image to select the area that you want to copy, letting go when what you want to copy is selected (this is much more complicated to describe than to actually do – try it!) As soon as you let go of your click-bar or mouse-button, the selected area will be copied into your computer’s memory – the ‘clipboard’.

Now go to your primary image, in Preview, and press command-v (the command key and the V key). This is the command for “paste”.

how to paste one image into another on a Mac

Drag the additional image to position it to where you want, and you’re done!

Lady Gaga with a kitten on her head

If the additional image ends up not just right, you can hit “command-z”, which is “undo”, and try again.

And that’s the quick and dirty way to combine two images on a Mac by pasting one image into the other.

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