Sometimes you’re looking around the web and spot an image that is perfect, something you need to keep, but the site has some kind of furtive script thing that keeps you from right-click-saving like you usually do. You try to save it but end up with a small white square instead. What to do?

Of course, you can take a screenshot (PRINTSCRN on Windows or Command-Shift-3 or Command-Shift-4 on Mac), but that’s rarely satisfying.

To get the actual image file you see in the browser you can use the Developer Tools built into Chrome and Firefox. I prefer Chrome, it’s a little easier to find:

  1. Right-click on the page (anywhere on the page).
  2. Select “Inspect element” from the pop-up menu (at the bottom of the list). A new console will pop up, either as a separate window or at the bottom of your browser window.
  3. At the top of this new console you’ll see different tabs: Elements, Resources, Network, Sources, etc. Click Resources.
  4. At the left side you’ll see a cascading list of folders. Find the one(s) named “Images.” If you dig around here and keep opening subfolders you should find what you’re looking for. Clicking on any of the filenames will show you a preview at right.
  5. When you find the image you’re looking for, right-click on the preview at right and select “Open image in new tab”
  6. Go to that new tab and save the image as usual.

Now, of course I don’t recommend doing this to steal images that someone obviously went out of their way to protect. Use only along fair use guidelines. Please.

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