I know how to include basic hyperlinks, and usually I think that's all I want. But sometimes I'd like to include an actual graph, especially if much of my answer text relates to that graph.

Edit 27/10/2013: For the past couple of years I'd been getting along fine with IE8 (and subsequently, Google Chrome) under XP using the method outlined in my own answer below. But something's changed recently with Google NGrams charts, and neither my method nor any other approaches on this page seem to work now.

Maybe I'm no longer a total noob at this sort of thing, but I still need help!

  • This may sound really obvious and not what you are asking for, but I upload the image on my computer hard disk and then move on from there.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Oct 27, 2013 at 18:41
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    @Mari-Lou A: It's certainly not "really obvious" to me! If I right-click on an NGram webpage, Chrome gives me the possibility of selecting "Save as..." (with options to save as either "Webpage complete" or "HTML only"). But whichever I choose, I cant re-display the file created on my computer, and it's not accepted as a valid input to ELU's "insert picture" edit facility. I see tchrist creates things like ...i.stack.imgur.com/FbON7.png, but I can't see how to do that. Commented Oct 27, 2013 at 20:31
  • I just went to ngram to try and I see what you mean! (I haven't used ngram for a while.) The only solution I can offer is to download a capture screenshot add-on and install it on your browser. I have "Awesome Screenshot" for Firefox.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Oct 27, 2013 at 21:35
  • I just ran an ngram and saw a link on the upper right to Embed Chart, but I don't know whether there's a way to make that work with Markdown here. Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 22:51
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    @BraddSzonye No, that just produces an iframe tag, which Markdown doesn't allow. The issue is that Google produce SVG graphics in browsers which can handle it, like Firefox and Chrome, and use some clever Javascript in IE which doesn't actually work. So it looks like the only way is to screen-grab the image, crop that, save locally and then upload (which is what I've been doing). Bah.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 16:55
  • @Andrew Leach: Goddammit! I can (just about! :) do that, but unless someone comes up with a simpler method, I can see I won't be posting so many NGram charts in future. Ah well - at least it'll save me getting so many comments pointing out that NGrams can't always be trusted! Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 17:09
  • @FumbleFingers Your method of copying the https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?… URL and changing graph to chart still works. Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 17:42
  • @Gilles: Not so far as I can see. Are you definitely managing to do it using the Chrome browser? I no longer have the option of right-clicking on the graphic to select "Copy image URL", and if I try using the actual address bar contents (with or without changing graph to chart), I just get "Failed to upload image: The format is not supported" when I try to add a picture (from the Web, since I can't figure out how to save the image as a file on my local computer either). Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 18:03
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    @FumbleFingers Yes, I just made this post, in Chrome. The original URL from the image was http://books.google.com/ngrams/chart?content=probabilit%C3%A9+que%2Cprobabilit%C3%A9+pour+que&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=19&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cprobabilit%C3%A9%20que%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Cprobabilit%C3%A9%20pour%20que%3B%2Cc0. You may have to download it first as Google seems to put some usage rate limitation which may block SE's servers. Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 18:15
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    @FumbleFingers If you find you need to save the image locally, change graph to chart in the URL bar and hit Enter, then right-click on the image and “Save As”. Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 18:16
  • @Gilles: oic. It doesn't work the same as it used to though. I no longer have the Right-click -> Copy image URL option on the actual NGram webpage, but I can copy the contents of the address bar to another browser window (after changing graph to chart). That gives me just the graphic, on which I can select Copy image URL. I'll amend my own answer to reflect this change. Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 18:35
  • But what about Safari on an iPhone? I can do screenshots, but there doesn't seem to be any way to paste them into an answer. Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 12:47
  • @Brian: Not a clue, mate! I think I'm at the bleeding edge of technology 'cos I finally dumped XP and moved on to Win7 this year! You're welcome to edit my question to include your problem (it'll get "bumped" to "currently active", so someone who knows the solution might see this Q and add the relevant info). But I suspect you might do better raising the issue on meta.stackexchange, bearing in mind that in the end I had to figure out and post my own answer to my own question here. Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 14:45
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    @BrianHitchcock on iOS you'd have to use a tool like Skitch to upload your screenshot to a cloud-based service, visit the page with your image, then copy the URL for just the image to the clipboard. In the editor on this site, tap the Image button, tap the "link from the web" link, then paste the URL into the box.
    – nohat Mod
    Commented Jul 2, 2015 at 15:50
  • @nohat: thanks, but I don't use any cloud-based service, and I don't see an "image" button in Edit. Commented Jul 3, 2015 at 8:29

2 Answers 2


I'm using IE8 under XP, and it doesn't seem to have your 'Copy URL image' option.

But after a bit of trial-and-error (not to mention eventually noticing that crucial exclamation mark in front of the link within your text) I found I can get what I want by manually changing ...books.google.com/ngrams/graph... to .../chart... in the actual link.

EDIT: Thanks to Gilles's comments showing that I can still use a method loosely based on the above. It's a bit long-winded, so I'll write it down in case I forget (or if anyone else has the same problem). Here's what works for me...

  1. Copy the address bar to a new browser window, changing graph to chart as above.
  2. Right-click and select Save image as... (a PNG file) within the new window.
    (the location/filename aren't important, as it can be deleted after step 4).
  3. In the post where you want the graphic, select Add picture... from my computer
  4. That opens a "browse" control, within which you can select the file just saved.
    (then delete the file, or just use the same filename/location every time and overwrite)

EDIT2: So far as I'm concerned, EI8 and XP are now ancient history. These days I use the Lightshot extension to Chrome, under Win10. It's an absolute doddle to save any specified rectangular screen area to a local file that you can then upload into an SO post.

  • Thank you for the guide, it does really work, save a lot of bother. However, the PNG graph fails to display any of the written data, such as which corpus was employed. Am I right in supposing that information will have have to be typed, gasp, by hand? Thank you in any case. (FYI I've only just worked it out!)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Nov 15, 2013 at 9:19
  • @Mari-Lou A: I expect a browser extension (there's one for Chrome called Webpage Screenshot Capture) can capture the browser window into a local graphic file - in a format that will be accepted by the SO "Insert image" edit button. I might have a look at that myself later, but I'd have thought unless you're prepared to capture and post up your entire screen, it would be a browser-specific method. Commented Nov 15, 2013 at 13:39
  • You don't have to save it to your computer first. If you use .../chart... and, right-clicking on the image, copy the image address, you can then click on "link from the web" in the ELU image uploader.
    – Mathieu K.
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 19:32
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    The first part of this answer doesn't seem to work any more.
    – Laurel Mod
    Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 22:31
  • @Laurel: I imagine most remaining XP installations today are riddled with malware, so I can't really endorse keeping this answer if it might encourage people to carry on with XP. In the final analysis, we all suffer when XP-based botnets damage the Internet, and nobody knows how many of them are just sitting around waiting to be activated. But even though the existing upvotes are for a completely answer to my second edit above, I think adding that makes more sense than trying to get this answer (or indeed, the entire question) deleted. Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 13:43
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    @FumbleFingers What doesn't work is the domain name. The old 'ngrams.googlelabs.com/chart?...' has been replaced by 'books.google.com/ngrams/chart?...'
    – Mitch
    Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 14:52
  • @Mitch: Well, I've been happy with Chrome+Lightshot for some years now (I'm pretty sure it was someone from ELU who put me onto it in the first place). I find Lightshot+Chrome's "user-adjustable margins" particularly useful in other contexts, such as printing Guardian crosswords when they (not infrequently! :) mess up the Print / PDF links on their website. Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 17:09

An additional way (to complement FumbleFingers' method) is to:

  • save the image, using your browser 'save image...' (right click to get a menu)
  • then use the tool under 'Your Answer' for 'Image ' (after 'link', 'quote', and 'code sample'), and upload the saved image.

image downloaded from Google Ngrams

Created from the following:


or without having to do the step of downloading the image explicitly

direct from books.google.com

(similar to FumbleFingers').

This method avoids having to create the markup ourself. It saves what you've seen, rather than a link to google Ngrams, which may be desirable or not. It is good to make the additional link explicit then so the reader knows how it was created.

You can do -any- image this way, a screen shot or some other graphing program or anything. Also, You don't have to save the image, you can link directly to it (use the 'from the web' option on the SE editor image tool.

  • 1
    Thanks very much for that info. It'll be a useful reference one day when I want to be really creative, and post an image of something other than an NGram chart! Commented May 21, 2011 at 21:50
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    Addressing your last paragraph, one of my PCs has the Windows "Snipping Tool", and my Mac has Preview, which allows you to create a new image from a screen shot.
    – J.R.
    Commented Oct 27, 2013 at 23:24

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