How to hide data within an image

Updated: 01/24/2018 by Computer Hope

To hide data in an image, you need WinRAR installed on your computer and Microsoft Windows with access to the command prompt. If you do not have WinRAR installed on your computer, you can find a link to download this program through our recommended download section.

Hiding a message or other data

  1. Create a text file with your secret message or hidden data and highlight it, then highlight each of the files you want to secretly add to the image file. As an example, we created one text file called message.txt.
  2. Highlight and right-click on the file. Select the Add to message.rar option, where "message.rar" is the name of the file you right-clicked.
  3. Open a Windows command line window.
  4. Change to the directory (cd command) that contains the .rar file and the image you use for the hidden text.
  5. Type a command similar to the example below.

copy /b secret.jpg + message.rar hidden.jpg

In the command above, "secret.jpg" is the image name you're using, "message.rar" is the file name created in step 2 above, and "hidden.jpg" is the new image name with the hidden message in it. See the copy command page for additional information about this command.

Once the above steps have been completed, you should have an image called hidden.jpg that contains the hidden message. Below is an example of the hidden.jpg we created doing the above steps.

Secret Image

It's a good idea to make sure you're still able to open and view the image before saving it, posting it on the Internet, or otherwise distributing it.

Viewing the secret message

To view the hidden message or hidden files, you must have followed the above steps. If the above steps were performed to create the image, follow the steps below to view the data.

Tip: You can use the above secret image as an example image if needed.

  1. Save the image to the computer, if you're viewing it online.
  2. Open WinRAR by clicking Start, Programs, WinRAR, and then WinRAR.
  3. Within WinRAR, click File, then Open archive. In the open window make sure your files of type option is all files and not just compressed files.
  4. Browse to the location of the image and double-click the image to open it.
  5. Once open, it should display the file(s) contained in the image that can be extracted from the image.

Additional information