Back in the ‘90s, Clip Art took over Word and PowerPoint files thanks to the thousands of office workers and students who used the images as a way to “improve” their documents. These days there are a large number of free images available on the web, and Microsoft is recognizing this by killing off its Clip Art portal in recent versions Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook. “The Office.com Clip Art and image library has closed shop,” explains Microsoft’s Doug Thomas. “Usage of Office’s image library has been declining year-to-year as customers rely more on search engines.”
My colleague Chris compared Google Image search to Bing Bing Images vs. Google Images - Which Has Better Results? Bing Images vs. Google Images - Which Has Better Results? Bing’s image search once challenged Google, offering more features and a better design. With infinite scrolling and the ability to search for similar images, Bing was legitimately better than Google at image search just a... Read More , and found Google’s results to be better. If you feel the same way, don’t worry: you can use it to find rights-cleared images. While searching for an image, click Search Tools then Usage Rights.
My school district doesn't allow students to access anything except Google; therefore, clipart is useless. More and more school districts and companies are blocking applications and websites to prevent access to inappropriate images and content. My first and second graders have always loved doing PowerPoints; however, with clipart no longer working, they cannot do these projects any longer. Older students access Google images to get graphics for their projects.
Microsoft’s gallery had an aesthetic, to be sure, and it wasn’t high art. But these images, cheesy as they are, were also incredibly useful in their time. It wasn’t easy to quickly find images in the dial-up age, and an entire industry of CD-ROMs you could buy for $50+ tried to fill that niche. You could buy those, or you could stick with what you already had: Microsoft’s clip art.
If clip art appeals to you for its retro feel, you might also like pixel art. You can create some yourself with pixel art tools The 11 Best Pixel Art Tools to Create Pixel Perfect Artwork The 11 Best Pixel Art Tools to Create Pixel Perfect Artwork Do you want to try your hand at creating pixel perfect artwork? These pixel art tools will help you get started. Read More .
This applies more to teachers than to anyone else, but clip art (especially black line clip art) can´t be beat when it comes to using images that are going to be photocopied. It creates a much cleaner look than a photo. While there is much talk of going digital, the reality is that most of the world still is using paper for teaching . . . and a lot of it, not because we aren´t open to the digital world, but many times not all students have access.
Which brings us to Creative Commons, the license Office’s new Bing-powered search filters for. My colleague Danny explained what Creative Commons is, and why you should use it What Is Creative Commons, And Should You Use It? What Is Creative Commons, And Should You Use It? Creative Commons is a set of licenses which automatically give you permission to do various things, such as reuse and distribute the content. Let's find out more about it and how to use it. Read More , but the quick version is that it’s a way for artists to tell the web their images are free to use.