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How to find images for Office documents now that Microsoft's killing Clip Art

Derek Walter | Dec. 16, 2014
Microsoft is sending its Office clip art to the digital beyond, where it shall rest in glory with Clippy, Zune, and the rest of the Redmond saints.

Microsoft is sending its Office clip art to the digital beyond, where it shall rest in glory with Clippy, Zune, and the rest of the Redmond saints.

In other words, those wonky, yet charming images that graced countless PowerPoint presentations are in their last days. Microsoft already nixed the website where you could download Clip Art, so it may not be long before it disappears from Office entirely. 

So it's time for a different plan. The good news is that Office already has better options for spicing up your files than relying on the dated and questionable-looking Clip Art. For example, Office's integrated Bing Images search is solid, parsing the web for copyright-free images that you can use to bring some life to the staid world of business presentations.

That's not the only available solution, however. Here's a rundown of your best options for grabbing the clip art that's still there — and learning some new strategies for better images.

Clip art search is still inside Office — for now 

When you want to add an image to your file, head to the ribbon and click Insert, then Online Pictures. You'll currently see three choices: Clip Art, Bing Images, and OneDrive. clip art still works for now, so charge ahead if that's what you want to use. Type in your search term and then select your favorite zany image. It'll appear directly in the file, allowing you to re-size and move it anywhere you wish.

Microsoft did not indicate when it would exactly be eliminating Office Clip Art, so it could hang around for some time — though it didn't exactly sound like that in Microsoft's memo. Plus, if we're being honest, Clip Art fell out of fashion at least  a decade ago. Embrace the future! Keep reading to learn about more modern alternatives. Your audience will appreciate it.

Find copyright-free images through the built-in Bing search

Bing's Image search is your best option for finding and inserting images inside of an Office file. Sure, Bing may not be your search engine of choice but it's actually rather good, especially at finding photos and other types of art to use.

After you type in a search term (unfortunately there isn't an auto-suggest) and pressing Enter you'll notice a message about copyright files. 

By default, Bing presents images that are licensed through Creative Commons, meaning their owner allows anyone to use, publish, or redistribute them without a copyright claim. This may sound like legalese nonsense at first, but it's actually pretty important, especially if you're presenting your images or publishing a Word document as a flyer or other kind of print version.


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