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.
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.
I used clipart a LOT for newsetters and other documents. I don't always want a photo - clipart is often better at getting an idea across quickly, and I didn't need to worry about copyright because I assumed it was OK to use without permission as it was a part of the MS package. The BING option is terrible - very juvenile and hardly extensive with fewer than 50 options. And by-the-way, most of the online sites for "accessing clipart in MS Word 2010" still say to go to insert then click on clipart. Really - we hardly need such basic instructions when they aren't even correct anymore!
While most references to Clip Art disappeared with Office 2013, users were able to insert the old-school images into documents using an Office.com Clip Art option. That is now being replaced by Bing Images, with Microsoft filtering images to ensure they’re based on the Creative Commons licensing system for personal or commercial use. Most of the new images are much more modern, instead of the illustrated remnants of the past. Clip Art might be facing the same Office-related demise as the great Clippy assistant, but let the images below remind you of the good old times before the modern-era takeover.
As an artist I resent some people's assumption that original art from my abilities and imagination, which I have sacrificed a lot to develop, should somehow default to public property. If we require artists to participate in a money economy their art belongs to them. Copying images and not following the copyright owners permissions to the letter is stealing, outright. And deep pockets like Disney has taught individuals that the hard way.
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.”
This pretty seriously ticks me off. Why in the world would a company delete something that far ranging without at least sending an email to the customer or broadcasting it on every platform possible? I used clip art on a regular basis....making cards, mailing labels, chore charts, papers for my homeschool, etc. It would have been nice to be able to save off all those clip art graphics to my own drive before MS Office did one of their lovely updates and removed everything. Personally, I detest Bing and I'm not even remotely interested in getting involved with anything involving copyright law. Maybe it's time to make the journey to Open Office at last. Buh bye Microsoft!
To download the clip art and animated GIFs on this site, just move your mouse over an image or animation and right-click. Then select "Save Picture As..." (or "Save Image As" if you're using a Mac). Feel free to open the pictures in your favorite graphics software, such as Photoshop, Fireworks, Gimp, etc... and edit if you wish. Keep in mind that linking to these images is not permitted.
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.