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.
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.

It’s not hard to find images to use online – just use an image search. This works well, but it’s worth noting that doing so isn’t necessarily legal. Most of the images you can find this way are owned by their original creators. This likely doesn’t matter if you’re only using something for private use, or even a school assignment, but if you intend to publish a work you need to make sure all rights are cleared.


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 .
oh ya I used to use clip art all the time and I just loved clip art even though a lot of the art was cheesy, but you could definitely find what you needed or close to it. I just tried using the clip art on the new system and because I have a mac its harder to use. I'm having a hard time figuring out how to resize it put it behind text all that. I wish they would bring it back
This is TERRIBLE! Besides being able to edit vector images like Will mentioned (which is important for those of us who don't have graphic artists available to create custom images or the budget or time to buy that service ad hoc), you could also search for style "families" (different graphics that were all in the same style). There was a huge range of files and styles in the collection and it was much faster to find what you need than to do a Bing search. Plus, you knew that everything there was free and free to use, without having to worry about CC license issues.
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