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.
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.
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.
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.
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.