According to the Microsoft Office blog, the Office Clip Art gallery is going away.
I’m very upset by this, because I use its photos daily. While much commentary (include a funny riff by Conan on TV) focus on the line art, the text of the blog post makes it clear that photos will also disappear.
When? I don’t know. The blog post makes it sounds as if it’s already gone, but I’m still seeing all of the clip art — both photos and line art. How about you?
Also, the post says, “Customers can still add images to their documents, presentations, and other files that they have saved to their devices.” Maybe the Clip Art gallery will continue on as long as you use an existing presentation. I wonder if you could take an existing presentation, choose File, Save As to make a copy, and still have the Clip Art gallery. I’m checking with Microsoft directly and will let you know what I hear. (Update: Nope. It’s gone.)
What about Bing search?
The blog post says that you can add images using Bing Image Search. It adds:
Bing Image Search uses a copyright filter based on the Creative Commons licensing system. The results that are returned are images that have been tagged with Creative Commons licenses. A link to the source of the image is provided, which you should use to review the source of the image and the applicable license to determine whether your use will comply with the license.
If you have PowerPoint 2013, try it yourself to verify what I’m saying. Here are the steps:
- Choose Insert, Online Pictures.
- In the Bing Image Search box, enter a keyword.
- Click an image. Note the size of the image, because some of them too small to put on a slide.
- At the bottom, click the link to the source of the image.
- Click Insert.
- Go to your browser where the link opened and check it out.
Why online search is NOT a good substitute for the Clip Art gallery
Here are my reasons:
- To use a Creative Commons (CC) image, you have to provide attribution. This means that you add a text box to your slide with the link to the website and/or the name of the photographer. This is only fair and right (and the only legal way to use the image), but it won’t look good on a sales presentation or most other public presentations, for that matter.
- It’s hard to verify the license. I’ve tried a number of searches. Sometimes, there’s a statement on the website that says the image has a CC license, but more often than not, you can’t tell. Some of the links no longer work, others don’t load. For example, you might find the image on a blog post, with no idea of where the blogger got the image. Moreover, you need to verify the type of CC license — most of you will need one that allows editing and commercial use.
- If there are people in the image, you almost never know if there’s a model release. That’s right, recognizable images of people require a model release.
- It’s often hard to find out how to credit the image. If you find the image on a blog, for example, where it’s obvious that the blogger took the image from somewhere else, it’s often hard to find the original source, so you don’t know how to credit the image. Researching the source can be very time-consuming.
Exactly what does the Creative Commons license allow?
There are several variations of Creative Commons licenses and you need to make sure that the image you want to use has a license that you can live with. Some don’t allow commercial use or modification (like cropping). Others require you to share your modification. Here is the list of licenses — scroll down to the “The Licenses” heading.
What should you do?
If you use the Office Clip Art gallery regularly, you’ll have to come up with alternative solutions. Here are some of my ideas.
- Start saving images from PowerPoint’s Clip Art gallery immediately! Do searches for keywords you use a lot, insert them on slides, and save them as pictures. I’m assuming that as long as you do this now, while the images are available, you’ll be able to use them in the future. The alternative would mean that you couldn’t use presentations you’ve already created with images from the Clip Art gallery — and that would be an impossible limitation. UPDATE: FOR MOST OF YOU, IT’S NOW TOO LATE FOR THAT.
- Find other sources for free images that don’t require attribution. I have a blog post, “Find free photos and images for PowerPoint,” with a list of free images here — although some of those sources do require attribution.
- If you’re OK with giving attribution, use Flickr and Wikimedia instead. Both make finding the license and proper attribution fairly easy and are more trustworthy. I give instructions and links in the same blog post.
- Get a budget to buy photos. An excellent, low-cost resource is 123rf. (This is an affiliate link.) With about 35 million images, you’re bound to find something that’s perfect for your presentation.
- Start taking your own photos.
I’m working on finding more image resources for you–keep posted!
Update: As of 1/8/2015, the Clip Art gallery is gone from all versions. You may still have it if you have updates set to manual but you’ll lose it when you do the next update. Sigh…
What are your plans for finding images for your presentations? Leave a comment!