You’d better enjoy Microsoft’s cheesy Office Clip Art catalog while you can, because it may be going away in favor of Bing.
According to a Microsoft support page, the company is retiring its Office Clip website. As an alternative, Microsoft suggests searching on Bing Images for visuals that are free to use under a Creative Commons license. Just look for the “license” button under the search bar, and choose from the “free to share” or “public domain” options.
On Monday, a post on Microsoft’s Office blog claimed that the Clip Art option would be nixed from the desktop version of Office, but that post has since been removed. We’ve reached out to Microsoft for clarification, but in the meantime, we’ve had no problem adding glorious, old-school Clip Art to documents in Word 2013. (They’re available through the “Online Pictures” button under the “Insert” tab.)
The deleted blog post doesn’t say exactly why Microsoft is killing Clip Art now, but explains that usage of these images has been in a steady decline as more people rely on search engines. “Bing Image Search has higher quality images that are more up-to-date,” the Office team wrote. “For example, searching for ‘cellphone’ gives more variety and modern looking phones instead of the old-school bricks from Clip Art.”
Why this matters: It’s hard to argue with Microsoft’s logic, as anyone who dips into the Clip Art catalog risks looking like they haven’t touched a computer in a couple of decades. But if anything, the early warning of Clip Art’s demise is a good excuse to take one final, nostalgic look through the selection. You truly don’t appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone.
Jared Newman has been helping folks make sense of technology for over a decade, writing for PCWorld, TechHive, and elsewhere. He also publishes two newsletters, Advisorator for straightforward tech advice and Cord Cutter Weekly for saving money on TV service.