Fans of the much-loved Clip Art may be disappointed to know that Microsoft intends to discontinue its library of the dated computer graphics. These images, which came in handy when producing book reports and visual presentations, are now just part of the history of technology's evolving nature.
Users in need of images can instead do a Bing image search. Microsoft recommends these images as they are absolutely filtered by default, making sure that they are under the Creative Commons licensing category.
There are at least two reasons behind the change. First, performing an image search over the Internet will most likely deliver more relevant images; second, images found over the Internet are of higher quality compared to those found in pre-2013 Microsoft Office products.
"Bing Image Search uses a copyright filter based on the Creative Commons licensing system," said Doug Thomas in a Microsoft blog post. "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."
Clip Art is a unique collection of pictures and templates by Microsoft. The graphics were commonly used in the 1990s by users who wanted to add a little flair to their Word and PowerPoint documents. They became so popular at one point that even commercial projects, such as home-printed greeting cards and labels on candles, used Clip Art.
Microsoft began to offer Clip Art as a free built-in feature of their products in the mid-1990s. From having only 82 Clip Art files in 1996, the collection eventually grew. Now, the library consists of more than 140,000 media elements in its Office product suite.
Clip Art has since encompassed a wide variety of content, illustrations, file formats, and licensing restrictions.
The new Bing Image Search feature will also be built into the Office ecosystem.
"Usage of Office's image library has been declining year-to-year as customers rely more on search engines," added Thomas.
While the images from Bing will carry a Creative Commons license, Microsoft still advises users to respect other people's copyright.