Microsoft today announced Clip Art is getting a new source for its images: Bing. The image library that powered the service in Microsoft Office has been killed off.

If you’re creating something in any of the Office desktop products released in the past decade, searching for pictures to use will now show you results from Bing. Just like before, you can browse the images and download whichever ones you please.

Microsoft points out that Bing Image Search has higher-quality and more up-to-date content. As you can see below, searching for “cellphone” gives more variety and modern-looking phones. Clip Art offered ancient-looking devices.


Microsoft explains the reason for this change very simply: “Usage of Office’s image library has been declining year-to-year as customers rely more on search engines.” If people are using search engines to find images, why not give them what they want?

Better yet, in July 2013, Microsoft added the ability to search images by usage rights, so now it can do the filtering for Office users, ensuring they don’t have to worry about using images that would break the law.

The Clip Art feature in Office now taps Bing’s copyright filter based on the Creative Commons licensing system. This means you get royalty-free images that you can use, share, or modify for either personal or commercial use.

If you know what you’re doing, you can still change the settings to “Show all web results” and view more images. This will essentially give you an unfiltered view of Bing Images, which isn’t as useful but still means you don’t have to fire up your browser.

As a reminder, in Office 2013, Clip Art can be accessed by clicking Insert and then Online Pictures. In Office 2010 and Office 2007, go to Insert and then Clip Art to search for pictures in the menu. Just remember: This isn’t Clip Art anymore, it’s really just Bing.

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