The Rapid Elearning Blog

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - how to find free stock photos and clip art

I was leading a PowerPoint workshop last week and noticed that Microsoft recently changed the way images are searched on their site. That impacted part of my workshop and some of my blog posts where I show how to find free clip art images online.

I’m sure you’ll run into similar issues if you haven’t already. For those who depend on the Microsoft site for free stock photos and illustrations, the recent change makes it challenging to find the right images.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - searching online for free clip art and free stock images

Bookmark This Link to Get Free Stock Photos & Illustrations

Following is a direct link to the site that allows you to search and find the free clip art and stock photos you need. Bookmark it because unless they change their site back, there’s no easy way to locate the same images which I show below.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - bookmark the link to save time finding free stock images

Bookmark this link.

The link will take you to a search results page that will state “Sorry, no results found for…” That’s OK. This is just a blank search results page. From here you can access the image search by typing in the image you need.

In fairness to Microsoft, they do a make a lot of free stock photos and illustrations available to those who use their tools. And many of those can be found from inside the Microsoft Office applications. But the online search from their site is lacking and their solution with Bing doesn’t work to find only the free stock photos that are part of the office suite.

How to Find Free Stock Photos & Illustrations

If you search for clip art and pictures using the feature inside of PowerPoint (or the other Office applications) you’ll get a good list of images. But there are a few issues compared to the online search. Let me explain.

Fewer search results. The first issue is that it’s not an exhaustive list. You don’t get as many search results in the clip art box in PowerPoint as you do searching the same thing online. Make sure to bookmark this link to search online for free stock photos and illustrations.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - how to find the free stock images you need

Can’t search image properties. Online you can view the properties of the free clip art and free stock images. From there the search can be fine-tuned based on the keywords because they’re linked. You can’t do the same when viewing the keywords from inside of PowerPoint.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - finding free stock images online is a easier

No way to find free images of the same style. A lot of clip art is related to a specific style. One of my favorite tips is to use the free clip art of the same style. This helps build a visually cohesive course. Online you can find images of the same style. That doesn’t work offline inside of PowerPoint because there’s no indication that the clip art or free stock photos are linked to a specific style.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - find free stock images and free clip art using the style search

No connection to similar images. A feature I really enjoy on the Microsoft site is searching similar images based on “visual style and shared key words.” This really comes in handy.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - find similar free stock images

Many of the free stock photos or illustrations that Microsoft makes available aren’t catalogued by a specific style. However, when using the “see similar images” feature there are a lot of options from which to choose.

Articulate Rapid E-learning Blog - an easy way to find similar free stock images online

Do you use the free clip art and free stock images from Microsoft? If so, save this post and bookmark the link. Be sure to share it with your co-workers or anyone else you know who may be frustrated with the recent changes to the site. It’ll save them some time looking for free stock photos and illustrations.


Free E-Learning Resources

Want to learn more? Check out these articles and free resources in the community.

Here’s a great job board for e-learning, instructional design, and training jobs

Participate in the weekly e-learning challenges to sharpen your skills

Get your free PowerPoint templates and free graphics & stock images.

Lots of cool e-learning examples to check out and find inspiration.

Getting Started? This e-learning 101 series and the free e-books will help.

39 responses to “Here’s How to Find Free Stock Photos & Clip Art for PowerPoint”

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October 29th, 2013

Tom! You are the best!! I had the same issue and was so annoyed! Thank you for providing a work around, since all I did about it was complain. 🙂

You are my hero! I discovered this change yesterday and was so disappointed that I couldn’t search by style. This link is a huge help. Thank you!

THANK YOU!!!! for this post. Microsoft’s changes have been driving me crazy. So good to know I can still get at things in a way that helps!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I happened upon this change a few weeks ago and have been so very frustrated by it.

Tom, thanks for this very valuable information. Microsoft is being naughty!

What link? Every link on this page is bad.

God bless you! Just yesterday I ran into the Microsoft “Borg.”

Thank you for sharing this link.

FYI to others: make sure that you click the search icon, not IMAGES, or anything else. Otherwise, you’ll end up back at their new gatekeeper page.

“Resistance is NOT futile!” Thanks to you, Tom. 🙂

October 29th, 2013

Looks like MSFT has already changed the link. I get a 404 from your embedded hyperlink.

Hi. I realized yesterday that the images were now not as accessible. It’s crunch time and the link you provided doesn’t seem to work.

Here’s what I link to:

Thanks for the help with this, Tom. A big help, as always. When I click the link you provide, I get a “page not found” message from the Microsoft site, though.

Seems like great information. The link is not working for me. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks.

Thanks for that link, have it bookmarked now. Had this problem a week ago when I was in need of some clipart and couldn’t reach it anymore. And thanks for the tips, luckily I already searched online for more results.

I was frustrated last week when I went to their site too but luckily I had an old image bookmarked and was able to get back to the previous version of the web page. The new site is definitely not very user friendly!

Great tip. I was wondering where the original site went.

I couldn’t open the links you referred to. It redirects back to the new page Microsoft has put up.

@James: I just tested the links from a new PC on a different network and they work for me. Not sure why the links aren’t working for you.

Here are a few alternate links that may work:

This links to a clip art style. From there you have access to the image search.

The following link goes to the UK site that hasn’t been changed yet.

October 29th, 2013

Hi Tom,
I think that link must have been taken down already as I clicked on it and got ‘no results’. If you’re able to find it and could let me know that would be appreciated.
Many thanks,

October 29th, 2013

Tom, you’re simply The Best, thank you!!

October 29th, 2013

I’ve had some experiences with getting public domain images from Google images I need to warn the community about.
I’m about positive that I’ve had two malware incidents related to images posted on Google. I am certain enough that I NEVER go there anymore.
It’s not an image repository – it’s a minefield!
Stay away!


You should get “no results” but it’s a window from which to search. Just don’t click on the images tab on that page.

Thanks Tom – this was driving me batty!

October 29th, 2013

I also use the link to find audio clips, like sound effects and background music. They have some pretty cool audio clips if you search for example, “Halloween,” “scream,” “jazz,” “rock,” “blues,” even “hip hop.” Just click on the “Sound” option on the left side of the screen.

Since we are a non-profit, we use Microsoft images for almost all our graphics. I too ran into the same problem. Thanks for being forward looking for your customers.

Tom, you’ve saved my sanity and several projects I was working on for a non-profit that have $0 budgets. Thank you for figuring this out and sharing it.

By the way, not that I expect it to change anything, but I used the option on the new search site to leave feedback about my disappointment and the awful returned results. I hope others have done the same…at least we will have shared our concerns.

October 30th, 2013

Thanks Tom, this is very helpful.

October 30th, 2013

This is fantastic. I’m so glad you posted this. I spent a good deal of time last week figuring out a similar work around so THANK YOU for sharing it with the masses so they don’t have to experience that frustration.

October 30th, 2013

Great tips, Tom! I am always amazed at what you come up with. This will surely help me with some projects I’m building.

Hi Tom…this post was very helpful! Is there any way I can save your posts as a favorite as can be done under the community blogs in Articulate? It’s just a nice way to organize everything in one place. Crossing my fingers I’m just missing something.

thanks for sharing. it’s very useful.

Tom — I thought MS was on to your workaround when I saw the Try Again page your links to bookmark sent me to, but I now see that it is a search for images screen — it threw me off at first.

Thanks – Until they see all the hits this page gets in a while and change it on us. 😎

I just wanted to tell you that I love your e-learning blog. I have learned so much and have come to realize that your blog is about the only one I keep up with.
Great and helpful tips!

I LOVE YOU!!!! Thanks for this info. This has been so frustrating to me the last couple of weeks, since they made the changes. I really appreciate this!

Thank you Tom! I was looking for Microsoft’s free music yesterday and gave up trying. This is a score!

Thank you so much. I noticed this issue the other day and I really am glad you found a solution!

November 17th, 2013

Thank you so much , Tom ! for rendering a timely assistance.
Sindhu Thulaseedharan
Asst Prof, Dept of Law,
Uty of Kerala, Trivandrum

November 17th, 2013

Thank you so much , Tom ! for rendering an effective solution.
Sindhu Thulaseedharan,
Asst Prof, Dept of Law,
Uty of Kerala, Trivandrum

Thank you for posting this! I wasn’t so pleased with the new look and searching methods either and wondered if the clip art was still available. Thanks!!