In my Optimizing PowerPoint Design for eLearning & Presentations class I like to sing the praises of Microsoft's free online image gallery. But then, a few weeks ago, the unthinkable happened. I went to pull an image from said image gallery, and was met instead with this:
Do you know what this is? I'll tell you what this is. Useless. It looks like maybe you can search here, but believe you me-you cannot. Where once I found easily searchable free images, I am now met with a screen telling me how to use the newest Office to search for Images (which doesn't work for me as I have Office 2010), how to use Office Web Apps to find images (does anyone use that?), or how to use Bing to find these images (which I tried with zero success). The bottom of the page gives me links to images for Office 2010 or 2007, which I thought would be just the ticket. But no. Those links instead navigate to a page outlining how to insert clip art. Thanks for nothing.
I guess I shouldn't have been upset that a free service had disappeared. But, ya know what, I was upset. (Spoiler alert: I was upset enough that I kept digging until I found a solution. Read on for more!)
If you've used the free image gallery you probably know how great it is. But if you haven't, here's why it's such a valuable tool for eLearning designers:
You Can search by Style numbers
Let's say you found this image:
If you found the image in Microsoft's free image gallery, then it came complete with a linked style number.
Clicking the style number pulls up other images from the same style that can all be used together for a cohesive design. That's awesome.
Unless you already know the Style number, you cannot search by style number from the Office Clip Art pane. Nor does the clip art mention anywhere in its keywords what the style number is.
Search by General Style
Maybe a particular style doesn't have quite enough images for you. That's okay, the image gallery has a feature allowing you to search by general style--pulling up other images that look similar, even if they aren't technically part of the same style group.
The Search feature within Office's Clip Art pane does not have this feature.
Note: This feature did not work for me in Chrome or Internet Explorer without first downloading Microsoft's Silverlight. I'm running Parallels, however, so I used Safari on the mac side without having to do any additional downloading.
When I search within PowerPoint's Clip Art pane using the keyword "construction" for illustrations, including content from office.com, I get back 106 images to choose from. The same search online in the MS Image gallery brings back 156 images.
When I found I could no longer access my beloved Images section of MS Office's site I spent two hours being bounced around between Microsoft's live online chat and multiple tech support hotlines. I tried explaining what was missing every way I knew how and no one seemed to know what I was talking about. If I couldn't access the site anymore I was hopeful that someone could at least tell me how to identify a clip art image's style number from within MS Office for easy searching. This was not the case.
Luckily (and I know it is cruel to make you wait this long for the solution, but at least you weren't on the phone for two hours), I found the solution on my own. By bypassing the image search page of the Microsoft Office page and instead searching the Office site as a whole, I was able to find the hidden images! For your convenience, here is a direct link.
(Note: When you click the direct link above, the resulting page will say "found no results” because you haven't searched for anything yet. Go ahead and type your search keyword into the search bar above the text to look for images. After you search you can adjust the Media Types at the left to filter your results.)