In Brief

In Honor of the Death of Clip Art, a Brief Illustrated History of Clip Art

(all images via
(all images via

A major source of raw materials for board room presentations and net art projects is about to go dry: Microsoft announced on Monday that it is discontinuing Clip Art and replacing the charmingly bland, often inscrutable stock image library that’s long been a fixture of its Office word-processing package with a Bing image search function. On the occasion of its demise, here is a very brief history of Microsoft’s Clip Art illustrated, naturally, with Microsoft Clip Art.

Microsoft first introduced Clip Art with the release of Word 6.0 in 1993.


The inventory of Clip Art was very limited at first, with just 82 illustrations from which to choose.


In later versions of Word and Office, the database of Clip Art grew to include over 100,000 illustrations, offering users seemingly limitless options.


The most recent versions of Office have shifted the collection of Clip Art to an online database searchable through


But Microsoft has seen usage of Clip Art plummet as search engines and specialized websites have become more popular resources for stock images and illustrations.


As a result of this dwindling usage, Microsoft opted to cease producing Clip Art.


Instead, Microsoft Office users will now be able to look for images licensed through Creative Commons using Bing’s image search function.


h/t CNN Money

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