In Brief

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

(all images via office.microsoft.com)
(all images via office.microsoft.com)

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.

clip-art-launch

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

clip-art-inventory

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

clip-art-options

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

clip-art-online-shift

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.

clip-art-lichtenstein

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

clip-art-closed

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

clip-art-search

h/t CNN Money

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