In May 2020, Microsoft added a potentially useful feature to PowerPoint–stock images. This feature alone could save you tons of money that you would have to spend on stock photos. However, after using it for a while and diving deep into Microsoft’s documentation, I was disappointed.
Does PowerPoint Have Stock Images?
PowerPoint has a built-in collection of stock images of unknown size. It’s based on Bing’s image search, which pulls stock images from the web and makes them available to PowerPoint users at no cost.
You can browse the PowerPoint images using keywords, by license, and by content (color, layout, size). Additionally, you can browse by type, including using photographs, clipart, line drawings, and transparent images.
How Do I Get Stock Images in PowerPoint?
Follow these easy steps to get stock images in PowerPoint:
Open Microsoft PowerPoint.
Create a presentation.
In the quick access toolbar, click “Insert”.
Choose “Pictures” > “Online Pictures…”.
This will open Bing’s image search window.
Find your images.
Click “Insert” when you want to use it.
Make sure you’re using it legally.
If you have your own stock images:
- Open Microsoft PowerPoint.
- Create a presentation.
- In the menu, click “Insert”.
- Choose “Pictures” > “This Device…”.
This will open your computer’s folder.
- Locate your images.
- Click “Open”.
PowerPoint Stock Images License
According to the Microsoft Agent, Sukie Qi, MSFT, you “can search and insert high quality professional stock imagery from places like Getty and iStock in Stock images, there is no cost to you.”
However, PowerPoint does not disclose where it gets the images from or how they are licensed. My best guess is that they simply don’t know, so the fate of your legal safety depends on Bing’s algorithm. Or as Microsoft’s agent put it, “generally, you can trust that they are being accurate.”
Are PowerPoint stock images copyrighted?
Not every stock image is protected by copyright, since copyrights protect them only for a limited period of time. That’s when it gets into the public domain and you may use it freely without permission. However, since PowerPoint doesn’t tell you (for sure) how the image is licensed, you never know.
You can search for images by selecting “Creative Commons only,” but the accuracy of this filter is questionable.
Should You Use PowerPoint Stock Images?
I discourage you to use PowerPoint stock images because you never know if you’re infringing any copyrights since Microsoft doesn’t disclose the source, author, or license. You can do a reverse image search using Google to find the source, but that results in extra work for you.
How to Safely Use PowerPoint Images?
The best way to use stock images in PowerPoint is either by using your own photos or paying for royalty-free photos. This way, you’ll have the right to use the image, otherwise, you can get into trouble.
I recommend using reliable and vetted stock photo sites with a good selection of stock images for low prices:
1. Adobe Stock
For a variety of reasons, Adobe Stock is the best value stock image subscription. To begin, you can select from six different subscription plans–three monthly and three annual plans with 10, 25, 40, and 750 monthly downloads. Standard images, templates, audio, vectors, and even videos are included in the subscriptions, but not premium images. Every subscription plan also includes Creative Cloud integration, which allows you to view the entire image library directly in Adobe apps. Finally, the free trial includes 10, 25, or 40 free downloads.
Shutterstock is the largest and most popular stock photo agency in the world. According to research, however, Shutterstock is losing popularity to Adobe Stock. Regardless, with over 400 million stock images and other assets, Shutterstock remains a popular choice. Unlike Adobe, Shutterstock does not include any extra features with its subscription plans.
iStock isn’t the cheapest by default, but with coupons, you can get up to a 30 percent discount, giving you the lowest prices in the industry. In all honesty, some subscriptions are roughly the same price (Dreamstime, StockPhotoSecrets, Bigstock), but I don’t recommend them. With subscription plans, iStock offers both standard (“Essentials”) and premium (“Signature”) images, resulting in a lower price per image.
How to Cite PowerPoint Stock Images?
According to APA, you must cite images in accordance with their license. Therefore, we distinguish between “no attribution required” and “attribution required”. If attribution is required, place it directly below the image. If that’s not possible, you should put it at the end of the website/design/slide, but see the license for more details.
PowerPoint provides stock images found through Bing’s image search, but the source is not disclosed. As a result, using these stock images is risky, as you may unknowingly infringe copyrights. For this reason, I recommend using royalty-free stock images with a verified source for all your commercial projects.