Twitter mourns MS Clip Art

Posted on December 8, 2014


At the beginning of this month, Microsoft announced that it will no longer be supporting the Clip Art function in its Office products.

With usage of its images trailing off in recent years, due in part to the wider selection of high-quality pictures that can be found online, the firm reported that the Clip Art library was closing shop.

Already, many on social media have taken to posting nostalgic eulogies for the service, which has come to be synonymous with the early years of using computers for a number of people. The stock art images were even used by web design specialists back in its heyday, adorning many a burgeoning online presence.

The pictures were made possible in the early 1980s by developments in the technology, specifically desktop publishing. The bitmap or line art images were first professionally introduced to IBM PCs in 1983.

Before long, companies began to offer Clip Art for use by customers and it started to take off on a wider scale with the adoption of CD-ROMs in the ‘90s, which could allow for more images.

Bill Gates’ company was also getting in on the Clip Art game at this time, and in 1996, as part of its default installation of Microsoft Word 6.0, it included 82 simple WMF files. Many of these images consisted of stickmen figures that would eventually become known as the ‘screen beans’.

While the pictures were often described as crudely drawn and rather cheesy, social media users have marked the service’s passing, particularly on Twitter with the hashtag #RIPClipArt.

When he’s not editing web copy and news articles at work, Web Content Editor Tom sates his love for the written word by losing himself in a good book.
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