Need To Embellish Your Web Page or Document With Graphics? Here's How You Can Do It!

As most children can tell you, reading a book without pictures can get boring. Well, so can reading a web site, newsletter, or other document. But there is a way around that, without having to be an artist. It's called Clip Art !

Clip Art is another word for pictures, usually produced electronically, which can be inserted in a word document, online web page, or other media. Since most of us aren't artists, we may find ourselves looking for clip art sources to spice up our web site, family or business newsletter, scrapbook, photo album or any other document created on our computer. In this article we'll cover the types of clip art available, where you can find it, and what to watch out for. When you've explored the sources we list, you should have several places where you can find clip art for your own use and add a new dimension to your work. Read on!

Clip Art Basic Information

We'll start off with some basic information about Clip Art. Probably the most important thing you should be aware of is copyright infringement. Clip Art copyright generally falls into three categories: Royalty Free, Rights Managed, and Public Domain. Royalty free and public domain images can generally be used for non-profit purposes, and these are what you'll find in free download sites, for the most part. Care needs to be used when using a public domain image, because if it has been redrawn in any way, it becomes a "rights managed" image and subject to copyright laws. If you violate copyright by using a rights managed image, you are subject to a lawsuit. Fortunately, most Clip Art web sites will only use royalty free clips, so you should be safe. When in doubt, look for information on the web site itself, or don't use their clips. Be especially careful of photograph clip art, since photos generally fall under copyright laws.

Clip Art file formats fall into two categories: Bitmap and Vector graphics. Bitmap are the most commonly used, and easily worked with. These include .gif, .jpeg, .tiff, or .png. Vector graphics are usually superior, just not as common. Microsoft's clip art is a form of vector graphics.

Clip Art Sources

Clip Art is available on CD or DVD; images are royalty-free. These can purchased where ever computer software is sold, or online through sources such as There are many types of collections available, such as general, holiday, and other specific categories. Depending on the number of images and CD's/DVD's in the collection, your prices can range from $10 on up to about $85. The larger the collection, the more likely you will find everything you'll ever want or need in graphics files.


Here are some online download sites for free or cheap Clip Art. These sites are all royalty-free:

  • Free Clip Art Library is a free subscription site to unlimited clip art files. You need to sign up and complete a survey before receiving a password to their library, so if this isn't something you're comfortable with, skip this site. Their clip art is royalty-free.
  • Microsoft Office's online site has thousands of free Clip Art files for downloading.
  • offers links to thousands of free clip art for downloads. Copyright information must be consulted for each download, since these links are not the express property of
  • Sign up for Dover Publications free newsletter and receive weekly downloads of free clip art.
  • has free clip art graphics available, with no need to sign up for a newsletter or take a survey. The graphics are clear and easy to see. They ask that if you are using them on a web site, that your link back to their web site in return.
  • 321 asks that you link back to their site in order to use the thousands of free clip art files available there.


Remember to check for copyright whenever you are using a clip, especially if you will be putting it on your web page. Check the information which should be available at your clip art source, whether it be from a CD, DVD or online, to be sure you can use your selected clips freely without worry of copyright infringement. And it would be a good idea to cite your sources for the clip art if the clip art will appear on a web site.

We can't provide every clip art link or source in this article, so feel free to look for some of your own. Have fun with your new project!

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