How to Use Clip Art Effectively

You can use clip art in web pages, in desktop publishing, in a school project, at work in various documents, or in newsletters to make your work more effective. It can make your work come alive, but there are things you should know to use it more effectively.

Clip art can spice up posters, fliers and newsletters, but many people use far too much of it to be effective. Too many pictures or images on a page can make it hard for a reader to concentrate on the text in your document. Clip art should be used with a purpose and moderation. It should be used to illustrate a point or support your text.

There are no definitive rules on how much clip art to use in a document. If you’re not dealing with a catalogue or a yearbook, however, there is a good chance that if your document has more than three or four images, you might have too many graphics.

Another good idea might be using one or two large images in your document, instead of many small images. Using too many small images all over the page can create image overload and not be effective. One example would be if you put using clip art to scatter decorative bullets, boxes, borders, and lines all over the place. Instead, it would be better to choose one or two key images to compliment the text and that provides a visual interest or helps the reader focus his attention on your point.

Make all of your images the same size. Don’t scatter them all over the place, but unify them instead. Use one style for bullets throughout not only the page, but the whole publication. When you must use many images, tie them together visually to provide consistency.

Give a single image prominence through careful placement and size, rather than using a barrage of images that compete for attention. Use the remaining images elsewhere on the page, as previously described.

You don’t need a piece of clip art to demonstrate every point to be effective.

An example of overkill on using clip art might be an announcement of a party. If one were to have images of a phone by the phone number, a house next to the address of the party, cakes, streamers, party hats, and presents; and a clock beside the time of the party, that would not be effective. Instead, it would be better to pick one or two images to demonstrate the party theme and use them.

You should make sure every piece of clip art serves a purpose and is appropriate for the tone and style of the piece. Also be careful about putting more than three images on one page.

Microsoft Word, if you are using than instead of another word processing program or Microsoft Publisher, contains a variety of kinds of clip art that can make your document more effective-no matter what version of Word you are using. To find the art, click Insert, Picture, and Clip Art. You will then be able to search for clip art that will match a keyword you enter. Some images will be on the program installed on your hard drive, but others will require you to use the CD you used to install Word. You will also have a link to clips online, if you choose to use it. There is also a link to click that will offer tips for finding clips. You can also click Insert, Picture, and Word Art, to add decorative text to any document.

There is also a link in a Word document to the Microsoft Clip Organizer. With that you will be able to search favorites, Windows, unclassified clips, office collections, and web collections. With the web collections, as one example, you can search Microsoft Office clip art for clippings concerning a huge number of topics, including, academic topics, art, religion, sports, people, and many others. With those images, you can copy and paste them into your document. The office collection also has a variety of clip art on a variety of topics, and you can put it in your document the same way. While you need to add clip art in that way from the clip organizer, other clip art found when just doing a search in Word can be added by just double clicking.

A variety of kinds of clip art can be found at, by doing a search for clip art.

A variety of other free clip art can be found online at various sites, including,,, and

Clip art can be an effective addition to many types of documents, if it is properly used.

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