One question I get asked often from students is “Where do you find stock photos?” Although I have a subscription to Shutterstock myself, many of my students are looking for free stock photo options and are afraid of just doing a simple Google search to find them (and rightly so! As most photos you will find on the web are copyright protected and therefore unusable for business and personal use). Luckily, there are some nice new add-ins available on the Office Store that offer royalty-free, and legally cleared images.
Pickit: Free Images in PowerPoint and Word
Pickit is a simple add-in for PowerPoint and Word that allows you to access quality images and icons from right within a PowerPoint or Word task pane and insert them directly into your presentation or document.
There is a free version, which is the version I will show you how to install below, but if you require additional licenses or photograph options, they (of course) have a paid level and business subscription as well. I don’t have a subscription, so I can’t speak as to the library of photographs. Glancing at the price, it looks tempting; it’s definitely cheaper than what I am paying at Shutterstock (but I do love the variety and freedom I get at Shutterstock with their licensing).
Installing this add-in was very simple. If you’ve installed any add-in from the Office store, this was no different a process and very fast.
- If using the latest version of PowerPoint 2016 (subscription version), go to the new Add-ins tab.
You might see Pickit in the Recommended area. If not, click on the Store button to open the Office Add-ins Store window.
- If you still don’t see Pickit Free Images in the Recommended area, type in pickit free in the search box. That should yield two search results: Pickit Free Images, and Pickit Business Images. The business add-in is best if you will be using these pictures for your business, but it will require a license. If you are just using Pickit for personal use and/or don’t require high resolution photos, you should be okay to use the Pickit Free Images.
- Click Add next to Pickit Free Images to install the add-in. Installation should only take about minute on high-speed internet connections, on optimal machines (if we are comparing it to mine, that is). When installation is complete, you should see something like this:
A message pointing to where the add-in button is installed on your Ribbon. On my version of PowerPoint, it was installed on the Home tab, but on your copy of PowerPoint, it might be placed in a different location (Microsoft has been experimenting with add-in button locations–grrrr…).
- Just click the Pickit button to open the Pickit taskpane, search for images, and insert free images into your presentation.
Overall, it’s not a bad little add-in. There are some free pictures of not horrible picture quality. I’ve seen worse. I mean, it’s free. What do you want for free? That said, you WILL be bugged to upgrade to one of the paid subscriptions and to login to make use of some of their other features, like “heart-ing” (favoriting) pictures (yes, they want your email; we all want your email. Since some people don’t want to pay for pictures or [cough cough] training it’s how us schmucks have figured out how to put food on the table).
But, the interface to search for pictures is quite nice and I really like their “Pickit Collections” and “User Collections” options for browsing (well, except for the Illustrated Professions collection. If there is any collection that screams “ClipArt” it is this ugly collection. Seriously, use these pictures with extreme caution people.