Sunday, May 22, 2016

4 Ways to add Clipart to Google Docs

“Where’s my clipart!?”

When someone first moves from Microsoft Office to Google Docs, that is often one of the early questions that comes up. Certainly Google Docs offers many excellent new features to explore (revision history, voice typing, sharing and collaborating, and more) but we still tend to notice the things that are missing rather than the new tools that are there.

So, yes, it is true that Google Docs does not have a simple Insert Clipart menu option, but that does not mean there is no way to include clipart. In fact, quite the opposite! Google Docs provides (at least) 4 ways to add clipart to your documents.

These options are great for students creating stories, reports, projects, posters, and more, as well as teachers making instructional material, hyperdocs, templates, and such. In addition, all of these options allow you to respect copyrights and teach students about the proper use of media.

See the rest of the blog post below for 4 easy options for adding clipart to Google Docs, with explanations of how to do each.

Image Search

One way to find and insert clipart is through the normal Insert Image menu option.

  • Click “Insert” in the top menu bar and then select “Image”.
  • This will open the standard Insert Image window.
  • Choose the tab on the far right that is titled “Search”.
  • Type in your search term and click the search button.
  • To limit the results to just clipart, change the drop down menu option from “Any type” to “Clipart”.
  • Finally click on the image you want and click the “Select” button to insert it into your Doc.

The image search option only returns images that have been designated for “commercial reuse with modification”. This means the images are ok for your students to use in their work without violating any copyrights.

Research Tool

Another easy way to locate and add clipart to your document is by using the built-in Research Tool.

  • Begin by clicking “Tools” then “Research”.
  • This will open the Research panel on the right side of the screen.
  • In the search box type in your search term. If looking specifically for clipart, be sure to include that in the search such as “dog clipart”.
  • From the drop down menu on the left of the search box, choose “Images” to narrow down the results to just pictures.
  • To find copy friendly images, click the down arrow under the search box and choose “Free to use, share or modify, even commercially”.
  • Finally, find the image you want and simply click, drag, and drop it into your Doc.

When the image is dropped into your Google Doc, it will add a footnote at the bottom of the page with a citation link back to the image source. If needed, you can remove this by deleting the footnote number next to the image.

Openclipart Add-on

The next option for clipart is not automatically built into Google Docs, but instead is something you need to install. It is the Add-on called “Openclipart”.

Openclipart is a website with close to 100,000 clipart images that are all free to use however you want. This Add-on makes it easy for you to search that site and add clipart to your Doc.

  • First, install the Add-on (if you have not already) by clicking “Add-ons” and then “Get add-ons”.
  • Search for “Openclipart” and then click the “+ FREE” button to install it.
  • Now any time you want to use the Add-on just click “Add-ons” then “Openclipart” then “Search clipart”.
  • This will open the “Clipart” panel on the right side of your screen.
  • Type your search term in the box at the top and click “Search”.
  • Scroll through the clipart results and then simply click on the image you want.
  • The clipart image will be inserted into your document.

Drag and Drop

A final option for adding clipart to your Google Doc is to locate the image on a free clipart site, and then drag and drop it into your document. There are many websites that provide collections of clipart that are free for use and school friendly. Some examples would include:

Note: Some images on the sites above may have some restrictions for use, so always check for any listed limitations before using.

  • Once you find a clipart image you want to use, simply click on it, hold down, and drag and drop it into your Google Doc.
  • If you have two monitors this can be very easy since once screen can be the clipart site and the other screen can be your Google Doc.
  • If you only have one monitor, you can split your Chrome tabs so they are next to each other by using the “Tab Scissors” extension (Chrome Web Store link).
  • Another option for a single monitor is to click and drag the image to the tab for your Google Doc, wait a moment for Chrome to switch focus to that tab, and then drag the image down into your Doc.


With these options, you and your students should have no trouble finding and inserting clipart into your Google Doc creations. Also, all of these options work for adding clipart to Google Slides, except for the Openclipart Add-on since Slides does not currently support Add-ons.

If you have other suggestions for useful clipart sites, or ways to add images to Google Docs, please feel free to share in the comments below.


  1. Thank you very much. These ideas were very useful.

  2. No need to get the openclipart add-on for slides just go to the website instead and copy and paste. I find it actually much quicker than using the add-on.