I have been using Office 2013 preview version for a while now on my main laptop and, more recently, on the Surface tablet and have been pretty impressed with this new iteration of the world’s most-used productivity suite. Much improved interface, effective integration with the cloud and a raft of small but very satisfying improvements in the way things work. Now it’s not for me to provide an in-depth review of all this: plenty of other more important people have done so already and a quick flick through the search engine results will provide hours of reading on the subject. I just wanted to flag up one little change that might prove useful for the hard-pressed teacher or, indeed, student, and that is the new Insert Online Picture command.
This option now appears on the Insert tab in PowerPoint, Word and even Excel next to the more familiar Picture one and gives you the dialogue as shown in the screenshot above.You can choose from your own images on Skydrive or Flickr (which you add as a source) or from Bing search or the Office.com image bank (this is basically an improved version of the old ClipArt option). There is indeed some clipart on the latter site, which is probably best ignored, but there is a surprising wealth of good photographic imagery of decent file size available there too. And this is the clever bit: it’s royalty free and can be used without worrying about rights issues. Unless you want to start selling the images, of course. The best bit of this new command is that the Bing search defaults to Creative Commons licensed images (you can click to check the details of the licensing if you’re need to), which is clever, or you can expand it to catch any image on the web.
All of which is neatly done and potentially a time saver, especially if you are trying to stay on the right side of copyright issues. And we should all be doing that, especially if you intend to share your work on the web.