Free, online image tools & resources for wordies

If you’re like me – and even if you’re not, you might not have the image schtick nailed down when it comes to web writing or blogging. Maybe you don’t want to. I thought I’d share some tools and tricks I use for my blog. These are online resources and tools that can help you to add images to your blog without violating copyright.

Flickr: creative commons

Find free images for your website without breaking copyrightFlickr’s Creative Commons has to be my all time favourite for finding beautiful, free images that you can add to posts. According to the Creative Commons wiki, “Creative Commons is a global nonprofit organization that enables sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge through the provision of free legal tools… Creative Commons’ licenses and tools were designed specifically to work with the web, which makes content that is offered under their terms easy to search for, discover and use.”

So you can use images in Flickr that have Creative Common Licences. Just make sure that you follow the licensing agreement (some require that you do not alter an image, for example).

The photo in this post was created with images from the Free Use Flickr group

Here’s the short tour of getting to Flickr’s creative commons

  1. Go to and in the search box enter “creative commons”
  2. You’ll see a drop down menu and from there select Creative Commons
  3. You’ll be directed to the CC home page
  4. Begin by searching according to the type of license (I usually choose attribution)
  5. You’ll see the most recent uploads or you can search by popular tags or by entering a term that you are interested in try typewriter or writing or blogging and see what you get!

Your own images, Dropbox & Pixlr

Since purchasing an iPhone, I have enjoyed using my own images. With the iPhone, you can edit the images before uploading. If you’re already using online resources and you are using Dropbox, just edit your image and drop it into Dropbox to add to your blog.

If you’re not familiar with Dropbox as an online file storage service, read this Dropbox post for info about it and to sign up.

If you don’t have an editing tool on your phone or if you are using a digital camera, you can always edit your images with Pixlr. Pixlr is a free online photo editor. Edit, adjust and filter your images. No registration – you can jump right in! If you’re not sure how to start, here’s a post on editing and sizing your images using Pixlr.

Google images – advanced search

You Google Image Search - Advancedcan search for images on Google Images but how will you know whether there is copyright associated with the images that show up in search? To check which images you can use in Google Search – follow these simple steps before you use an image to ensure that you are not violating copyright.

  1. Select Image Search in Google
  2. Enter some description of your image and hit enter
  3. In the top right corner you should see an icon that looks like gears (see image). That’s a dropdown menu. Click on “Advanced search.” This takes you to a new page where you can put in specific parameters – including usage right (the very last box). Here you select the level of usage rights that fits your blog.

Microsoft royalty free images

UPDATE: When this post was originally written Microsoft offered royalty free images.  You can still access these images from within MSOffice.

If you have other free online resources and tools to share, please chime in. We wordies need to stick together and help each other out. If you’re not a wordie, have pity and add your secret sauce.


Download royalty-free clip art, photos, illustrations, animations, sounds, borders, icons, backgrounds, and more for Microsoft Office products.

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