One of the complaints I hear all the time when working with people on their presentations is that their budgets don’t stretch far enough to purchase stock images.

It’s a complaint I began to hear with increasing frequencey as the Beyond Bullet Points ideology took hold in recent years.

While it’s true that the price of stock images can be excessive for most situations there are many sources of low costs and free images. Now before you think I mean searching Google, using what you can find and hoping nobody notices the poor quality of thumbnails stretched to fill HD slides and the lack of cohesion between the random collection you’ve managed to collate … I don’t!

In addition to the well known paid services such as iStockPhoto and ShutterStock there is a hidden gem in Google Drive and it’s associated applications called Stock Images.

A recent extension to the service means that there is now a collection of over 5,000 high quality images available immediately.

Here’s how to use it:

Open an Existing File or Create a New a File


The Stock Images are available in all the Google Apps so locate an existing file or create a new file and open that file to get going.

Ready to Use Stock Images


Once the file is open you are ready to go.

Here I have a presentation file with the word "Innovation" as the title. What I am hoping to do is locate a suitable image to replace this with in Google Stock Images.

Access Google Stock Images


Google Stock Images can be accessed from the menu:

Insert > Image

Insert Image


The Insert Image dialog box is displayed.

The default option allows you to drag and drop one of your own images on to the dialog box to be uploaded.

To access the Stock Images click "Search"

Search Dialog Box


Clicking Search displays the search dialog box, but notice the default setting here is to search Google for images.

Accessing the Stock Images Search


The logos below the search box are actually buttons and clicking the "Stock images" option (1) on the right changes the search to "Stock" (2)

Searching Stock Images


Enter your search term in the search box (1) and the search button (2) becomes active, indicated by the button overlay.

Click the search button.

Search Results


The search results are returned below the search box.

Selecting an Image


Select the required image, indicated by a blue border (1), and click the Select button (2), now highlighted in blue.

Inserting the Image


Once the blue button is clicked in the previous step the image is placed on the currently selected slide. It is placed in the centre of the slide and scaled to the full width of the slide.

Refining the Image Placement


The white sizing handles can be used to scale, move and rotate the image.

Here I have rescaled the image and placed it in the lower left corner of the slide.