Thursday, October 23, 2008

Clipart for iWork/Pages: where is it

There are tons of clipart images on your computer even though there is no clipart folder in iWork. Because you've already paid for clipart when you bought your Mac. iWork is an integral part of the Mac: it complements, works together with apps which are already there - iLife (iPhoto), Mail, Preview, Address Book, Dictionaries, Spotlight and others. Unlike MS Office which is a separate Universe on your machine. So where is clipart for Pages?

Here is where:

Pages (and other iWork) Templates
- First, elements of Pages templates can be used as clipart - just cut and paste them.

Among many others I have used a 'wrought iron fence post' (above) from the Collector Newsletter as a column divider. The image with little grey houses from the Real Estate Newsletter is good to go with anything about property. The index card image from the Back Page of the Green Grocery Newsletter went with a cooking recipe and the background image of yellowish piece of paper from Musical Concert poster looked nice behind an article on history.

Most of templates clipart is editable and easy to resize. Some of the images are locked or grouped. Under Arrange menu unlock and ungroup them to use as separate graphic elements. Many of them are easy to recreate with Pages tools. Bear in mind, however, that some of the images have low resolution and should only be used with small dimensions.

- A dozen or so attractive clipart images are in Image Bullets under Bullets drop-down menu (Text Inspector, List tab).

There are check boxes and others. I love silver and golden pearls. But any of your own original images can be made into a bullet. (Custom Image - Choose) Note that images with shadows may distort the surrounding text, so it is best to avoid shadows here.

Mac Library
- HD>Library>Desktop Pictures

There are 76 high-resolution images here including the famous dew drop (top right image) and the ladybird. These are large files, good enough for use as background images.

- Home>Pictures>iChat Icons
(or HD>LIbrary>Application Support>Apple>iChat Icons.)

National flags are stored here as buttons. The apple on the left is in the Fruit folder. I've also used Gems icons from this folder as bullets, like the ruby heart on the right.

- User Pictures, also in HD>Library.

Animals, flowers, nature, sports and other clipart here. I was disappointed not to find a cricket ball there even though, arguably, cricket, of all ball games, has the biggest following in the world (Britain, South Africa, Australia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka etc., more than a hundred countries in the international federation). But I found a free image on Wikipedia and made it into clipart.

Note: there may be several Libraries on your Mac. The main Library is on your Hard Drive, don't move or rename any folders there. Your personal Library (these are created for each Account on your machine) is in the Home folder. This may sound a bit confusing, but you don't have to wade through endless folders to find what you want - just use Spotlight like you'd use Google.

Character Palette
- And there are hundreds of very useful clipart-like characters in Character Palette

They range from the familiar Command symbol on the Mac keyboard to zodiac symbols, to chess pieces and cards icons, to mathematical and musical signs, various daily life shapes, including icons of telephones, pens and pencils, scissors, aeroplanes etc. And there is Greek alphabet for use in scientific papers (for instance, the letter π .) Just click and drag them into your Pages project.

Check out the Palette to find what you need under Input Menu chooser in the main screen menu. If it is not activated on your Mac, open System Preferences>International>Input Menu and check the Character Palette box. (update): Otherwise, if you are note using several languages, simply go via Edit > Special characters route. When you slide down to the last option under the Edit menu the Character palette opens.

The beauty of the Palette characters is that they behave like letters - there are font variations, you can change colour and font size in the Format Bar, add shadows and other effects in the Object Inspector or via the Font Panel (open it with Command+T keyboard shortcut). If you need to use them as separate images in PDF or JPEG format, 'print' to PDF or to iPhoto and crop as necessary. Or use Command+Shift+4 to make a screenshot image in PNG format (good for internet use.)

MS Office clipart is compatible
- And, if you have kept your old copy of MS Office, nothing is simpler than just copy-pasting or drag'n'dropping clipart from the Office folder right into your Pages project.

Among the Office clipart images I've used in the magazine without any problem are the pink and yellow electric lamp and the image of an old-fashioned computer with CRT display.

And, on top of all of the above, it is fun to create your own clipart in Pages. Children love it.

Read more in my new book 'iWork for Mac OSX Cookbook' (2012). Follow me on Twitter at iworkinpages, like my page I Work in Pages on Facebook and add me to your circles on Google+.

Please check out these previous articles about clipart and graphic images in Pages:
Remembrance poppies: make your own with Pages
Creating your own clipart with Instant Alpha 
A Complete 10-Step Tutorial (Christmas Card): create original shapes, from snapshots to clip art, draw and edit images,  Alpha and Draw tools, create and arrange images
How to design folders in Pages
Creating clipart and original shapes in Pages
Curving lines and shapes: make them in Pages
Maps in Pages


  1. I am trying to find a folder of iWork Pages clipart ... surely it is somewhere on the hard-drive ... any advise?

  2. Jovita, in the very first sentence of this post I write:

    There are tons of clipart images on your computer even though there is NO CLIPART folder in iWork.

    Apple respects your creativity enough to trust that you can use the images on your computer as clipart or make your own.

  3. Jennifer Grainger9:41 pm

    What about layering on an image. For instance, I'm trying to create a christmas card to print and send out today - and all I want it to put santa hats on my husband and I's heads in the photos... I found a santa hat clip art on google but I can't seem to layer it on our heads, plus, unlike MS clipart - it has the white box around the image.

  4. Jennifer - this shouldn't be difficult.

    - to put hats on your heads (layering) use Arrange menu>Bring to front.
    The hats will be in the top layer. If you want the tops to point in opposite directions flip one of the images in Metrics Inspector. If the hat proportions are awkward, try unchecking Constrain Proportions in Metrics Inspector or under Format>Shape>Make Editable - see if your image can be edited.

    - the white background around the image can be removed by using the Alpha tool.
    If it's not in your tool bar, it is under Format menu. Launch Alpha, click on the image and drag the crosshair over the white background several times. I've descirbed this technique in a previous article 'Remembrance Poppies' - click on the link at the end of the article above to read it.
    If you have time and feel adventurous you can change the background in your photo - check out articles under 'Simple tricks with photos' at the top of the sidebar.
    Hope this helps - and Happy Christmas!

  5. i am a writer- but I find myself having to dabble in design- argh, not my strong suit.
    I have a photo that I want to layer on top of a logo- can i do this with iPages? help!

  6. yes, of course you can.

    You will probably need Send to Back/Bring to Front function under Arrange menu. This moves images on screen in the same way as you shuffle your notes on the desk. Click to select the photo and then Bring to front - it will be on top of the logo.

    Two other functions come in handy.

    Resize. Click to select an image, drag handles to resize as needed.

    Rotate. To align images the way you want you can rotate them. Click to select, press and hold Command key and drag a handle to rotate. You also rotate images in Metrics Inspector (the one with the little ruler) with the rotating dial.

    Have a look at Doodles: Picasso's room ( to see what you can do with graphics. And I've just published 10 step-by-step posts on how to make a Christmas card in Pages (click on the blog title to go to latest articles).

    I am a writer too (journalist). It took me two weeks to learn design basics in Pages - and the rest is elbow grease.

    Hope this helps.

  7. Anonymous5:56 pm

    Where is the Clip Art file? and if it there....why is it so hard to find. Why does Apple not support Clip Art?

    1. I am not sure what to suggest - the article above describes where clip art is stored on a Mac. There is more than anyone can reasonably need.

  8. Carrie12:06 am

    I was told yesterday at the Apple store that Steve Jobs was very against clipart and refused to include it in his products. So we are all victims of his prejudice. I, too, am looking for a compatible clipart program along with a better publishing program (like Publisher) for my MAC. I was so disappointed to get this home and find out that, unlike all the raves about how good MACs are with graphics, there are none!

    1. graphics is one thing, clip art is another. The article above describes where clip art is stored on a Mac. There is more than anyone can reasonably need.

  9. Carrie4:20 am

    Alexander, I am just beginning with MAC and don't even know what iWorks is or where it is found. I have Pages because I bought it, but it does not include anything but photos. I need drawings as clipart and even your pix above look like they are photos, not drawings. Any other suggestions?

    1. Pages is part of iWork, used to be sold as one suite, now they sell it separately.

      There aren't many drawings no. Look at the Catering template to see how knife, spoon and fork are drawn. Under Edit, go to Special Characters>Miscellaneous, there are plenty of icons there.

      You can draw your own pictures with Draw tool - the last in Shapes menu. See posts about Picasso's dog and Robin on this blog. You may draw your own quicker than finding one on the internet.

  10. I purchased some cut up photo masks and the designer said I can use them in photoshop with layering. But I want to use Pages. Any thoughts?

    1. yes, of course, import your photo in a Pages document and then a mask.

  11. I found this very helpful. Thank you!

  12. I'm so new that I still can't figure out how to get to any of the places you suggest to look. Where is HD>Library>Desktop Pictures? I don't understand where this "HD" is you speak of?

    1. In current OS Mac the choice and places seems to be slightly different.
      You can still find large screensaver images in Macintosh HD>Library>Desktop Pictures


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


© 2006-2010, 2010-2017 Alexander Anichkin, All Rights Reserved.
All content is original and was created by me, the author and publisher of I Work in Pages.
Quotations and images are attributed where applicable.
No republication without express prior permission.
Blog template by Blogger with customisation by the publisher.