Recommended sites

When you are next looking for free – or great value – resources, try these ones. Those we have marked as 'Free' are either 100% free or have a decent range of stuff you don't need to pay for. Paid only sites are only included if we think they are worth it. And the ones marked with a are our favourites that we use on a regular basis.

See below for how to save the entire set to your browser bookmarks.

If there is something you think we should include, let us know.

Photos

There are plenty of image sites. The ones here are some of the better ones – but new players are appearing all the time. They all provide images that are licenced for you to use, so there is no excuse for resorting to a Google Image search (where the quality and legality can be questionable). If you work for an organisation it is worth checking with your marketing department if they have a subscription for the larger paid sits liek iStock and Shutterstock.

Some of these sites also provide icons and illustrations; they are included again in the other categories below.

And don't forget that a great place to start is the free images available directly in PowerPoint itself: Insert > Pictures > Stock images...

Over 2 million free hi-res images. Great quality, with an easy to use website.

Another great site of free images, at various resolutions. Full of high-quality photos.

This is an aggregation tool that will search lots of internet sources for free photos. Including some of the other sites listed here. Not a bad place to start.

Better known as a brilliant icons resource (see the Icons section) – now providing a growing number of photos.

Another icon resource expanding into photos.

Good quality selection, but loses points for not being able to filter a search.

Slightly more limited selection but still good quality.

Probably powered by ShutterStock, whose premium paid results are prioritised. But still lots of useful free results.

Another slightly limited selection pointing you towards a paid subscription.

Adobe has a great paid collection - and it is now providing a moderate collection of free image. Worth a look.

Seems like an aggregation site, which provides a mix of photos and clipart - some of which are quite dated. (I'm looking at you, white blob man.)

Backed by Getty images, so slightly heavy on advertising paid photos. But still a nice selection of free photos.

Icons

The internet is awash with icon resources; sometimes the problem is too much choice. Here is our recommended starting list. Although mostly free, we never regret the small amount each year for a Noun Project licence.

Tip: for icons in PowerPoint, only ever download SVG icons. This format gives you perfect resolution at any scale and full control over colour.

Lastly, there is of course a very good icon set built right into PowerPoint: Insert > Icons. See our article, which also has tips for tweaking SVG icons to better fit your slides.

Millions of icons for an incredibly reasonable annual subscription. All monochrome flat icons. The PowerPoint plugin can't import SVGs yet, so download from the website.

Mainly paid but still a strong range of free icons in many different styles including multicoloured. You can filter for free icons in a search.

100% free, all SVG and a fairly extensive library of icons in various styles.

Google's Material Design icons are meant for building apps, but if you need small, clear, consistent icons these are really useful.

1600+ free icons that you can either download as SVGs or install as a font. Includes a lot of useful brand icons – like the browser list at the bottom of the page.

Simple, consistent icons with outline, filled and coloured options.

Wide variety of icons collections, when you're looking for something a bit different.

All free, but not as big a range as some of the other sites.

Free subset of a large paid icon database. Arranged by family, but with no search.

Huge set of icons, grouped by style to help you source great, consistent icon sets. PNGs are free, SVGs require a subscription.

Logos

When you need to add the logo for an organisation or a product on your slide, try to avoid using a screen capture, JPEG or PNG. An SVG version of the logo is much more useful – and these sites can help you find one.

Searchable database of company and product logos, all as SVGs. Take care to compare the latest branding as it can sometimes be out of date.

Use the search function to find SVGs of most organisation logos.

Useful set of logos. Some other occasionally useful SVGs too, such as flags of the world.

ILlustrations

Sometimes a hand-drawn illustration is simpler than photo but just as impactful. And if you can find an SVG, then you can convert to a shape and then recolour or remove elements to fit with your slide content. There are some illustrations in PowerPoint (Insert > Icons then select Illustrations) but they are not currently that suitable for professional documents.

This category also includes resources to help draw diagrams and illustrations when you have to create it yourself.

Expansive set of illustrations with a simple and coherent design style.

Flexible diagramming tool with functional templates and more style options than PowerPoint. Try the Org Chart. You can download as SVG for importing into your slides.

Step away from the SmartArt, and use this set of free PPT files as the basis for an eye-catching diagram. Note: you may want to delete the 'shading' shapes.

Courtesy of the in-house graphic design team, over 2000 illustrations free to download.

Smallish selection of people-centric illustrations, but useful if you are looking for something a bit different.

A set of backgrounds, people and objects that you can download as a single zip file and create the picture you want.

Huge range of illustrations grouped into a few dozen consistent styles. But you need to subscribe.

Add-ins

The add-ins here provide useful extra functionality by creating extra buttons or whole new ribbons.

Created by the geniuses at BrightCarbon, this add-in will save you time and heartbreak. Every day. Absolute no-brainer. Download it now.

If you need placeholder text in your designs, this gives more options than the inbuilt =LOREM() trick.

If you run training sessions, this add-in creates a countdown clock that you can use for breaks or group activities, right in your slides. Free if you link on social media.

Tools

These do-one-thing-well websites help with a variety useful jobs.

PowerPoint can edit SVGs - but it's very clunky. If you want to invest time in doing it properly, Figma is a great tool. A bit of a learning curve, but worth the effort. Free for personal use.

Flawless background removal tool for high-quality headshots. And the free preview size is good enough for slides. Great app for bulk removals.

Been given an Adobe Illustrator .ai file? Turn it into a PowerPoint-friendly SVG here. Convert all sorts of files.

If you find yourself having to come up with a sensible colour palette, this tool can help create a set of complementary colours.

Another colour generator tool which is a bit simpler than the Adobe one.

Clever, simple tool that analyses the clarity of your writing. Always helpful, worth getting into the habit of using it for text that needs to be clear.

Another file conversion option that handles a good range of file types.

Reference

Useful information that's worth bookmarking.

Excellent guide to the full range of fonts available in Microsoft365. Worth a scan if you need to pick a typeface.

When your eyes are hurting from trying to find the right Segoe UI MDL2 Assets icons in the Symbol window, search this webpage and then type the code in the box.

Import this list into your bookmarks

We've saved the list above as a bookmark set that you can import into your laptop browser of choice. Pick the one you use below and follow the link for importing instructions. A SHARPN Links folder will appear – in different places on different browser; you can usually drag it to your bookmarks bar. Note: browsers change all the time, so no responsibility is taken if the bookmarks don't load.