Free Stock Images: Discover an Untapped Resource in Google Drive


Did you know that Google Drive has free stock images tucked away inside it?

Well we certainly didn’t and we use Google Drive (previously Google Docs) a lot.

For those of you who have never used Google Docs it is a free, web-based word processor, spreadsheet, presentation offered by Google.

It allows users to create and edit documents on-line while collaborating in real-time with other users, which of course is great for us as we live 80 miles apart.

My usual MO (Method of Operation) of finding how things work is to just press buttons and see what happens. Sometimes this can end up being more trouble than it’s worth, but sometimes it produces gold.


Enter Free Stock Images in Google Drive

Google Drive now offers a collection of 5000 high quality free stock images for use with your Google docs, presentation slides and spreadsheets.

In August last year Google made a post on their Google Drive page on Google Plus, asking the Google+ community to choose 10 images (from, a popular stock images website) which they would like to use in their documents and slides.

The Google team then pulled together 13 categories of photos which are available in Google Drive and for use in Google documents.

If you don’t use Google Drive, then you just may not be aware of this resource, so the easiest thing to do is to show you where they are.


Step 1

Go to Google Drive and open a document – either a document, presentation or spreadsheet. Here’s where you would do this:

Select a document in Google Drive









Step 2

Let’s say that you opened a Presentation (for those of you who don’t use Google Drive, this is similar to Power Point, and really easy to use)

Select a theme to start with – I choose ‘Simple Light’ and I removed the ‘Click Here’ text boxes to make is easier to show you the process.

Choose  Insert image

Step 3

So then you want to include an image in the presentation.

Click ‘Insert Image’ as in this screenshot

(Ooh, I’m trying out a new tool to take a Screenshot, and those red lines are a bit wobbly – ha ha)


Search for the image


Step 4

Put in the search box, the subject you are looking for and then press ‘search’


Then you can also click on the drop down menu (next to the Google icon – see below) and search more specifically for say a face, clip art, line drawing and so on.


Search on keywords






Step 5

You can also search for images that are predominantly a particular colour, by selecting the colour choice to search for. See what I mean in this screenshot.

Search on specific colours




Most useful if you want to tie in the colours on a page.



And that’s all there is to it.



The Issue of crediting a Photo

Now whilst I was researching the post, I did check out a few things with regard to giving credit for the images used. I found a few comments around the service saying how bad Google are in using other people’s images.

However, I believe that these people are not quite correct.

This is what Google say in their notes on this:

When using the Google Image Search feature in Google Docs, your results will be filtered to include images labelled with a license that allows you to copy the image for commercial purposes and modify it in ways specified in the license.

This means you can crop, alter or edit them at will.

I clicked on several photos and what I found was that either the images came from sites where you could freely use the images – sites such as or or the results returned images that were part of the Creative Commons license, where you would need to credit the photo back to the originator. You can check out our post showing you how to credit an image correctly that has a Creative Commons license from this link.


What do you think?

For us, this is a quick way to search images based on colour, subject matter, style and availability whilst we are creating a presentation. We think it’s a great service.

Is this a resource that you would use?

Do you ever use Google Drive?

If not, is it something you might now use?

Do let us know in the comments below.


Image: Colourful Flowers by Navdeep Raj

About The Author

Caroline Jones

I’m Caroline and I look to help small business owners create their own graphics by writing tutorials and tips on graphics editing software. I live in Wales , love Tartan and Coffee Ice Cream. You can read more about me here

  • Jay Cooper

    This use of Stock Photography is pratically theft from photographers. Look up istockphoto D day and see how content creators are NOT being rewarded for their time and money!

    • Hmm, interesting thread. I wonder what happened.

  • We are new to the web design world. Now that we know about this I am sure we can find good uses for the images. Thanks!

  • Hi Caroline, A really useful post, thank you! I spend absolutely ages looking for appropriate (and legally usable) images for a couple of blogs and an online news column I write, so this will be very handy!

    • Hey Tony – very glad to been of help & really nice to have you visit. BTW – I really resonated with the analogy on your video (on your Blog) about being on a journey and thinking I know the way and not bothering to look at the map. Hmm…guilty!

      • Hi Caroline, thanks for your kind comments! Actually a lesson learned here also. I was not familiar with ‘commentluv’ and was mortified when it flagged up that post which (as it’s name suggested) was just a trial to see if the audio software worked! How do you find commentluv works for you, would you recommend it?

        • Hi Tony! Why mortified? I think it’s good that people can see testing being carried out, because that’s the only real way to see how things look/what happens when you do stuff.
          We’ve literally only just put CommentLuv on the site – this is the second day and I am trialing it. I’ll let you kn ow what we find, but one of the things we like is that it encourages people to leave comments by linking back to their site. We shall see..

  • Wonderful resource, ladies! Had no idea about it – I mostly use and to find great images for my blog posts. Have you guys checked those out?

    I will definitely share this info with my followers, excellent idea!

    • Hello Delia! Great to see you over here and thanks for the tip off for these other 2 sites. More great resources. I see that is similar to, but the interface looks easier to work with. We appreciate the suggestions.

  • Love little hidden treasures like this! Thank you so much for sharing! Now to go have fun. whooo woo!

    • Hello Denys – glad you’ve found this useful. The more unexpected something this, the more exciting!

  • Bev

    Thank you ladies! A fascinating article and who would have thought … nicely tucked away there in Google Drive. So good of you to share – very useful!

    Great blog post as always!

    • Hey Bev – I’m sure you’ll find a use for these. BTW – do you use Google Drive at all?

  • Nicely done, Caroline. Loved your layout of the article. I have Drive but don’t use it as much as I should. Knowing about the image source in Drive is fantastic as I worry so much – too much – about attribution, when, when not to, etc.

    I’ll be checking this out – thanks again.

    • Sheila – thanks for the feedback on the post layout – always trying to make it as easy as possible to follow. We find Google Drive presentations really easy to put together – let us know how you get on with it.

  • Jan

    You learn something new every day! I’ve not used Docs in a while, next time I do I know what to look for. Thank you Ladies 🙂

    • Jan – I’m certainly learning something new every day 😉 If you do any presentations, then Google Drive is a really straight forward programme to use.