Illustrations are a new graphics option coming to Microsoft 365 that supplements the existing Icons with a wider range of visual aids for documents, emails, worksheets and slides.
They’ve appeared, without any mention, in preview versions of Microsoft 365 for Windows (version 13415.20002) and Microsoft 365 for Mac (v16.43 20102102)
On the same dialog box that shows Stock Images, Icons, Cutout People and Stickers.
Office 365 for Mac shows the same options in a side-pane. Go to Insert | Icons (or Stock Images) then choose Illustrations (use the pull-down menu).
Both Mac and Windows versions have a search option.
What are illustrations?
They are multi-colored graphics, some are simple (like the flower or snowflake shown above) while others are more complex (see the chemistry set or laptop).
Technically illustrations are SVG graphics, same as Icons. So all the tricks we’ve mentioned about Icons and SVG also apply to Illustrations.
Insert an Illustration
There’s no direct button to get to illustrations, just like Cutout People and Stickers. Open the Insert tab | Illustrations | Icons then switch to Illustrations.
Inserting an illustration is the same as Stock Images, Icons or any other option in that dialog.
Select the illustrations you want (see the check box at top right) then click Insert when you’re done.
Using an illustration
The current illustrations have large spaces around them, probably too large for many needs. Start by cropping out the excess space (Graphics Format | Size | Crop).
All the tools on the Graphics Format tab can be used but some are more useful than others.
Illustrations have outlines included but set to nothing. Go to Graphics Format | Graphics Styles | Outline to choose a color, weight and outline type.
Graphics Format | Graphics Styles | Fill overwrites the whole illustration which is only useful if you want a silhouette.
Change separate colors in illustration
Some illustrations are multicolored like this six color example.
The basic Graphics Format tools are ‘all or nothing’ options with no way to recolor segments of an illustration or SVG. The Fill option, as shown above, will change all the segments of an Illustration.
To change colours more selectively, choose Graphics Format | Convert to Shape. That turns the SVG into an Office shape with more editing options. As a Shape, open the Selection Pane to see a list of the individual elements that make up a shape. Select one of parts (Freeform Shape) and choose Fill, Outline etc to change just that element.
Sketchy or wriggly lines in Icons and SVG graphics
Edit options for SVG Icons in Office 365/2019
2020 – Year of the Icon?
Paste Icons or SVG from Office documents to other apps
300 more Icons in Office, but which ones and where?