Cartoon People and a lot more in Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 has a very interesting addition to their stock graphics range called “Cartoon People” but is really a lot more than just people.

Cartoon People has been added to stock Images, Icons, Cutout People, Stickers and Illustrations.

Source: Microsoft

Access it from Insert | Pictures | Stock Images or Insert | Icon then click on the Cartoon People tab.

Like all the stock content, this is a cloud service.  An Internet connection is needed to view the previews and download the full item.

What are Cartoon People?

It’s a collection of ‘mix and match’ drawings to combine into different characters. There are full body graphics for a quick job or build your own from body, face and accessory parts.

 Microsoft’s example shows how this toon is built from five separate Cartoon People parts:

Source: Microsoft

Start making the lady from a body, head, face plus glasses.

Source: Microsoft

Once that’s done, use Group to link the separate graphics together into one unit.  Group makes sure one part, like the face, doesn’t move away from the rest of the body.

The background also comes from Cartoon People, search for ‘Scenes’.

Drop the lady into the scene, choose Layout Options | In front of text.

Colorizing

Cartoon People come as outlines. They can be colorized but it’s not as simple as Microsoft makes out for this example.

Source: Microsoft

As we’ve mentioned before, SVG graphics have very limited color changing options.  If you change the Fill color for any Cartoon People element, the entire graphic is filled with that color.

Convert to Shape

To add color to parts of a Cartoon People object, first choose Convert to Shape

Source: Microsoft

That changes the graphics from an SVG to an Office Shape which is broken down into separate parts. Open the Selection Pane to see all the graphics that made up the single scene. Select a graphic or shape then use the Shape Format tab to change the fill color, outline and other effects.

Beyond Cartoons

Cartoon People can be use anywhere in a Word, Excel or PowerPoint document.  Here it’s a caption for a travel photo.

Or to make a boring Excel sheet a little more interesting. We’ve flipped the graphic so she’s pointing to the left, not right.

Skills needed

To use basic Cartoon People needs no special skills, just click on the graphic and it’s inserted into the document. The graphic is added as ‘In line with text’. You might want to change to a With Text Wrapping option, most likely ‘In front of Text’ to overlay.

Getting the most from Cartoon People requires a little more.  We’ve already mentioned ‘Convert to Shape’ and Group / Ungroup.

Cartoon People are SVG graphics

Like Icons and Illustrations, Cartoon People are SVG graphics with all the flexibility and power that brings.

Years ago, we applauded the arrival of SVG’s to Office (in the form of so-called Icons). Over time Microsoft has made the most of that innovation both in the form of more stock graphics and controls for SVG’s.

Who gets it?

There was a little confusion on this point – here’s the latest we can figure out. You need to have up-to-date apps, be in the Beta/Insiders program (perhaps) and the cloud service needs to be available in your area.

Cartoon People seems to be available to beta/Insiders testing now across multiple platforms starting with:

  • Windows: PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Outlook
  • Mac computers: PowerPoint, Word, Excel
  • iPhone and iPad: PowerPoint, Word, Excel
  • Office for the web: PowerPoint

If it’s not showing up in your Microsoft Office 365 apps, make sure they are updated to the latest version. Microsoft hasn’t said exactly which versions of the apps are needed — which they usually do.

Like many new cloud services, it’s gradually rolled out across the globe.

All that means you might need to wait a few days or perhaps weeks.

Non-subscription Office; Office 2021, Office LTSC, Office 2019 and previous do NOT have Cartoon People.

Finding Cartoon People and Gallery

We’ve dug into Cartoon People and publish two long articles with many images to give you a good idea of what’s in the new feature. Despite the name,

How to find more Cartoon People in Office 365
Cartoons without People you can add with Office 365

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