Recently I was made aware of an add-in for PowerPoint called YAY Images that allows you to search for images by different parameters within PowerPoint, (for example, by key words, or by number of people in the image) and preview stock images on your slides before purchasing them. At BrightCarbon, we frequently use and work with stock imagery since it’s an important component for creating visually appealing presentations, so this seemed like an interesting application to test out. If you’re curious as to how YAY Images performs and how this compares to other stock imagery services, just keep reading.
For starters, YAY Images can be downloaded on the Office Store as a PowerPoint add-in, and you can find the download link easily on the YAY Images website. Once downloaded, you simply open up PowerPoint and you’ll notice a new box appears on the right side of your screen that allows you to search for imagery using key words, or by other methods.
The interface itself is fairly easy to use and is pretty intuitive. To start, you just type in whatever kind of imagery you’re interested in adding to your PowerPoint slides and press the search icon. You can customize your search farther by using Search Filters, such as specifying the number of people you want in your images, or whether you’d like some empty areas in the image where you can add text. To begin, I searched for ‘watercolor’ in order to browse for some different watercolor backgrounds to use in my presentation.
Once you find an image that you’re interested in, you just hover over it and you’ll see three different options: ‘Find similar images’, ‘Insert preview’ and ‘Buy and insert image’. ‘Find Similar Images’ seems to bring up imagery that is similar in color, composition and subject matter to the original image you select, which is a useful tool that is common with stock imagery sites. If you ‘Insert preview’, you will have a watermarked version of the image placed onto your slide. With this watermarked version, you are able to apply all the typical image editing functions on PowerPoint, including but not limited to: ‘Remove background’, ‘Artistic effects’, ‘Crop’, ‘Picture border’ and ‘Color’. This gives you all the freedom you are used to with PowerPoint image editing, minus the fact that the image has a watermark, but this isn’t too distracting since it’s located in the center of the image instead of as a reoccurring pattern overtop the entire image.
Once you decide that you’d like to use a certain image on your slide, you can log in and buy the image through the add-in and a new, non-watermarked version will be placed on your slide. You’ll then need to reapply any image editing you did previously to the new, non-watermarked image.
As a helpful tip, if at any point in the process you accidentally click the ‘x’ in the top right of the YAY Images box and close it, you can make the box reappear by going to the ‘Insert’ tab on the ribbon, and then clicking on ‘My Add-ins’, and you should see YAY Images as one of the options. If you click its name, the application box will reappear on the right side of your screen.
Summary of Pros:
From my perspective, YAY Images has quite a few pros. I like how you can download images while within PowerPoint, thus eliminating that pesky additional step of opening a website to search for images, and having to flip back and forth between the website and your PowerPoint window. Also, the ability to preview images before purchasing them is pretty valuable, since it helps save your download capacity. (It has happened to me more than a couple times that I’ve downloaded an image only to realize it wouldn’t look great on the slide I intended to use it on.) Another pro which is separate from functionality is the cost. YAY Images does cost less than other stock photo website subscriptions, with $99 for 1,000 images per month. In addition, the image bank itself seems to be on par with other stock photo websites. (I tried searching for some of our common imagery pieces, including business people, construction and backgrounds, and found a lot of similar imagery to what we use.) Because of this, I would think it’s safe to say it doesn’t seem like there is a major drawback to this decreased cost.
Summary of Cons:
In terms of cons, there are only a couple that I could think of. For one, using the search by ‘TextSpace’, ‘Similar imagery’ and ‘People’ functions can be a bit laggy, and take a couple seconds to bring up results. In addition, when downloading images there is no option to download different sizes of the image, (for example a smaller or larger resolution), and you must instead click on ‘Edit image’ and resize the image manually. In addition, it seems like while photo imagery is on par with other stock imagery websites, YAY Images does not seem to have as many options for iconography toolkits when compared to other websites. Instead, there are more individual icons that you can download, but toolkits are more important from our perspective when creating lots of large designed presentations.
In conclusion, YAY Images seems like a good alternative to other stock imagery websites, with the added benefits of being able to browse for imagery while within PowerPoint and being able to edit images before purchasing them. The main drawback might be limited options in terms of icons, but in terms of photos it seems to have a good selection. In addition, it is slightly laggy at points, but this is always an issue with browsing stock imagery. The biggest pro is definitely the price, which seems to be very competitive when compared to other sites (almost half the cost), and especially for downloading small sets of images (<10) and much larger sets (>1000) it seems to have great value. All in all, it seems to be a good service that would definitely allow for better user experience when working with stock imagery.