I’m a regular at Shutterstock.com, iStockphoto as well as Photos.com (Shutterstock so far being my favorite – I always find what I want). But there are occasions when I quickly turn to Microsoft’s Clip Art collection when I just need a quick picture or a graphic and work out the final version later. And every time I get so frustrated. Maybe they have done their search function deliberately stupid so no one will use the service – I really hope so.
If you want to find a “female icon” to use in a organization chart – there is no way you can search combining two words. You can only search for “car”, not “green car” – even though if you type in “car” pictures of green cars will show up.
In their “Tips for better search results” they really spell it out…
Type fewer search words. A search with 1 or 2 words will return the best results. Please note that only phrases and terms that are commonly treated as one word — such as birthday cakes, business metaphors, percent signs, New Year’s Eve, and people at work — will get results. Simply adding adjectives to a word will not always work. For example, typing traffic signals in the Search box will get results, but typing red traffic signals will not.