Can I legally use Microsoft Office icons in designing my site?

For example:
https://i.sstatic.net/XG0HN.png https://i.sstatic.net/TKMgM.png

  • 4
    If the intent is to identify word and xcel files, then no one is likely going to come after you from Redmond. After all, that was the intent of the icons...to indicate the file format. On the other hand, if you are using the icons for other purposes, then that'd be an infringement. A bigger concern is that it's just be plain confusing for users.
    – DA01
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 20:44
  • I'm pretty sure IP law does not have any provisions regarding icons for file formats, and I haven't seen any in the legal texts published by Microsoft either, but I too doubt Microsoft would come after you, but as with all questions regarding lawyer-related topics, the only correct option is to ask a lawyer. Commented Aug 29, 2012 at 9:09

2 Answers 2


It would appear this is prohibited.

Stack Overflow: Can I legally show Microsoft Office and Project icons in my desktop application?
Microsoft: Intellectual Property permissions

Microsoft product icons are the thumbnail-sized images indicating that a Microsoft product has been installed on your operating system. Icons may not be used in advertising, in books and other printed matter, on clothing or other promotional items, in online and Internet locations, in software applications, in television programs, in commercials, in movies, or on videotape.

You may use Microsoft product icons in training manuals or documentation about a Microsoft product. The use of the icon must be specific to the function of the icon within the Microsoft software. The icon may not be used as a graphical or design element. Icons cannot be modified or altered and must appear as they would within the Microsoft software.

Microsoft makes certain icons available to developers. If you have licensed a Microsoft development tool, review the redistributable section of the EULA to learn which Microsoft properties may be redistributed by licensees. (My emphasis)

...which does raise questions about including the images in the question, although I guess that's fair use.

  • However in the site if you are using it to indicate file format would it be considered making documentation about the microsoft product?
    – user51406
    Commented Sep 24, 2015 at 6:16
  • @fennec No, because prohibition takes precedence. You cannot use the icons online or in software. "Training manuals or documentation" implies paper or paper-like environments (eg PDF). Commented Sep 24, 2015 at 9:26

If in doubt, you can always use alternative icons. These two sites let you look for icons allowed for commercial use needing no attribution:



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