Take a look back at Microsoft Word Easter Eggs

Take a look back at Microsoft Word Easter Eggs

Summary: Microsoft’s developers hid multiple Easter Eggs in Word 95/97/2000.


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  • If you’ve been using computers for a long time, you know what the term Easter Egg means when related to software. An Easter Egg is a small program that is hidden deep inside of an application and is designed by the application’s developers as a way of displaying their names—very similar to the credits that you see at the end of a movie. However, uncovering the Easter Egg is tricky as it almost always involves performing a series of very intricate and non-intuitive steps.

    The increase in the prevalence of malware led to the notion that undocumented code embedded into a major application could be used to compromise sensitive or confidential data. In fact, many companies and government offices forbid the use of software containing Easter Eggs for security reasons. As such, Microsoft now officially bans the practice embedding Easter Eggs in their software as part of their Trustworthy Computing initiative.

    However, in their heyday, Microsoft’s developers created some really elaborate Easter Eggs. In this gallery, I’ll show you the Easter Eggs that they embedded into Word 95, 97, and 2000.
  • Word 95
    Launch Word as you normally would and type the word Blue at the top of the document. Then, select the text, pull down the Format menu and select the Font command. When you see the Font dialog box, select the Bold font style, change the color of the font to Blue, and click OK.

Topics: Microsoft, Collaboration, Software, Windows

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  • Cost of easter eggs?

    Considering some easter eggs I've seen contain graphics, animation and even games, I'm guessing some of them took significant time and resources, and I do include code bloat as a resource cost. One would think that time could be better spent on little things like like security, security and hey, how about security. There are a lot of companies who should be taken to task in addition to Microsoft for this kind of thing. If you're sneaking easter eggs into your own programs and not passing that development cost on to customers, that's something that's between you and your customer should they ever find out. If you're sneaking easter eggs into your programs and passing the cost of that development on to customers, well, most of us professional programmers would consider that to be fraud. The bottom line really is they are a bad idea no matter what...just someone needing their ego stoked.
    • Make sure you starch that collar

      I don't think it's quite stiff enough yet.
      • Sorry...

        but I am a professional software developer. It's things like this that give our profession a bad name. Bad enough I have to compete with some guy in India who'll gladly work for a small fraction of what an American software developer would charge (free markets sure are great when you don't have to worry about those pesky little labor laws), but I also have to overcome the perception that programmers will waste as much time as possible in order to pad their paycheck. This has nothing to do with culture, it's all about the Benjamins.
        • Lighten up...

          Your attitude is silly. The easter eggs involve small portions of time and space relative to the full project.

          Customers seldom care about easter eggs when they find out about them, everyone I've ever shown has smiled and said "neat". Nobody's ever thought they were being cheated by the developers.

          Besides, when you take the cost of developing an easter egg (done mostly after hours, btw) and divide it by the hundred million copies of Windows or Office that get sold, you're looking at fractions of a penny so small you need an electron microscope.

          Personally, I've never put an easter egg into a program I've written, but then again I'm the sole developer at my company, everybody knows who wrote the software so I don't need to sign it... :)

          And I've never run across any person in my career of 30+ years who ever thought I was padding my paycheck.

          *Schedule*, yes. :) But I always say a month and deliver in a week. But never my paycheck.

          If you "have to overcome the perception that programmers will waste as much time as possible in order to pad their paycheck" I pity you, and would suggest you work for a better class of employer.
          • My employers...

            are mainly manufacturing companies in the $1M - $250M/year revenue range. I've only got three customers that fall outside this general range, one lower and two higher. They typically have an IT department of anywhere between one and three people. I began my relationship with many of my customers when they were initially implementing an ERP system for the first time. Companies in this postiion normally have sticker shock from implementation costs already. It often takes years for them to truly understand the witdh and breadth of the application they've just purchased. They really don't understand why quotes for even the simplest modifications to the existing application are four hours minimum. Because they've most likely never purchased custom software before, they don't understand why it's such a formalized process. Before if they wanted something, their desktop support guy would talk to whoever needed something, fire up VB and crank out a quick and dirty solution for nothing (his salary was already a sunk cost...). Now their being quoted things like requirements gathering, analysis and design, unit testing and integration testing. Sure, after a few years of seeing that everyone is quoting the same things they grudgingly let go of those attitudes. I price myself extremely competetively and haven't hurt for a buck in more years than I can remember. I look around and see what others around me, especially vendors, and understand why customers feel soaked. I don't care how good a programmer you think you are, you're not worth $225/hour. My doctor doesn't charge that much an hour, but I routinely see software companies and some individual developers pricing themselves at that level because unfortunately the market will bear it.
    • Oh please...

      First of all, back in the day, things were different. Most people didn't give a hoot about these easter eggs. Those of us who knew about them thought they were pretty cool.

      But then again, back in the day, the worst security problems we had were a few skript kiddies who had a delusion or two of grandeur. Things weren't nearly as security concious as they've become over the past 7 YEARS.

      As far as easter eggs go, you'd have to dig quite deep to find proof that the cost of those easter eggs were added onto the price of Office. For all we know, the developers could have written the code in their spare time, or while bored out of their skulls waiting for another programmer or group to finish a bit of code elsewhere.

      Now, if there's an issue here to be had, it would have to be the amount of disk space taken up by the added code given that back in the day, hard drives weren't quite as huge as they've become in the last 7 years. But I'll wager the added bloat, given the sophistication of the eggs shown here, the amount of space isn't more than a few dozen KB - tops.
  • Clever

    There was an easter egg in one of the Excel versions, that went into a crude flight simulator, and after wandering about for a few minutes, you find a mountain that has the names scrolling down the side.

    However, my favorite one was back in the 8-bit days of Atari. We had found a program that would duplicate master floppies, and had successfully made several duplicates of Alternate Reality: The City. Then Alternate Reality: The Dungeon came out, and we duplicated that one. The game seemed to load successfully, and we brought on a character. Within about ten seconds the character was attacked . . . by two FBI agents (dressed in black suits), attacking with the long arm of the law. It was so clever, we were just slightly miffed about not getting a copy made.
    • RE: By Greg Shultz (Looking back at Microsoft Word Easter Eggs)

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  • RE: By Greg Shultz (Looking back at Microsoft Word Easter Eggs)

    Very interesting, I never knew things like that existed, but that is very funny.

    How unscintillating. Really - get a life guys.
    • You don't have to....

      ... like it. Read something else and save the grouchiness for something that's worth the effort.