Software

Look back at Microsoft Excel Easter Eggs

By Greg Shultz

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, usually a game, 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.

In the past, Microsoft's developers used to go to great lengths when it came to secretly embedding Easter Eggs into their products. I stress the word past, because Microsoft now officially bans the practice for security reasons as part of their Trustworthy Computing initiative.

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.

However, in their heyday, Microsoft's developers created some really elaborate Easter Eggs. In this gallery, I'll show you the awesome Easter Eggs that they embedded into Excel 95, 97, and 2000.

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.