Software

Looking back at Microsoft PowerPoint Easter Eggs

Hidden gems

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.

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 Easter Eggs that they embedded into PowerPoint 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.

18 comments
saurabh_mail
saurabh_mail

What is the new way to display developers Names in latest windows applications ???? help me out

michal.woznicki
michal.woznicki

There have been many Easter Eggs in Microsoft Products and they are far more than a listing of Programmers. I remember the frustration of clearing all unecessary files from Windows and Office to get an install on the very basic PC's that we had available only to find the programs were full of Easter Egg Code. However the users loved them! Here are some of the best known. Access 97 - Hidden Puzzles New DB called DB1.mdb Four tables called a, cc, e, ss Save and Re-open the file then click Help and About Cntrl, Shift and double right on the Picture Excel 97 - Killer Bugs Add the Solitaire Icon to the Toolbar then Ctrl, Shift and Alt and click on the Icon. Excel 97 - Flight Simulator New Worksheet, Press F5, Type X97:L97 and enter. Press Tab then hold Cntrl, Shoft abnd left click the Chart Wizard The list goes on with... Access 97/2000 - Magic Eight Ball Excel 2000 - Spyhunter Media Player 8 - Music, Credits and Game Mirc - Arnie Outlook 98 - Credits and Hidden WebPage Outlook 2000 - Credits and Game Word 97 - Thesaurus - Lots of fun with "Kill Bill Gates", "Eat my Shorts etc" Freecell - Extra Games 3D Text Screensaver - Type "volcano" Win98 - Hidden Movie Even AskJeeves was at it back in the day with my favourite question being "What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen Swallow"

keydesignz
keydesignz

I think the writers of this article have too much time on their hands... who freakin' cares.

bhrigus
bhrigus

How to find, activate and enjoy these eggs?

rrusson
rrusson

Yeah... and we're reading the article and replying. Wasting time must be contagious. I think they should have covered the Easter Eggs in Excel instead --much more interesting. There was even a flight sim in Excel '97: http://www.eeggs.com/items/29841.html

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

Due to the increase in malware (viruses, spyware, etc) having undocumented code/Easter Eggs embedded into a major applications is no longer allowed at Microsoft as part of their Trustworthy Computing initiative. As such, you will not find any Easter Eggs in any Microsoft application or operating system released after 2002.

YetAnotherAdmin
YetAnotherAdmin

I think the writers of this article have too much time on their hands... who freakin' cares. Posted: 08/23/2007 @ 08:44 PM (PDT) Erm, I'm guessing you do, enough to post a message about it! NEXT! Yeah... and we're reading the article and replying. Wasting time must be contagious. I think they should have covered the Easter Eggs in Excel instead --much more interesting. There was even a flight sim in Excel '97: http://www.eeggs.com/items/29841.html Posted: 08/24/2007 @ 11:01 AM (PDT) Oh dear, scroll to the bottom of this very page and see links to more articles from Greg, including the holy grail of easter eggs, the flight sim in Excel '97. NEXT! Wasting time must be contagious, you've got me doing it now!

canopic@clear
canopic@clear

I was curious enough to try following your instructions with PP2000, but got nothing. The PP I tried inclded SP3 which was released after 2002 and seems to have removed or disabled this code. I suspect other service packs have done this for Word, Excel, etc. Any comments?

ckpds
ckpds

I tried following the steps to find these in my old copy of Office 2000, only to realize that by applying that MS Office Updates & patches (SP3) years ago, I must have broken my eggs.

amdbuilder
amdbuilder

Sweet more eggs to note for when I feel like running a VM with some older SW.. It's a shame MS dried up and turned all wrinkly and such, but at least some companies still know how to enjoy life.. Check out the Eggs in Photoshop and Illustrator Version 5-CS3 all have them and im sure there are more for older versions, but I have confirmed 5-CS3 personally.. Oh, don't forget Quark's monster granted thats more for the mac... Or was it an alien? Either way they have some in their more recent works.. Don't have mac so can't confirm. All I can say is Adobe and Quark arn't having problems... At least not yet....

rrusson
rrusson

Ah... I didn't see that the other Office apps had already been done. Thanks for the thorough job. There were a lot of Easter Eggs I hadn't heard about.

savoir01
savoir01

I use a fully patched copy of Office 2000 on a daily basis. All my eggs are fully functional. Must be something else that has scrambled your eggs.

webgal318
webgal318

I just finished looking at the Easter Egg article. I had no idea about that feature. I now have Office 2003 so I guss it is highly doubtbful that I would find anything. Great article though.

macbill
macbill

AHAH! Then I'm not the only one with Office 2000 who has no eggs in his (PowerPoint) basket. The updates - I hadn't thought about those, but you're probably right. Leave it to MS to scrub out the few scraps of humor and free creativity in their software. It must really suck to be a program desgner there now.

tonyackerman
tonyackerman

Hire on as the Group Program Manager for the project and make those decisions. That's where the inclusive and exclusive decisions are made, (not to mention where the actual bloated egos are on display) not at the dev. level. While you're doing that, you might as well participate in the marketing and business teams' decisions on what the price point should be. And while you're there and have access to the source, current and previous, take a good long hard look at the actual size of the code segment for these eggs. When you have some actual knowledge of what you speak, come back and tell us what you've found out. (PST just for you) I double dog dare you to stand toe to toe with some of the senior dev's there and question their ability or their professionalism. I'm not Microsoft apologist, but when people speak of some of these big software houses as nothing more than a collection of unruly teenage coders, it shows a true lack of understanding and recognition of the monumental effort required to produce an OS or an Application suite.

The Pro from Dover
The Pro from Dover

Going all the way back to Windows 3.1 Microsoft has embedded large portions of code to these easter eggs. If the developers had been true professionals rather than egotistical teenagers they would have spent the time writing tight fast code rather than feeding their own egos...but I'm just a cranky old fart who expects content for my $$$$, expecially when the dollar amount keeps going up astronomically with only marginal performance improvements. (Just put a faxter CPU with more memory under that dog!!!)

links
links

...creative thinking process of the MS programmers...tis sad, besides, its not like ms software is highly secure anyway... AIT Tapes