The Office Assistant was an intelligent user interface for Microsoft Office that assisted users by way of an interactive animated character, which interfaced with the Office help content. It was included in Microsoft Office for Windows, in Microsoft Publisher, the default assistant in the English Windows version was named Clippit, after a paperclip. The character was designed by Kevan J. Atteberry, Clippit was the default and by far the most notable Assistant, which also led to it being called simply the Microsoft Paperclip. The original Clippit in Office 97 was given a new look in Office 2000, the feature drew a strongly negative response from many users. Microsoft turned off the feature by default in Office XP, acknowledging its unpopularity in an ad campaign spoofing Clippy, the feature was removed altogether in Office 2007 and Office 2008 for Mac, as it continued to draw criticism from even Microsoft employees. The default assistant Clippit has been mocked in popular culture, being parodied, appearing in memes. First introduced in Microsoft Office 97, the Office Assistant was codenamed TFC during development and it appeared when the program determined the user could be assisted with using Office wizards, searching help, or advising users on using Office features more effectively. It also presented tips and keyboard shortcuts, for example, typing an address followed by Dear would cause the Assistant to appear with the message, It looks like youre writing a letter. Apart from Clippit, other Office Assistants were also available, The Dot Hoverbot The Genius Office Logo Mother Nature Scribble Power Pup Will. In many cases the Office installation CD was necessary to activate a different Office assistant character, so the character, Clippit. In Office 2000, the Hoverbot, Scribble and Power Pup assistants were replaced by, F1 Links Rocky The Clippit, the removed assistants later resurfaced as downloadable add-ons. The Microsoft Office XP Multilingual Pack had two assistants, Saeko Sensei, an animated secretary, and a version of the Monkey King for Asian language users in non-Asian Office versions. Native language versions provided additional representations, such as Kairu the dolphin, in Japanese, Clippit can be found in Office 2013 or newer, which could be enabled by going to Options and changing the theme to School Supplies. Clippit would then appear on the ribbon, the Office Assistant used technology initially from Microsoft Bob and later Microsoft Agent, offering advice based on Bayesian algorithms. From Office 2000 onwards, Microsoft Agent replaced the Microsoft Bob-descended Actor format as the supporting the feature. Users can add other assistants to the folder where Office is installed for them to show up in the Office application, Microsoft Agent-based characters have richer forms and colors, and are not enclosed within a boxed window. Furthermore, the Office Assistant could use the Lernout & Hauspie TruVoice Text-to-Speech Engine to provide output speech capabilities to Microsoft Agent, the Microsoft Speech Recognition Engine allowed the Office Assistant to accept speech input. The Microsoft Agent components it required were not included in Windows 7 or later, however they can be downloaded from the Microsoft website
Clippit, the default assistant, in Office 2000/XP/2003 (after the makeover). Clippit is asking if the user needs help.
Clippy creator Kevan Atteberry discussing his much-maligned character at ROFLCon II