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Chapter 3. Help! > Meeting (and Changing) the Office Assistant

Meeting (and Changing) the Office Assistant

In this and the previous version of Office, Microsoft publicly stated its intention to cut out the Office Assistant, an animated Help feature that has been in the product for quite some time. However, the Office Assistant is alive and well in Office 2003. The default character, Clippit, is an animated paper clip (see Figure 3.10).

Figure 3.10. You can ask questions of the Office Assistant.


The Office Assistant can display alert messages and serve as the means by which you submit questions about program features. The Office Assistant can also offer tips about a range of topics and offer help using the various wizards in Office programs.

The Office Assistant is hidden by default in a typical installation of Office 2003. To view the Office Assistant, you choose Help, Show the Office Assistant. Setup installs the Office Assistant if it is not already installed.

To use the Office Assistant to query the Help documentation, you just double-click the Office Assistant and enter a word or phrase in the resulting dialog box, as shown in Figure 3.10.

Some people really like the Office Assistant, and others can’t stand it. However you feel, the Office Assistant can be a helpful tool, particularly when you are just learning to use Office.

To configure options for the Office Assistant or choose an assistant other than Clippit, you can display the Office Assistant by choosing Help, Show the Office Assistant. Then you right-click the Office Assistant and choose Options to display the Office Assistant dialog box (see Figure 3.11).

Figure 3.11. You use the Options tab of the Office Assistant dialog box to configure Office Assistant options.


Note

This is a bit trivial, but Office refers to the character as Clippit, but Microsoft’s Web site refers to him as Clippy. If you need a few minutes of distraction, point your Web browser to www.microsoft.com/office/clippy.


The Options tab of the Office Assistant dialog box, which is shown in Figure 3.11, enables you to specify what actions the Office Assistant will perform and what types of information it will offer.

You can click the Gallery tab (see Figure 3.12) to view the other characters you can choose as the Office Assistant.

Figure 3.12. You can choose a different Office Assistant character if you want.


If you want to turn off the Office Assistant temporarily and use the other Help features instead, you right-click the Office Assistant and choose Hide. To turn it off altogether, you right-click it and choose Options. On the Options tab, you clear the Use the Office Assistant option and click OK.

Tip

For a bit more diversion, you can right-click the Office Assistant and choose Animate to put the Assistant through its paces. If you do this several times, the animation changes each time.


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