Microsoft Office 97

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Microsoft Office 97
Microsoft Office 97 wordmark.pngOffice logo (Pre-2003).png
Microsoft Office 97 Screenshot.png
Microsoft Office 97 running on Windows NT 3.51 Workstation with the Office Assistant present
Developer(s) Microsoft
Initial release November 19, 1996; 19 years ago (1996-11-19)
Last release Service Release 2 (SR-2)
Development status Discontinued
Operating system Windows NT 3.51, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP
Type Office suite
License Proprietary commercial software

Microsoft Office 97 was a major milestone release of Microsoft Office, which included hundreds of new features and improvements, introduced "Command Bars", a paradigm in which menus and toolbars were made more similar in capability and visual design featured natural language systems and sophisticated grammar checking. It was published on CD-ROM as well as on a set of 44 3½-inch floppy disks, and became Y2K safe with Service Release 2. Released on November 19, 1996,[1] it was the last version to support Windows NT 3.51 on i386 and Alpha (only Word and Excel were available for the Alpha). Two service releases (SR-1 and SR-2) were released for Office 97.[2]

Microsoft Office 97 is notable as the first version of Office to feature the Office Assistant, a feature initially designed to assist users by the way of an interactive animated character, which interfaced with the Office help content. The default assistant was Clippit, nicknamed Clippy, a paperclip. The office assistant feature would continue to be available in Office versions up until and including Microsoft Office 2003. In Office XP the feature was hidden by default and not installed by default in Office 2003.

Office 97 is also notable for being the first Microsoft product to include product activation. The Brazilian versions of Office 97 Small Business Edition and Publisher 98 required it.[3]

Microsoft Word 97 contained a hidden pinball game and Microsoft Excel contained a hidden flight simulator.[4][5]

Assisted support options and security updates for Office 97 ended on January 16, 2004. Mainstream hotfix support for Office 97 ended on August 31, 2001. Extended hotfix support ended on February 28, 2002.[6]


The vivid cover art emphasized the fifth "puzzle piece", Microsoft Access

Office 97 was released in five editions. They are as follows:

Office programs Standard Edition Professional Edition Small Business Edition Small Business
Edition 2.0[7]
Developer Edition
Word 97 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Excel 97 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Outlook 97 Yes Yes Yes Yes (initially included in retail version) Yes
Outlook 98 No No No Yes (can be upgraded to via coupon or download) No
PowerPoint 97 Yes Yes No No Yes
Access 97 No Yes No No Yes
Developer Tools and SDK No No No No Yes
Publisher 97 No No Yes No No
Publisher 98 No No No Yes No
Small Business Financial Manager 97 No No Yes No No
Small Business Financial Manager 98 No No No Yes No
Direct Mail Manager No No No Yes No
Expedia Streets 98 No No No Yes No
Bookshelf Basics No Yes No No Yes

Additionally, Microsoft Office 97 Powered by Word 98 was released in Japanese and Korean editions on 20 June 1998[citation needed]. It also included Outlook 98 in all editions and Publisher 98 in the Small Business Edition. Microsoft Word 98 for Windows was only available as part of this package[citation needed], though Microsoft Word 98 for Macintosh was available in Microsoft Office 98 Macintosh Edition.


  1. ^ "Microsoft Office 97 Released to Manufacturing" (Press release). Microsoft Corp. November 19, 1996. Retrieved April 28, 2011. 
  2. ^ "MS Office 97 Service Release 2b (SR-2b)". Retrieved 2013-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Microsoft Extends Anti-Piracy Features in Office 2000". 1998-12-09. Retrieved 2013-06-07. 
  4. ^ "Excel 97 Flight to Credits". Retrieved July 7, 2006. 
  5. ^ "Excel 97 Flight Simulator". Retrieved July 7, 2006. 
  6. ^ "Microsoft Office Family Product Support Lifecycle FAQ". Retrieved 2013-06-07. 
  7. ^ "Office 97 Small Business Edition v2 - Features". Microsoft Corp. February 1, 2000. Retrieved April 28, 2011.