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; 20 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 is a major milestone release of Microsoft Office, which includes hundreds of new features and improvements over its predecessor. It introduced "Command Bars," a paradigm in which menus and toolbars were made more similar in capability and visual design. It also 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. Released on November 19, 1996,[1] it was the last version to support Windows NT 3.51 on i386 and DEC Alpha computers. (Only Word and Excel were available for the Alpha.) Two service releases (SR-1 and SR-2) were released for Office 97. SR-2 solved the year 2000 problem in Office 97.[2]

Microsoft Office 97 is the first version of Office to feature the Office Assistant, a feature 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 was included in Microsoft Office 2000, XP (hidden by default) and 2003 (not installed by default).

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

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.[4]

Two Office 97 applications featured easter eggs: Microsoft Word 97 contained a hidden pinball game and Microsoft Excel contained a hidden flight simulator.[5][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
Word 97 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Excel 97 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Outlook 97 Yes Yes Yes Yes[a] Yes
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
Automap Streets Plus 1997 No No Yes No No
Expedia Streets 98 No No No Yes No
Bookshelf Basics No Yes No No Yes


  1. ^ Can be upgraded to Outlook 98 via coupon or download


  1. ^ "Microsoft Office 97 Released to Manufacturing". News Center (Press release). Las Vegas: Microsoft. November 19, 1996. Archived from the original on November 25, 2014. 
  2. ^ "MS Office 97 Service Release 2b (SR-2b)". TechNet (Press release). Microsoft. October 1999. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Microsoft Extends Anti-Piracy Features in Office 2000". News Center. Redmond, WA: Microsoft. December 9, 1998. 
  4. ^ "Microsoft Office Family Product Support Lifecycle FAQ". Support. Microsoft. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Excel Easter Egg - Excel 97 Flight to Credits". The Easter Egg Archive. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Excel Easter Egg - Excel 97 Flight Simulator - for Later Versions of Microsoft Excel". The Easter Egg Archive. Retrieved April 2, 2016. 
  7. ^ "Office 97 Small Business Edition v2 - Features". Microsoft. February 1, 2000. Archived from the original on February 26, 2000. Retrieved April 28, 2011.