Thursday, November 18, 2010

Excel Easter Eggs

First of all, I want to congratulate the winner of our “People who use Excel are CoolContest that was announced two weeks ago. Gordon Guthrie of Linlithgow, Scotland was the winner with his creation of an Excel clone that works as a native web application. Gordon’s fine work can be viewed using Firefox, Safari or Chrome browsers by accessing the following link:

Well, it’s not exactly Easter, but I thought it might be fun to talk about the so-called Easter Eggs that have been hidden in Excel. Virtual Easter Eggs are hidden games or messages that are built into software by crafty developers who have a sense of humor and enjoy building in a bit of intrigue for the “Insiders” who wish to search for the cryptic content. The term was coined in the late 1970s at Atari by the renowned computer game designer, Warren Robinett. Since designers were not given credit for the games they created, Robinett included a hidden screen which said “Created by Warren Robinett”.

The Excel 97 version had a comparatively ambitious Flight Simulator hidden within the application. Using a rather simple combination of keyboard commands brought you to this remarkable simulator.

Although more difficult to access, Excel 2000 included a Car Racing Easter Egg which resembled Spy Hunter.

Excel 2003 included an Office Quiz featuring the Crabby Office Lady. If you still have this version and you are connected to the internet, you can access this egg by typing in “Tortured Soul” in the search box.

Although there are rumors to the contrary, there are no widely-known hidden gems in Excel 2007 or Excel 2010. The general consensus is that Easter Eggs have been eliminated from Excel due to potential security concerns. If you know of any eggs in these versions, please write to me at I would love to share them with our merry group! Cheers!

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