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Microsoft Office 97 800px-Microsoft Office 9x logo.svg.png is a major milestone release of Microsoft Office, which includes hundreds of new features and improvements over its predecessor, Microsoft Office 95. Office 97 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,[2] the suite runs on Windows NT 3.51 SP5, Windows 95, Windows NT 4.0 SP2, Windows 98, Windows 2000, and Windows Me. It is the last version to support Windows NT 3.51 as Office 2000 requires Windows 95, Windows NT 4.0 SP3 or a later version of Windows. Two service releases (SR-1 and SR-2) were released for Office 97. SR-2 solved the year 2000 problem in Office 97.[3]

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 also included in its successor, Office 2000, as well as in Office XP (hidden by default) and 2003 (not installed by default), before being removed entirely in Office 2007.

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.[4]

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, while extended hotfix support ended on February 28, 2002.[5]

Two Office 97 applications featured easter eggs: Microsoft Word 97 contained a hidden pinball game and Microsoft Excelcontained a hidden flight simulator.[6][7]


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[8] 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
Bookshelf Basics No Yes No No Yes
Developer Tools and SDK No No No No Yes
Publisher 97 No No Yes No No
Small Business Financial Manager 97 No No Yes No No
Automap Streets Plus 1997 No No Yes No No
Publisher 98 No No No Yes 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

Contemporary programs

Some additional programs were branded as a member of the Office 97 family but were not included in any of the editions:

  • Microsoft FrontPage 97
  • Microsoft FrontPage 98
  • Microsoft Project 98
  • Microsoft Team Manager 97
HistoryWebsiteMicrosoft Product ActivationGenuine Advantage
Applications (List)
AccessExcel (Viewer)InfoPathLyncOneNoteOutlook (Outlook ConnectorAdd-ins)• PowerPoint Viewer)ProjectPublisherMicrosoft SharePoint (DesignerWorkspace)VisioWord(Viewer)
Forms ServerGroove ServerLync ServerPerformancePoint ServerProject ServerProject Portfolio ServerSharePoint ServerExcel ServicesInfoPath Forms Services
Office Mobile
Live MeetingOffice LiveOffice Web AppsOutlook Web AppOffice
Office tools
Microsoft Office shared toolsRibbon HeroRibbon Hero 2
AccountingDocument ImagingEntourageFrontPageMicrosoft InterConnectLiquid MotionMailOffice AssistantsMicrosoft PhotoDrawPhoto EditorSchedule+Snapshot Viewer for AccessMicrosoft Vizact
Related products
WorksMapPointSearch ServerLanguage Packs
Information Bridge FrameworkObject Linking and EmbeddingOffice Open XMLOffice XML formatsSmart tagsVisual Basic for Applications