Friday, April 10, 2009

An Egg for Easter

Here's a neat little Easter egg I just learned about for Microsoft Word (if by this time you don't know that an "Easter egg" is a hidden feature, then get educated here).

In Word, type in "=lorem(p,s)" minus the quotes where p is the number of paragraphs and s is the number of sentences per paragraph. Entering "=lorem(200,4)" will give you about 10 pages of output that looks something like this:


This can come in pretty handy if you're in need of some sample text. It's so useful, in fact that I was going to tell you that you should code it as a macro and save it to a toolbar button. Problem is, it doesn't work as a macro (you have to physically press Enter), so you just have to remember it.

If you're using OpenOffice.org, you can have the button... just download the Lorem Ipsum generator extension. It will provide you with an icon like the yellow and black one in this screenshot:


Clicking that icon brings up the illustrated dialog box, and you can determine how much sample text you get. BTW, you need to be connected to the Internet for this extension to work, since it uses the text generator at http://www.lipsum.com to create the output. Visit the website... it will give you more info about Lorem Ipsum than you ever wanted to know. One of the nifty fun facts is that the Dolor Ipsum text is used to prevent you from being distracted by real text when you should be focusing on layout.

OK, so that OpenOffice.org extension isn't really an Easter egg... it just duplicates (and one-ups) the neat functionality of the Word feature. Actually, the Word feature is documented, so it's not really an Easter egg, either... I just haven't found any real eggs in Office 2007 yet (that's what I get for using OpenOffice.org). Don't worry, I've got a good OpenOffice.org Easter egg for you...

In Calc, type this into the first blank cell: "=game()"
It will respond with "say what?"
You respond with "=GAME("StarWars")

...and the game will start. It looks suspiciously like another famous game.


The instructions are in German, but don't worry, it's easy enough. You can play with either the mouse or the keyboard.

Many programs contain hidden features. Unsurprisingly, someone's collecting them. Visit the Easter Egg Archive online.

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