David F. Leigh

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Easter Eggs

Easter Eggs are hidden features of programs. These are usually nifty graphics or animations added by the programmers to display credits... I've written systems with these myself, although I don't recall ever having animated one. This page is itself an easter egg, since it's not obvious how to access it from the rest of my site! Some can get pretty elaborate, as you'll see below.
Microsoft Outlook
  1. Create a new contact named "Ren Hoek".
  2. Save the contact
  3. Select the new contact, then choose Help, then About Microsoft Outlook.
  4. Press and hold Ctrl+Alt+Shift and click on the OK button.
You'll get a scrolling list of credits. If you click on "Want More? Click Here." you'll get a web page (assuming you're connected) with more info.
Microsoft 3-D Text Screen Saver You need Windows 95 (will probably work with 98, too).
  1. Open your desktop properties.
  2. Select the Screensaver tab.
  3. Select the 3-D text screen saver.
  4. Select "Settings"
  5. Select the "Text" radio button within the "Display" section of the "3-D Text Setup" window.
  6. Enter "volcano" (not case-sensitive, no quotes) in the Text box.
The text will now switch between various volcanos, and apparently a few developer names. (Thanks to Mike Martin and Richard Glover for this tip.)
Microsoft Exchange 4.0 or 5.0
  1. Search for the file EXGL32.DLL in the Excel program directory
  2. Rename it to EXGL32.AVI.
  3. double-click the file
Netscape Navigator Type "about:mozilla" in the Location box.
Internet Explorer 4.0
  1. Choose About from the Help menu.
  2. Hold down the Ctrl key and click and hold the left mouse button on the small blue IE logo.
  3. Drag the IE logo and use it to push the "Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0" text to the right to expose the Unlock button.
  4. Drop the IE logo, then click the Unlock button. The "globe" logo will become agitated.
  5. Now drag the IE logo and drop it on the "globe" logo. 
The globe will now expand to fill the dialog, and then a new browser window will appear showing a scrolling list of credits and amusing comments.
Access (95 and 97): In an existing database (or open a new one), 
  1. Click on the Macros tab.
  2. Click the New button. You'll get a macro editor dialog.
  3. Press the spacebar. (this is so Access knows the macro's not empty).
  4. Close the macro. When you're asked if you want to save it, press "Yes".
  5. Name the macro "Magic Eight Ball".
  6. From the menu, select View, then Toolbars.
  7. Press Customize.
  8. From the Categories list, select "All Macros". You'll see "Magic Eight Ball" in the Objects list.
  9. Drag "Magic Eight Ball" from the Objects list to the Access toolbar.
  10. Right-click on the new button and select "Choose Button Image" from the context menu. (you won't have to choose the image in Access 97)
  11. Select the icon of the 8-ball (the last one).
OK. Now, whenever you've got a database open, you'll have an active button for the Magic Eight Ball. Click on it whenever you need to make an important executive decision.
Powerpoint (95 or 97):
  1. click on Help, then About Powerpoint.
  2. Double-click on the Icon at the left of the dialog box.
You'll see animated credits that look a bit like exploding fireworks. I like the ones in PPT95 better, they're more colorful, but other than that they're really similar. 
Word (95 or 97):
  1. Open a blank document.
  2. Type "Blue". (omit the quotes, but do capitalize as shown. No space after.)
  3. Highlight the word, "Blue". Then use Format, Font to make it blue (not dark blue) and bold.
  4. Put your cursor at the end of the word and press space.
  5. Now open Help, then About...
  6. Double-click on the icon at the left side of the dialog box.
In Word 95 you'll see a scrolling list of team credits. In Word 97 you get a nifty Pinball game that also has a scrolling list of credits. (actually, the pinball game is pretty crappy and doesn't keep score, but what do you want in a word processor???) 

This doesn't appear to work at all under Windows NT 3.51. Probably it needs DirectX, like the Excel Easter Egg (below), but there's no message. 

In Windows 95:
    It is absolutely amazing the amount of effort that has been expended on displaying some credits! ESPECIALLY since you've got to be a mind reader to find out how to do it! This Windows 95 Easter Egg is second only to the Excel Easter Eggs in impressiveness. What I want to know is, "where did they hide the program??"
  1. Right-click on the desktop and create a new folder.
  2. When it asks you for a name for the folder, enter "and now, the moment you've all been waiting for"
  3. Right click on the folder, choose Rename, and rename the folder to "we proudly present for your viewing pleasure".
  4. Right click on the folder, choose Rename, and rename the folder to "The Microsoft Windows 95 Product Team!"
  5. Double click on the folder to open it, and enjoy!
Make sure you've typed everything EXACTLY as I've written it, minus the quotes. If you have a sound card attached, go ahead and make sure it's not muted (unless you're at work!) 

BTW, if you close this window and reopen it, it will pick up wherever you left off! Once you reboot it will return to being a normal window.

In Excel 95: Nobody, but NOBODY, puts as much effort into including hidden useless stuff into an application as the Microsoft Excel Product Team! These next two examples will tell you how to display the ULTIMATE in Easter Eggs! 
  1. Open a new workbook.
  2. Scroll to row 95
  3. Click the "95" button. This will highlight the whole row.
  4. Press TAB
  5. Click "Help", then "About Microsoft Excel".
  6. While holding Ctrl+Shift+Alt, press "Tech Support".
This will open a Doom-like window titled, "The Hall of Tortured Souls". Using the arrows, go to the top of the stairs and view the developer credits. Then come back down the stairs, face the blank wall, and type EXCELKFA. The wall will disappear and you can move along the winding path (don't fall off!) to view photos of the development team and another scrolling list.
In Excel 97:
  1. Open a new workbook.
  2. Press F5 (goto)
  3. Type X97:L97
  4. Press TAB.
  5. While holding Ctrl+Shift, click on the Chart Wizard icon on the toolbar.
This will display a full screen flight simulator which you control with your mouse (left mouse click accelerates, right mouse click decelerates). Fly around until you find the scrolling list of credits (or you can just sit in one place and spin around twice). Make sure you stick around for the "In the beginning..." spiel! This looks REALLY amazing and smooth on my monitor! 

You must have DirectX installed to see the flight simulator, which means Windows 95. However, if you're running NT 3.x or don't have DirectX, all is not lost... do the steps anyway and you'll see a message telling you that it would be a lot more interesting if you had DirectX (duh). Press enter and you'll get the credits displayed one at a time by a collection of black dots that fly about like a swarm of bees.

In Windows 98:
  1. Double-click the clock in the Tray portion of the Task Bar.  This opens the Date/Time Properties dialog box.
  2. Click the Time Zone tab.
  3. Press and hold your Ctrl key.  Place your mouse pointer over Memphis, Egypt, then press and hold your left mouse button.  Pretend to drag something to Memphis, Tennessee, then release the mouse button.
  4. Still holding down the Ctrl key, point to Memphis, Tennessee, then click and pretend to drag something to Redmond, Washington.  Then release the left mouse button.  You won't see anything happen on screen while you do this.
  5. Release the Ctrl key.
An animated dialog box should appear, listing several Microsoft developers, complete with images of the Microsoft campus and the Seattle area.  If you don't see it, try again.  (Why all the fuss about Memphis?  Well, "Memphis" was the development code name for Windows 98, of course!) 

Thanks to Brian Livingston for publishing this tip in InfoWorld.  Brian got it from Frank Condron.

The informational content of this website is copyright 1997-2002 by David F. Leigh unless otherwise stated. Permission to distribute is granted under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.