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Microsoft's Office Assistant

The Office Assistant

In additional to traditional online help, Microsoft offers an Office Assistant to help you along the way.  Clippit, the default Office Assistant, appears whenever you click the Help button on the Standard Toolbar.  Your Assistant should be configured to appear automatically when you start one of the Office programs.  We've also configured it to offer up a "tip of the day" so you can learn some interesting little tidbits of information.  The Assistant stays on the desktop, ready to help whenever you decide to use it.  You may leave the Assistant constantly active, or you can use it selectively.

Picking your Assistant

Did you know that you can customize the look of your Office Assistant?  There are several different Assistants to choose from, as the table below illustrates.  To change your Assistant, first click on the current Assistant's picture.  A help bubble appears.  Click the Options button, then on the next dialog box and go to the General tab.  Click the Next and Back buttons to navigate through the various options until you decide upon an Assistant.  With the desired Assistant in view, click the OK button to implement the new look.


"The Dot"


"The Genius"

"Office Logo"


"Mother Nature"




"Power Pup"





Searching for an answer

By using the Assistant, rather than wade through a listing of help topics, you can type your question in English, then click the Search button to try to find the answer.

Helping as you work

Sometimes you may notice a lightbulb appear near the Assistant.  As the Assistant observes your work, it can offer you little tips or shortcuts to help you work smarter or faster.  Simply click the Lightbulb to view the tip or shortcut.  You can also choose to ignore the lightbulb and continue working.  Sometimes lightbulb tips aren't always that helpful.  You'll just have to check them out from time to time and get a feel for their usefulness as you go.

Hiding the Assistant

PC:  If you decide you temporarily don't want to see the Office Assistant, select Hide the Office Assistant from the Help menu.  Select Show the Office Assistant from the Help menu to get it back.

Mac:  If you want to temporarily hide the Assistant, click the Collapse Window button in the upper right corner of the Assistant window.

Turning the Assistant off

If you find the Office Assistant to be an annoyance as you work, you can turn it off altogether.

PC:  Click on the Assistant to display a help bubble, if necessary, then click the Options button.  On the dialog box, go to the General tab and uncheck the box that says Use the Office Assistant.  If you later decide that you would like to have the Assistant back, just go to the Help menu and select Show the Office Assistant.

Mac:  Click the Close box on the Office Assistant window.

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