The great software Easter egg hunt: Day 4 – Word

Uncover the mysteries of MS WordWow, it’s day four already of my software Easter egg hunt and already I’ve uncovered some really cool secrets for Photoshop, Windows XP, and Winamp. Being a writer I’ve usually got my copy of Word open so I set about discovering some Easter egg goodies for the veteran word processing app. Here’s my pick of the pops:
Want to quickly generate some random text? Then open a new Word document and type “=rand(200,99)” (without the quote marks). Hit Enter and you’ll be presented with page upon page of randomness. Now try tinkering around with the numbers in brackets – you can change the repitition of the text and the number of times in a row it appears.

If you’re still using Word 97 then you needn’t feel left out. In fact, there’s a feature in there that users of Office 2007 will be envious of – a neat pinball game. Launch a new document and type the word “Blue”. Select the word, then go to ‘Format’, ‘Font’ and make the text bold and blue. Go back to your document and type a space after the word. Now go to ‘About’ in the ‘Help’ menu and Ctrl-Shift left-click on the Word logo/banner. The game will now magically launch! The ‘Z’ key controls the left flipper and the ‘M’ the right. Hit Esc to quit.

Here’s an interesting one for you linguists – did you know that liberal bias exists in Word theasaurus? See for yourself by looking up the words “liberal” and “conservative” in the Thesaurus. notice that the definition of liberal is much more positive (i.e. ‘broad-minded’, ‘tolerant’, ‘free-thinking’, ‘non-interventionist’), whereas to be conservative seems to be a bad thing in the eyes of Microsoft (e.g. ‘unadventurous’, ‘old-fashioned’, ‘conformist’, ‘old school’).

Though technically not an Easter egg, here’s an ‘old school’ trick for all you conservatives out there: open a new document and type ‘Q33 NY’. Now change the font size to 26 and the type to ‘Wingdings’. Amazingly, it looks like a plane flying into two towers with a symbolic message which apparently represents ‘death to jews’. Personally I think this one is pure conincedence, though some conspiracy theorists swear by it.

Continue with the Easter egg hunt here.

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