The Office Assistant

When you start any Office program, one of the first features you notice is the Office Assistant , an online cartoon character that hangs around as you work. Figure 1.10 shows the default Office Assistant (named Clippit ), who appears when you start an Office product.

Figure 1.10. Clippit, a helpful assistant, remains faithful as you use Office.



You might see a different character, and you can change the character if you want. The next section, "Customizing the Office Assistant," explains how to change the Office Assistant's animated character.

Keep your eyes on the Office Assistant as you work because you will be amused at the contortions it goes through as it provides advice. If you have your speakers turned on, the Office Assistant makes noises to draw your attention.

Move the Office Assistant to a different screen location by dragging the character. If the Office Assistant is covering an area in which you are about to type, it automatically moves out of the way.

Suppose that you want help italicizing Word text. You can search through the online help system (via the Help menu), or you can click the Office Assistant, type a question, such as " How do I italicize text? ," and press Enter. The Office Assistant analyzes your question and displays a list of related topics (as shown in Figure 1.11). Click the topic that best fits your needs, and the Office Assistant locates that help topic and displays the Help dialog box.

Figure 1.11. The Office Assistant offers a lot of advice.


If you do something and the Office Assistant sees a better method, you see a yellow light bulb that you can click for shortcut information. If you begin to create a numbered list using menus , for example, the Office Assistant might display the light bulb to let you know that you can create a numbered list by clicking a button on the toolbar.

Customizing the Office Assistant

If you work on a slow computer, you might want to disable the Office Assistant to keep things moving a little faster. Also, many (most?) Office users like the Office Assistant when they first start using Office but then tire of the assistant always moving around the screen.

When you right-click the Office Assistant, a pop-up menu appears with these options:

  • Hide ” Gets rid of the Office Assistant. Display the Office Assistant again by clicking the toolbar's Office Assistant button.

  • Options ” Displays an Office Assistant dialog box, from which you can control the behavior of the Office Assistant (such as the Office Assistant's response to pressing the F1 key).

  • Choose Assistant ” Enables you to change to a different animated Office Assistant character from the dialog box shown in Figure 1.12.

    Figure 1.12. Select a new Office Assistant.


  • Animate! ” Causes the Office Assistant to dance around its window; the Office Assistant likes to show off. Select Animate a few times to see the Office Assistant's contortions.

By default, the Office Assistant does not appear until you activate him. If you don't see an Office Assistant when you start an Office program, select Help, Show Office Assistant, and the Office Assistant appears. In reality, you might grow tired of this fun guy rather quickly. The Office Assistant is cute at first and then becomes a nuisance in many people's opinions . (Those people turn him off right after he turns them off.) Do what you want; Office 2003 is designed to provide what you need and hide what you don't want to see or use.


If the Office Assistant appears when you press F1 but you want to use the normal content-based help system, right-click over Assistant to display the pop-up menu. Select Options, and uncheck the option labeled Use the Office Assistant. Office then uses a Web-like, HTML-based help so that you can navigate the online help the same way you might navigate Web pages. As Figure 1.13 shows, when you display non “Office Assistant help, Office displays two panes with the help text in the right pane and a condensed Office program screen in the left pane. (You can drag the center bar left and right to adjust the width of the panes.) With the help shown in a second pane, you can keep working in the left pane while referring to instructions in the right pane.

Figure 1.13. Office products provide a two-pane help view.


Sams Teach Yourself Microsoft Office 2003 in 24 Hours
Sams Teach Yourself Microsoft Office 2003 in 24 Hours
ISBN: 0672325535
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 272
Authors: Greg Perry © 2008-2017.
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