Microsoft Office Assistant
Missing In Action
The Microsoft Office Assistant was an Office feature designed to assist users using an interactive animated character who retrieved information from Office help content. In Microsoft Office for Windows, it was included in versions 97 to 2003. The default assistant in the English version was named Clippit, nicknamed Clippy (also short for paperclip).
However, most users did not like the Office Assistant at all - and that's putting it mildly. The public usually saw Clippit's appearance as annoying and intrusive. In response to this negatice customer feedback, Microsoft turned off the feature by default in Office XP and removed it altogether in Office 2007. I'm pretty sure we won't see Clippy in Office 2010!
Triggering The Office Assistant
The Office Assistant appeared when the program determined the user could be assisted with using Office wizards, searching help, or advising users on using Office features more effectively. For example, typing an address followed by "Dear" would cause Clippit to appear and say, "It looks like you're writing a letter. Would you like help?"
From Office 2007 onwards, Microsoft replaced the Office assistant with a new online help system.