Microsoft will bring back a version of its infamous animated paperclip character Clippit — or Clippy, as it is popularly known — to its suite of programs later this year, art director Claire Anderson wrote in a statement on Thursday.
But users shouldn’t expect Clippy to offer assistance or advice. When the character returns, it will be to replace the standard paperclip emoji that exists across all Microsoft Office platforms.
The original version of Clippy was an intelligent and interactive interface on Microsoft Office. The animated paperclip would pop up in new Microsoft documents and offer suggestions to the user. It was first introduced in 1996 as part of the Microsoft Office 97 Release, but by 2001 was turned off by default in the program, meaning users had to enable Clippy for use.
Clippy was formally removed from Office in 2007, and briefly resurfaced as part of an animated sticker pack via Github in 2019.
Microsoft teased Clippy’s return in a tweet on Wednesday, writing: “If this gets 20k likes, we’ll replace the paperclip emoji in Microsoft 365 with Clippy.”
Clippy’s latest reappearance comes as part of a larger overhaul of Microsoft’s 1800-plus emoji, with the company saying emoji “can telegraph our thoughts and feelings in ways that are fun, clear, and emotionally resonant.”
The updated emoji will appear in 3D as opposed to 2D, and the majority will be animated.
“...We had to use this opportunity to make a change that only we could truly make — so long flat, standard paperclip, and hello Clippy!” Anderson wrote in part in Thursday’s announcement. “Sure, we may use fewer paper clips today than we did in Clippy’s heyday, but we couldn’t resist the nostalgic pull.”
Microsoft will also unveil five brand-new emoji in an effort to demonstrate the company’s “fresh perspective on work, expression, and the spaces in between,” Anderson added.
The new concept sketches include a person multitasking, a person on mute, a no camera day, parenting-while-working and the pajama suit. Some of the new and updated emoji are already included in Microsoft’s Flipgrid, and the rest will be rolled out over the coming weeks.