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Clippy coming back as part of Microsoft emoji redesign

The beloved Word assistant will return as part of a redesign of more than 1,800 emojis across Microsoft 365.
Credit: Microsoft
Left: the outgoing paperclip emoji. Right: the new Clippy emoji design

REDMOND, Wash. — Anyone who's used Microsoft Office before 2007 will remember Clippy, the intelligent assistant who would offer helpful hints when writing documents or setting up spreadsheets. Clippy, more properly known as "Clippit", was the default assistant and a mainstay from 1997 until he was removed in 2007. Tech news outlet CNET reported in 2002 the poor paperclip was pink-slipped and wasn't very popular with Microsoft's own employees.

In his absence, countless Clippy memes sprang up across the Internet. He's been referenced in pop culture too; the season finale for season 7 of "The Office" in 2011 saw Darryl calling Microsoft to ask if the virtual paperclip is still around, as reported by AV Club. SFist notes HBO's "Silicon Valley" even took a swing at Clippy with the introduction of "Pipey" as a parody in the show's third season. Microsoft even joked at themselves, bringing Clippy back in an April Fool's Day joke in 2014 as reported by Mashable

But now, 14 years after his last real appearance, Clippy is making a comeback.

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Microsoft took to social media with a challenge: on Instagram, the company called for 200,000 likes to replace the paperclip emoji in Microsoft 365 with Clippy. On Twitter, a similar call, albeit for 20,000 likes.

Both posts shot past the 200,000 marks within 24 hours.

In follow-up posts, Microsoft confirmed that Clippy is back in emoji form, but he wasn't the only new emoji design set for release across the company's cloud-based 365 productivity platform; in a post on the company's Medium page, Microsoft says more than 1,800 emojis across the platform are getting a refresh from a flat design language to more colorful, 3D characters as part of the new "Fluent" aesthetic.

The announcement couldn't have had better timing, either; Saturday, July 17 is World Emoji Day, making Thursday the perfect time to show off some of the new designs. This won't be an immediate rollout, however; Microsoft says some of the new emoji can be seen in Flipgrid starting today, with the rest rolling out there in the coming weeks. The full set of emoji will roll out to Teams and Windows this coming holiday season, while more programs like Yammer, Outlook, and more will get the new faces throughout 2022.

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Clippy has been included in Easter Eggs previously, and recently was made part of a background for Teams, Microsoft's video conferencing platform.