I was just now criticizing Wizards in a comment.

In fact, what was the first Wizard, and when?

Indeed, can one fairly and definitively state: "Microsoft invented Wizards" ...?


2 Answers 2


Well Roger's answer sums it up pretty nicely but here is another reference I found from PC Mag (that agrees that 91/92 is when this type of wizard arrives from Microsoft).

PC Mag - Oct 26, 1993

Microsoft sparked the trend with a series of Wizards that came with Microsoft Publisher 1.0, Microsoft Excel for Windows 4.0, and Microsoft Access. Eschewing the step-by-step tools approach found in most software, Wizards take a more task-oriented path to helping you get your work done.

Access and Excel 4.0 were 1992.

Publisher 2.0 was 1991.

  • fantastic information, I thank you. What a great site this is!
    – Fattie
    Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 16:41
  • Is it a plain fact that "Microsoft invented Wizards"?
    – Fattie
    Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 16:41
  • I don't know for sure but unless the MacUser Magazine referenced in Roger's answer was referring to something earlier than Microsoft then it appears, yes, in the context of a step-by-step software guide, they were the first.
    – DasBeasto
    Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 16:53
  • I'll second it coming from MS: I have this hazy recollection of using an early version of Powerpoint with a Wizard sometime in the early 90s.
    – PhillipW
    Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 17:21

It's not really a UX question, but...

In the context you imply (i.e. a software assistant) then 1991/1992 was the first mention or introduction of wizards as you can read in the answers to the question Origin of the term “wizard” in computing on the English stack exchange site.

  • Had no idea it was so long ago, good one.
    – Fattie
    Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 16:30

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