Microsoft said on Friday that its latest version of Office software inadvertently contained a font featuring two swastikas, and said it would offer tools to remove and replace the offending characters from the program.
The swastika, which was made infamous by Nazi Germany, was included in Microsoft's "Bookshelf Symbol 7'' font. That font was derived from a Japanese font set, said Microsoft Office product manager Simon Marks.
"It was discovered by one of our customers a couple weeks ago,'' Marks said, adding that there was "no indication of malicious intent.''
The software maker said that it had contacted various Jewish organisations about the font and said a utility would be immediately available on its website that would remove the characters from the system.
Microsoft said it will release other tools at a later date to remove only the offending characters.
A form of the swastika has been used in the Buddhist religion to symbolise the feet or footprints of the Buddha. The symbol, which was also used widely in the ancient world including Mesopotamia, Scandinavia, India and the Americas, became common in China and Japan with the spread of Buddhism.
German dictator Adolf Hitler adopted the swastika as the symbol of the Nazi Party because of its nationalist identification, according to the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre, an international Jewish human rights group.