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What is ActiveX?

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Quick Answer

ActiveX is a program that facilitates information- and functionality-sharing between Microsoft applications, such as Word, Excel and Internet Explorer. ActiveX allows applications to share functionality, such as spell checker, without forcing the developer to write the same code into both programs.

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Full Answer

Functionality shared between applications is written as an object which resides on the Windows operating system rather than in the program code. When an application requires this function, ActiveX calls up the object and activates it. Controls for ActiveX are typically written in programming languages such as Visual Basic and C++. ActiveX was initially released by Microsoft in 1996.

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