by Dinesh Thakur

A format developed by the Microsoft Corporation for implementing object-oriented software components. ActiveX controls are prefabricated components based on Microsoft's COM object model, which can be employed to create new applications with little or no programming, for example by simply dragging-and-dropping them into a document, or by downloading them into a browser from a web site.

The VISUAL BASIC programming language works by dragging different ActiveX controls onto a blank container, and then writing a minimal amount of code to connect them together. There is a large market in such prefabricated controls, many written by vendors other than Microsoft, with spreadsheets, text editors, picture viewers, sound players and many other functions available ready to run.