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by Dinesh Thakur

OLE stands for object linking and embedding, a capability introduced into Microsoft Windows 3.1. OLE gives all Windows applications a standard way for incorporating objects created in one program into documents created with other programs.

 An object might be a passage of formatted text, a part of a spreadsheet, some sounds, or a picture. Unlike information that you copy from one document and paste into another the standard way, a linked or embedded  object retains a connection to the application that originally created it. You can return to that application to edit the object whenever you want to just by double-clicking on the object-you don't have to bother with finding the icon for the application, loading the right file, and so on. Better yet, the changes you make automatically appear in the document where you linked or embedded the object.

 When you embed an object, you place a copy of the information into your document. This copy is connected to the original application, but not to a particular document in that application. The only advantage to embedding an object instead of copying the information the ordinary way is that you can edit the object more conveniently.

By contrast, when you link an object, you place a "reference" to a particular document from another application into the document you're working with. Let's say you have a spreadsheet that totals your third quarter sales figures. You link that spreadsheet document into a report you're preparing in your word processor. Later, when revised sales figures come in, you go back to the spreadsheet application and change the numbers. The next time you open the report document in your word processor, the new figures from the spreadsheet appear automatically in the report. This is the same idea as a "hot link," and it may help to read the generic definition for link.

OLE only works if both applications involved have been designed to use it, and even then it may only work in one direction (like, you can link a graphic into a text document, but not text into a graphic document). And it doesn't work exactly the same way in every application. Even so, it's easier and more consistent than the old method, called DDE.