(Dynamic-linked library) In programming, a type of LIBRARY file that becomes LINKED to a program that uses it only temporarily when the program is loaded into memory or executed, rather than being permanently built-in when the program is COMPILED. The same DLL may therefore be shared by many different programs, rather than each program having to contain its own copy; this saves on memory usage and potentially simplifies the updating of programs.
Microsoft WINDOWS was the first operating system to make heavy use of DLLs, with large parts of the operating system itself (e.g. KERNEL32.DLL) and of Microsoft Office applications existing in DLL format. The use of DLLs should simplify the distribution of updates to programs, but in practice they are a double-edged weapon, as installing new programs can cause chaos by overwriting DLLs needed by others with incompatible versions