Activex Control

Definition of Activex Control

ActiveX Control is a component framework developed by Microsoft for creating reusable software components in Windows applications. These controls can be embedded in other applications, such as web browsers and Microsoft Office programs, to enhance their functionality. They are usually written in C++ or Visual Basic as independent modules and can be reused by multiple programs running on the same system or over the internet.


The phonetics of the keyword “ActiveX Control” is æktɪv ɛks kənˈtroʊl.

Key Takeaways

  1. ActiveX Controls are small programs used primarily within Internet Explorer web browser to execute functions and display content, often to enhance user experience with rich content like multimedia and interactive features.
  2. ActiveX Controls have a history of security issues, due to their full system access capabilities, which is why they are no longer widely used or recommended and have been replaced with safer technologies like HTML5 and JavaScript.
  3. Although not frequently used, ActiveX Controls can still be found in legacy applications, and they may require Internet Explorer compatibility mode or the use of add-ons to function properly with modern web browsers.

Importance of Activex Control

ActiveX Control plays a significant role in the technology realm since it allows enhanced functionality and interactivity within web browsers and applications.

Developed by Microsoft, ActiveX Control enables content developers to create rich, interactive digital experiences for users.

It aids in embedding multimedia components, such as animations, videos, and other complex features into web pages and software.

This further results in a more responsive and engaging user experience.

ActiveX Control’s importance lies in its ability to optimize software development, integrate seamlessly with various programming languages, and promote a higher level of functionality in applications.


ActiveX Control is a technology primarily developed by Microsoft to enhance the functionality and user experience of web applications and software. Its primary purpose is to allow seamless embedding and interaction of various software components within a single environment, such as a webpage or application. ActiveX Controls enable developers to extend the capabilities of applications by employing reusable components.

These controls serve a range of functions, including providing user interface elements, implementing data management, and facilitating interaction with other services and systems. ActiveX Controls have found their application in numerous software products and services, including Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Office Suite, thereby offering increased interactivity and enriched user experience. In addition to providing enriched functionality and embedded components, ActiveX Controls have played a central role in the rapid development and deployment of web applications.

By providing a robust and flexible framework for integrating diverse software components, they empower developers to create complex and highly interactive applications with relative ease, thus accelerating the software development process. However, it is essential to note that ActiveX Controls have faced some security concerns due to their ability to execute code and access system resources. As a result, developers must exercise caution and implement proper security measures when using ActiveX Controls.

Despite these security challenges, ActiveX Controls have undoubtedly contributed significantly to the evolution of web applications, and they continue to serve an important purpose in enhancing software functionality and user experience.

Examples of Activex Control

Internet Explorer Web Browser: ActiveX Controls have been an integral part of the Internet Explorer web browser, enabling enhanced web content experiences. These controls allowed websites to provide interactive content, such as games, multimedia playback, and various browser extensions. For example, the Adobe Flash Player utilized ActiveX technology to play Flash content on Internet Explorer.

Microsoft Office Applications: ActiveX Controls are used within the suite of Microsoft Office applications, such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. They enable users to embed interactive elements like media players, calendar widgets, and custom buttons. One real-world example is embedding a DatePicker control in an Excel sheet, allowing users to easily input and view calendar dates without needing additional third-party applications.

External Device Integrations: ActiveX Controls are used in various applications to control external devices, like cameras and scanners. A real-world example can be found in the security industry, where surveillance software utilizes ActiveX Controls to display live video feeds from security cameras. These controls allow the software to communicate with the cameras and provide advanced features like camera rotation, zoom control, and snapshot capture.

ActiveX Control FAQ

What is ActiveX Control?

ActiveX Control is a software framework developed by Microsoft to enable interactive content and functionalities to be embedded within web pages, applications, and software. It provides developers with a more efficient way to include and manage a variety of tools, enhancing software capabilities and overall user experience.

How do I install an ActiveX Control?

To install an ActiveX Control, navigate to the website or application requiring the control, and you’ll be prompted to install the necessary ActiveX components. Follow the on-screen instructions to install the ActiveX Control. Note that you may need administrator privileges to install on some systems or browsers.

Is ActiveX specific to Internet Explorer?

ActiveX is primarily associated with Internet Explorer, as the technology was developed by Microsoft. However, it is not exclusive to Internet Explorer and can be found in certain versions of some other browsers. Although, with modern technologies available, ActiveX Controls are less frequently used outside of Internet Explorer.

Are ActiveX controls safe to use?

ActiveX controls can pose security risks if they are not properly developed or come from untrusted sources. It’s important to only install ActiveX controls from trusted sources and publishers. Ensure your system and browser have the latest security updates to minimize risks.

How do I enable or disable ActiveX Controls?

Enabling or disabling ActiveX Controls depends on your browser and its settings. In Internet Explorer, you can enable or disable ActiveX Controls through Tools > Internet Options > Security tab > Custom Level > scroll down to find the ActiveX Controls and Plug-ins section. Adjust the settings to enable or disable the ActiveX Controls according to your needs.

Related Technology Terms


  • Component Object Model (COM)
  • Dynamic Link Libraries (DLLs)
  • Object Linking & Embedding (OLE)
  • Browser-based applications
  • Scriptable interfaces


Sources for More Information

  • Microsoft Documentation –
  • Techopedia –
  • Computer Hope –
  • GeeksforGeeks –

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