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Chapter 2. Working with Windows Programs > Sharing Information Among Programs

Sharing Information Among Programs

Windows XP makes it easy to insert a file or part of a file created in one program into a file created in a different program. The ability to share files and information among different programs is called object linking and embedding (OLE). With OLE, you can work with a document in WordPad and at the same time take advantage of the specialized tools in another program, such as Paint or Microsoft Excel. By using OLE, you'll be able to access features from other programs, edit data easily, update to the latest information, and save space.

Information shared between two programs is an object, which can be a picture from a graphics program, a chart from a spreadsheet program, a video clip, text, or almost anything else you can create on a computer. The program that creates the object is called the source program; the program that creates the file into which you want to insert the object is called the destination program. Likewise, the file that originally contained the object is the source file, and the file where you want to insert the object is the destination file. Both embedding and linking involve inserting an object into a destination file; they differ in where they store their respective objects. With embedding, a copy of the object becomes part of the destination file. If you want to edit the object, you make changes in the destination file, and the original file remains intact. With linking, a representation of the object appears in the destination file, but the object is stored in the source file. If you want to edit the linked object, you make changes in the source file or its representation in the destination file, and the other file will reflect the changes the next time you open it.


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