C H A P T E R    34 Part 6  Microsoft Office Architecture Microsoft Office Resource Kit
Microsoft Office Architecture Previous



In This Chapter
Office Support for Object Linking and Embedding
Office Support for ActiveX
Security Features in Office
Shared Office Components

This chapter describes the structure of Microsoft Office 97 for Windows and Office 98 for the Macintosh. It explains how the various component applications in the Office suite work together. An understanding of the architecture of Office can help you take advantage of its features and may help you troubleshoot problems.



Office encourages a work style that is centered on information rather than applications. Office allows users to create information and then manipulate it with a suite of software tools. Each of these tools is a standalone application in its own right, but Office integrates their functionality to form a unified work area.


Office Support for Object Linking and Embedding

Object linking and embedding (OLE) is the basis for integration between the Office applications. OLE allows you to insert data from a source document into a client document — cells from a Microsoft Excel workbook into a Microsoft Word document, for example. Data can be either linked or embedded, as follows:

Object embedding is different from object linking in two key ways:

Documents with embedded objects use more hard disk space than documents with linked objects. This is because embedded objects are copies, whereas linked objects are merely references.


Office Support for ActiveX

ActiveX is an open integration platform that provides developers, users, and World Wide Web developers a fast and easy way to create integrated applications and content for the Internet and intranets. ActiveX is a standard that enables software components to interact with one another in a networked environment, regardless of the language or languages used to create them. Most Web users encounter ActiveX technology in the form of ActiveX controls, ActiveX documents, and ActiveX scripts. Office supports ActiveX controls and ActiveX documents.

What's the Difference Between OLE and ActiveX?

ActiveX and OLE are both based on the Component Object Model (COM), but they provide substantially different services to developers. COM provides the low­level object­binding mechanism that enables objects to communicate with each other. OLE uses COM to provide high­level application services such as linking and embedding, allowing users to create compound documents. ActiveX provides a substantially simpler infrastructure within which controls can be embedded in Web sites or Office documents to respond interactively to events.

Although OLE is optimized for end­user usability and integration of desktop applications, ActiveX is optimized for size and speed. ActiveX also adds a number of important innovations for the Internet (including a 50 percent to 75 percent reduction in size), support for incremental rendering, and asynchronous connections.

   World Wide Web   For the latest information about ActiveX, connect to the Windows Distributed interNet Applications Architecture (DNA) page at:


ActiveX Controls

ActiveX controls, formerly known as OLE controls, are components (or objects) you can insert into Web pages or Office documents to reuse packaged functionality that someone else programmed.

For example, Excel, Word, and Microsoft PowerPoint share powerful new tools for creating custom dialog boxes. Because these applications use the same dialog box tools in the Visual Basic Editor, you have to learn how to create custom dialog boxes in only one way for all three applications, and you can share these dialog boxes across applications.

After you've created a custom dialog box, you can add ActiveX controls to it. You can also place ActiveX controls directly on a document, worksheet, or slide. To determine how the custom dialog box and ActiveX controls respond to user actions — for example, when users click a control or change its value — you write event procedures that run whenever the event occurs.

Just as you can add ActiveX controls to custom dialog boxes, you can add controls directly to a document, sheet, or slide to make it interactive. For example, you might add text boxes, list boxes, option buttons, and other controls to a document to turn it into an online form; you might add a button to a sheet that runs a commonly used macro; or you might add buttons and other controls to slides in a presentation to help users run the slide show.

For more information about creating ActiveX controls in Office 97 for Windows, see the Microsoft Office 97/Visual Basic Programmer's Guide, published by Microsoft Press and available wherever computer books are sold. For more information about Microsoft Press books, see Appendix E, "Other Support Resources."

ActiveX Documents

ActiveX documents allow you to open an application that has its own toolbars and menus available while browsing with either an application that supports ActiveX or a Web browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0. This means you can open non­HTML files, such as Excel or Word files, using a Web browser that supports ActiveX.

All the Office applications support ActiveX documents, allowing you to seamlessly integrate Office document formats into Web browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0. For more information about integrating Office documents into an intranet, see Chapter 24, "Integrating Microsoft Office with Your Intranet."


Security Features in Office

As a workgroup administrator, you might initiate or oversee workgroup­wide security practices to help protect Office documents. This section describes the password encryption protection offered by the following Office applications:

When you read­protect a document in any of these applications, the application calls an Office DLL to provide the encryption routine. The Office encryption options described here are independent of any additional security measures at the operating system level.

Access, Excel, and Word incorporate the symmetric encryption routine known as RC4. RC4 is stronger than the encryption routine used in previous versions of most Office applications, known as Office 4.x encryption. (Access has supported RC4 encryption since version 2.0.) Documents from previous versions of Office are not as protected as password-enabled documents in Office 97 or 98 format.

Note   Strong encryption such as RC4 is banned in France. If a Windows user's locale setting in the Regional Settings Properties dialog box (Control Panel) is set to French (Standard), that user cannot open Office documents that are password protected with RC4 encryption. Nor can the user save an Office document with RC4 encryption. The user can, however, use Office 4.x encryption when saving an Office 97 document with password requirement.

Office password protection does not disable or conflict with Microsoft Exchange Server digital signatures or other security measures provided by the operating system or other programs.


Shared Office Components

This section provides a brief overview of how the Office applications share services and code.

Coordination of Applications

Office coordinates the work of its individual applications such as Excel and Word. From a user's point of view, this is apparent in the consistency of the user interface. Menu and command names are standardized, not only in their terminology, but in their order and placement on the screen. If users are already familiar with one Office application, it is easier for them to use the tools of another application.

Shared Application Tools

Individual Office applications share tools such as the Clip Gallery and spelling checker. The following table lists the application tools shared by Office applications, the applications that share them, and their default locations as Office Setup installs them. For a complete listing of these tools, see Appendix D, "List of Installed Components."

Following are more detailed descriptions of some shared components.

Office Art

Excel, PowerPoint, and Word use the same set of drawing tools, called Office Art. The Office Art tools, which are accessible through the Drawing toolbar, provide hundreds of drawing objects and effects that are common to Excel, PowerPoint, and Word. Additionally, each application has extended the Office Art feature set to provide application­specific features such as charting in Excel, document backgrounds in Word, and action buttons in PowerPoint.

Spelling Checker Dictionary

The Office applications that implement the spelling checker all share the same dictionary file. The name and default location of the dictionary file is:

This tool Has this function Is shared by these applications And is installed in this location
Clip Gallery Indexes clip art, pictures, sounds, and movies so you can browse the collection. Access (Windows only), Excel, PowerPoint, Word Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Artgalry (Windows); Microsoft Office 98:Clipart (Macintosh)
Data Access Objects (Windows only) Used by custom Visual Basic applications to gain access to external data. Access, Excel Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Dao
Equation Editor Inserts mathematical symbols and equations into documents. Access (Windows only), Excel, PowerPoint, Word Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Equation (Windows); Microsoft Office 98:Shared Applications:Equation Editor (Macintosh)
Find All Word Forms Finds and replaces noun forms or verb tenses. PowerPoint, Word Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Proof (Windows); Microsoft Office 98:Shared Applications:Proofing Tools (Macintosh)
Find Fast (Windows only) Indexes Office documents for fast retrieval. For more information, see Chapter 26, "Finding Microsoft Office Documents on the Network." All Office applications Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office
Graphics Filters Convert graphics into file formats that Office applications can use. All Office applications Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Grphflt (Windows); Microsoft Office 98:Shared Applications:Graphics Filters (Macintosh)
Lotus VIM Mail Support (Windows only) Allows you to use Lotus Notes version 3.x, 4.x, or cc:Mail 2.x for electronic mail. For more information, see Chapter 28, "Working with Messaging Systems and Connectivity Software." All Office applications Windows\System or System32
Microsoft Graph Creates charts from Access, PowerPoint, and Word data. Access, PowerPoint, and Word Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office (Windows); Microsoft Office 98:Office (Macintosh)
Microsoft Office Manager (Macintosh only) Installed only if Value Pack Setup detects an old version of Office All Office applications Microsoft Office 98:Office
Office Shortcut Bar (Windows only) Provides application management, including instant access to cross­application Office technology and a starting point for Office components. All Office applications Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office
Microsoft Photo Editor (Windows only) Used to scan, convert, and modify photographic images. All Office applications Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\PhotoEd
Microsoft Query Helps you retrieve data from external data sources. Access, Excel, Word Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Library \Msquery (Windows); Microsoft Office 98:Office (Macintosh)
Microsoft TrueType Fonts Provides several TrueType fonts. All applications Windows\Fonts (Windows); System Folder:Fonts (Macintosh)
MS Info Gathers system configuration information for troubleshooting purposes. All Office applications Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\MSInfo (Windows); Microsoft Office 98:Office (Macintosh)
Organizational Chart Creates organization charts. Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Word Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Orgchart (Windows); Microsoft Office 98:Office (Macintosh)
Office Assistant Provides Help, tips, and other online assistance. All Office applications Program Files\Microsoft Office\Actors (Windows); Microsoft Office 98:Office:Actors (Macintosh)
Popular Clipart Compiles a collection of the popular clips. All Office applications Program Files\Microsoft Office\Clipart\Popular (Windows); Microsoft Office 98:Clipart (Macintosh)
Spelling Checker Checks the spelling of text in documents. For more information, see "Spelling Checker Dictionary" later in this chapter. Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Word Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Proof (Windows); Microsoft Office 98:Shared Applications:Proofing Tools (Macintosh)
Text converters Convert documents to and from other file formats. All Office applications Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Textconv (Windows); Microsoft Office 98:Shared Applications:Text Converters (Macintosh)
  Windows Macintosh
Custom dictionary filename Custom.dic Custom Dictionary
Custom dictionary default location Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Proof Microsoft Office 98:Shared Applications:Proofing Tools

Customizations that users make to the spelling list by running the spelling checker within an application are saved to this file.

In Windows, it is possible to create a corporate dictionary, although you cannot share this file across a workgroup due to potential sharing violation problems.

To create a corporate dictionary file (Windows only)

  1. Open the file Custom.dic in a text editor, such as Notepad.
  2. Add the words you want the Office applications to evaluate as properly spelled to the Custom.dic file.

    Each word should appear on its own line, and all of the words you add should be in alphabetical order.

  3. Save the file and copy it to local workstations.
  4. Modify the setting in the following key in each user's Windows registry to point to the location of the corporate Custom.dic file:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Shared Tools\Proofing Tools\Custom Dictionaries

   Tip   In Windows 95 and Windows NT Workstation 4.0, you can use a system policy to specify the path to a custom dictionary for all Word users in your workgroup. In the System Policy Editor, set the following policy:

Computer\Word 97\Spelling Advanced\Custom Dictionaries

For more information, see "Using Windows System Policies to Customize Office" in Chapter 7, "Customizing and Optimizing Microsoft Office."

Microsoft Clip Gallery

The Microsoft Clip Gallery is a repository for all clip art, pictures, sound files, and video clips that you might want to include in an Office document. The media files are not stored in the Clip Gallery; instead, the Clip Gallery stores databases where you can keep track of these files and insert them easily into Office documents. The Clip Gallery user interface makes it easy to import files to the Clip Gallery so that you can add graphics, sounds, and video files of your own. For information about adding files to the Clip Gallery, click Help in the Clip Gallery window.

The Clip Gallery stores clip previews, keywords, and category names in Clip Gallery databases (CAG files). You can create a custom Clip Gallery database and distribute it to users or make it available to a workgroup on a shared network drive. For information about Clip Gallery databases and how to distribute custom versions on a network, see "Information for Network Administrators" on the Contents tab in Clip Gallery online Help.

The Clip Gallery recognizes certain file formats and media types, and categorizes them as clip art, pictures, sounds, or videos. You can install graphics filters and media devices from independent software vendors so that the Clip Gallery recognizes additional files and allows you to add them to its databases. When you install software from independent vendors, the Setup program for the software registers the filter or device, so that the Clip Gallery recognizes the format and displays the format on the Clip Gallery tabs according to the categories shown in the following table.

Note   Compressed pictures lose their compression when inserted from the Clip Gallery into an Office application. This can result in substantially increased document size. For acceptable performance, you should not use the Clip Gallery to insert pictures that are stored in compressed formats, such as GIF, PNG, JPEG, or JFIF format.

This file format Is displayed on this tab
Vector graphic Clip Art
Raster/bitmap graphic Pictures
Sound, such as WAV and MIDI (Windows) or MacSound and QuickTime (Macintosh) Sounds
Video/movie, such as AVI (Windows) or QuickTime (Macintosh) Videos
   Tip   In Windows 95 and Windows NT Workstation 4.0, you can use a system policy to make more clip art content available to users. You create new Clip Art Gallery databases (CAG files) and store them on a server. Three policies are included to allow you to divide clip art among one, two, or three files. In the System Policy Editor, set the following policies:

Computer\Clip Art Gallery 3.0\Concurrent Database #1

Computer\Clip Art Gallery 3.0\Concurrent Database #2

Computer\Clip Art Gallery 3.0\Concurrent Database #3

For more information, see "Using Windows System Policies to Customize Office" in Chapter 7, "Customizing and Optimizing Microsoft Office."

Visual Basic for Applications

Office provides developers with a common set of tools, including the Visual Basic for Applications programming language, the Visual Basic Editor, and Microsoft Forms.

All Office applications (including Microsoft Outlook) expose object models, making it possible for developers to help control these applications programmatically to create robust custom solutions. In addition, the implementation of each object model is highly consistent, allowing developers to apply their understanding of working with one Office application to working with another.

For more information about creating custom solutions in Office 97, see the Microsoft Office 97/Visual Basic Programmer's Guide, published by Microsoft Press and available wherever computer books are sold. For more information on Microsoft Press books, see "Microsoft Press Titles" in Appendix E, "Other Support Resources."

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