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A compound document technology from Microsoft based on its Component Object Model (COM). OLE allows an object such as a graphic, video clip, spreadsheet, etc. to be embedded into a document, called the "container application." If the object is playable such as a video, when it is double clicked by the user, a media player is launched. If the object is allowed to be edited, the application associated with it (the "server application") is launched.

An object can be linked instead of embedded, in which case the container application does not physically hold the object, but provides a pointer to it. If a change is made to a linked object, all the documents that contain that same link are automatically updated the next time you open them. An application can be both client and server. See Object Packager.

OLE was originally known as "Object Linking and Embedding." However, with version 2.0, OLE's infrastructure was built on a new component architecture known as COM (Component Object Model) that went beyond compound documents. New capabilities such as OLE automation and Network OLE were widely promoted. Later, Microsoft dropped the use of the term as a marketing brand, although it is still used in technical documentation. See ActiveX Documents and COM.

OLE Embedding
If an object is embedded, the document contains a copy of it. Changes made to the object affect only the document that contains it.

OLE Linking
If an object is linked, the document contains a pointer to the original file. When you change a linked object, you are changing the original, and all the documents that link to that object are automatically updated.
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References in classic literature ?
Charley smiled at their efforts, and said, "Give her the topsail, Ole."
Ole Ericsen looked at the straining Mary Rebecca and shook his head.
Ole shot an anxious glance at his masts, another at the boat load of armed Greeks, and consented.
Ole Ericsen seemed sunk into a state of stolid despair.
"Ay tank Ay ban a great big fool," said Ole Ericsen.
FORMER United defender Danny Higginbotham believes it will take years to restore the club to their former glories and blamed fitness for the way Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side finished the season.
Van Gaal said: "I can see how Ole had some impact in the beginning because United were ninth in the table when he took over and the team was nothing.
HiT said its ODBC and OLE DB products now offer full compatibility with Microsoft Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008, enabling developers and programmers to capitalise on Microsoft's features for data scalability and application development, making them available to IBM DB2 v.9 systems.
Joshua Shene, the place-kicker for Ole Miss, boomed three field goals in the game Oct.
Ferdinand, who captained the side on the final day of the domestic season when they retained their Premier League title, said: "Ole is a fantastic ambassador for football, not just Manchester United.