MSDN Library

Automation Programming Reference [Automation]

The Automation Programmer's Reference provides procedural and reference information for Automation.

While Automation (formerly called OLE Automation) runs on other platforms, the focus of this content is on the applications that use the Microsoft Windows 32-bit operating system, the C++ and Microsoft Visual Basic programming languages.

To get the most out of this content, you should be familiar with:

  • The Microsoft Windows 95 and Windows NT programming environments.

  • The OLE protocols that are implemented through dynamic-link libraries (DLLs) and used in conjunction with other Windows-based programs.

  • The Component Object Model (COM).

Overview of Automation

Introduces the basic concepts of Automation and identifies the components.

Exposing ActiveX Objects

Shows how to write and expose programmable objects for use by ActiveX clients, and demonstrates programming techniques with sample code.

Accessing ActiveX Objects

Explains how to write applications and programming tools that access exposed objects

Standard Objects and Naming Guidelines

Lists the standard ActiveX objects that are recommended for most applications, and describes naming conventions for objects

Dispatch Interface and Automation Functions

Describes the interfaces and functions that support access to exposed objects.

Data Types, Structures, and Enumerations

Describes functions that manipulate arrays, strings, and variant types of data within Automation.

Conversion and Manipulation Functions

Describes Automation API functions.

Type Libraries and the Object Description Language

Describes the Microsoft Interface Definition Language (MIDL) compiler and its source file language. MIDL creates type libraries according to the descriptions you provide.

Type Description Interfaces and Functions

Describes the interfaces and functions that allow programs to read and bind to the descriptions of objects in a type library.

Type Building Interfaces and Functions

Describes interfaces and functions that build type libraries.

Error Handling Interfaces

Describes how Automation error handling interfaces define and return error information.

User-Defined Data Types

Describes a new interface, IRecordInfo, that makes it possible to marshal UDTs.

Formatting Routines

Describes Automation formatting functions.

Automation Requirements

Specifies automation programming and run-time requirements.


Contains additional technical details related to Automation.


Defines some of the terms that are useful in understanding Automation.

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