Understanding Automation

When you communicate with another application, you may require more functionality than activating it for sending keystrokes. For example, you may want to create and manipulate objects within that application. You can embed an entire Word document in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. Because both Excel and Word support Automation, you can write a VBA procedure in Excel to manipulate Word objects, such as documents or paragraphs.

The applications that support Automation are called Automation servers or Automation objects. The applications that can manipulate a server's objects are referred to as Automation controllers. Some applications can be only a server or a controller, and others can act in both of these roles. All Microsoft Office 2000/2002 applications can act as Automation servers and controllers. The Automation controllers can be all sorts of ActiveX objects installed on your computer. You will learn about these objects in the next chapter.

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