Using ActiveX Components in Your Excel Projects

We are at a technology crossroads as year 2007 draws to an end. Microsoft's .NET technologies have reached their stride and are becoming more widespread. Classic Visual Basic (VB 6) applications will be supported throughout the Windows Vista life cycle (five years). This means

Microsoft will guarantee that applications and components (DLLs) created in VB 6 will continue to run in Windows Vista as they did in Windows XI! Not so for the VB 6 IDE (integrated development environment), for which extended support will be retired in April of 2008).

What does this mean for you? If you are currently using any ActiveX components, your applications should work just as they do now. The problem with VB 6 support going away as I see it is that VBA, being a subset of VB, has similar syntax. It's easy enough to create procedures and compile your code in classic VB if you're a VBA programmer.

If you're moving your Microsoft: development tools to Windows Vista, you will not have this option available to you. Given that there are still plenty of ActiveX components available (both free and for pay), and since you can still create your own if you are not moving to Vista right away, we'll take a short look at incorporating them into your Excel projects.

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