Stands for “Object Linking and Embedding.” It can be pronounced as “O-L-E,” or “Oh-lay!” if you are feeling Spanish. OLE is a framework developed by Microsoft (way back in Windows 3.1) that allows you to take objects from a document in one application and place them in another. For example, OLE may allow you to move an image from a photo-editing program into a word processing document.
The OLE technology was initially created to allow the linking of objects between “compound documents,” or documents that support multiple types of data. Microsoft has since developed OLE into a wider standard, known as the Component Object Model (COM). COM is supported by Mac, Unix, and Windows systems, but is primarily used with Microsoft Windows. The COM framework is the foundation of ActiveX, which allows developers to create interactive content for the Web.