Inserting OLE objects

OLE (activex) is a great technology whereby a WhizFolders topic can show the contents of another type of document and can let you edit it from within WhizFolders. For example, you can put an Excel spreadsheet or a Word document in a topic. In order for this to work, the host application for that type of document must have an OLE server on the system. When you go to insert OLE objects, you would see a list of all kinds of objects you can insert.

Before I continue, some important points: You can either have objects that completely reside in your WhizFolder document or you can just have a link to an external file holding the object. Unless you know that the object is small, I would recommend you to always use a “linked” object. Otherwise, you might slow down WhizFolders considerably. I will explain how you create a linked object in the following discussion.

We will follow an example step by step.

  1. Suppose, you have an excel spreadsheet called “my account.xls” that you want to insert as an OLE object in a topic called “My account.”

  2. First decide whether you want to insert a complete copy of the spreadsheet or just a “linked” object. I always advise a “linked” object unless the object is very small. The advantage is that your xls file stays outside for you to manage or edit separately. At the same time, WhizFolders can always display the latest contents of this file.

  3. There are two ways, you can insert. Just drag and drop this file from Explorer to the Topic editor with Ctrl key pressed. Then the same dialog will appear that appears when you click on the menu “Insert Object” on the editor. So for existing files, it is quicker to use the drag and drop with Ctrl key method and for new objects, it is better to use Insert Object.

  4. On the dialog, select the file you want to insert (unless already filled in the drag and drop method) and select “Create from File.” Check the Link to create a linked object and click OK.

  5. That’s it. You will see that the topic now shows the spreadsheet! To edit the spreadsheet at any time, you just need to double-click on it or select “Microsoft excel spreadsheet Object–Edit” on the right-click menu. This menu changes description based on the object. Very neat!

  6. There is yet another magic up WhizFolders sleeve. If you are using a non-linked object, you can take advantage of in place editing. You can put ON an editor option “Use in place editing of OLE objects” in General Options. If you do that, for editing, the topic editor itself assumes the role of Excel application and starts looking like it with proper toolbars etc. But this feature is not available for Linked objects.

So understand OLE for once and start using it to your advantage. Only remember that you should not put large OLE objects as embedded objects and you will be ok.

Using OLE features

A new feature now offers the option of inserting an embedded object, rather than an external Jumpfile link. This is done by holding down the Ctrl key when dragging and dropping a file name on the topic editor. A dialog appears allowing you to select the OLE object options. I will describe this dialog in another post. But for the following discussion, assume that I selected “Create from file” and “Link” on the dialog. This way the file stays outside, available to others but its contents are shown by WhizFolders topic viewer or editor.

An OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) object is different from a jumpfile link, in that WhizFolder shows the actual content of the file directly within the topic viewing area. For example, when you drag an MS Word file name (e.g., myfile.doc) from the Explorer to a WhizFolders topic area, the default is to insert a link to that file. Now, holding the Ctrl key during the same operation inserts a representation of the actual content of “myfile.doc” directly into the topic. In this situation, you would have only WhizFolders open, and not the file’s application.

WhizFolders can hold an embedded link, such as this, in the topic area, allowing the underlying and actual file to be modified separately. For example, you might place an embedded object into a topic called “This Year’s Budget.” The object refers to an actual Excel spreadsheet called “thisyear.xls.” Using WhizFolders, you would click on the topic, and the viewing area would show the actual numbers in the spreadsheet. On the other hand, you (or someone else) can open Excel separately, without having WhizFolder open, and make changes to the spreadsheet. Those changes will then be automatically reflected in the WhizFolders topic, the next time you view the “This Year’s Budget” topic.

With this feature you can use WhizFolders as a consolidated “viewer” for many types of different files, gathering them together into an organized project. At the same time, you can create, edit, and format, additional topics within WhizFolders itself. One topic might be text you create directly, whereas another topic might contain a jump link to a Web site. Yet another topic might be a link to a file located on your hard drive (or on a network drive), while a different topic might use an embedded object to show an existing graphic, spreadsheet, document, or other file. Any change to the actual file outside of WhizFolders, is then automatically reflected with the updated information the next time you click on the topic within WhizFolders.

On the basis of a note sent by Craig Landes