Why can't GraphPad implement OLE on the Mac?

Last modified January 1, 2009

What is OLE?

OLE stands for Object Linking or Embedding. It is a Windows feature. It lets one program embed (or link) information within another. Prism Windows (since version 3) uses OLE in three ways:

  • Copy a Prism graph or layout, and paste (or paste link) it into Word or PowerPoint (or Excel, but why would you). Later, double click on the graph (layout) in Word or PowerPoint, to edit the embedded or linked Prism file within Prism. Prism also has a Send command that can send an OLE object from Prism to Word or PowerPoint.
  • Embed or link data from Excel into a Prism data table.
  • Embed or link images from other programs on a Prism graph or layout.

OLE requires a delicate interaction between Prism, Windows and another program like Word or PowerPoint. When it works, it is great. This page explains all the problems we know of. 

OLE is for Windows only

OLE does not work on the mac for two reasons:

  • Apple has not created OLE on the Mac, and has not created any similar method for programs to link to each other. 
  • Microsoft has created OLE on the Mac but won't share the necessary details with other software companies. Microsoft uses OLE within their own Mac programs, so you can make a graph in Excel Mac and embed it into Word Mac. However Microsoft has withheld all the information software developers like us would need to hook into it, so we are not able to implement OLE on the mac.  In an email in June 2010, the head of the Mac business unit at Microsoft stated firmly that Microsoft has no plans to provide the details on OLE on the Mac to other software companies. Nothing has changed in the decade since.

Of course, OLE works fine if you run Windows on your Mac

It is possible to run Windows on your Mac using Parallels or Fusion or Bootcamp, and then to run the Windows versions of Office and GraphPad Prism. If you do this, you really are running Windows and OLE works just fine.

Keywords: object linking embedding double click double-click embed link

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