When is Microsoft going to add support for controls to Excel Online? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Does Microsoft have plans to support Active X controls in Excel Online, and if so what's the timing on this?

    As per the following Microsoft post, "Controls, such as ActiveX controls and form toolbar controls, prevent a workbook from being viewed in a browser window.":

    This is debilitating for our organization, as we've built thousands of templates which utilize controls - mainly check boxes and drop down boxes as shown below - and rebuilding them to make these templates editable using Excel Online would be an enormous task.

    We can accept the deprecated comments being unsupported, given that they have been replaced by the new comments which are supported, but we can't understand why controls aren't supported as they don't look that hard to program in the web browser...


    Unsupported Controls Example:

    Controls example.

    Sunday, July 7, 2019 11:40 PM

All replies

  • ActiveX controls depend on supporting files being installed on the client computer. Moreover, ActiveX controls work only on Windows, not on other operating systems.

    So I don't think that Microsoft will add support for these controls to the online version.

    Regards, Hans Vogelaar (

    Monday, July 8, 2019 11:09 AM
  • Hello,

    we can't understand why controls aren't supported as they don't look that hard to program in the web browser...

    ActiveX is based on the COM technology which is specific to Windows only. But as you probably know, browsers support other platforms and operating systems where COM doesn't have any sense at all. That's why the technology doesn't have any future on the web.  

    Moreover, by default, Google Chrome and Firefox web browsers do not support ActiveX controls. However, there are workarounds to enable ActiveX controls and get the required functionality based on ActiveX controls. Google Chrome users can download IE Tab extension that acts as Internet Explorer emulator. It helps enable ActiveX controls in Google Chrome as it emulates IE by using the IE rendering engine directly within Chrome.Firefox users can install ff-activex-host plugin to enable ActiveX controls in the browser. This plugin makes it possible to use (host) ActiveX controls in Firefox and provides full access to the hosted control (events, functions, properties).

    profile for Eugene Astafiev at Stack Overflow, Q&A for professional and enthusiast programmers

    Monday, July 8, 2019 11:27 AM
  • Thanks guys, this is quite helpful, but I must admit that I'm still a little confused...

    Firstly, the controls we've always used are Form Controls, not ActiveX Controls - i.e. the controls within the top section of the Developer tab, Controls group, Insert menu, as shown below:

    My understanding is that these controls are sourced from the Microsoft Forms Object Library DLL, as per the References dialog shown below:

    This library is shipped standard with Microsoft Office, so are you saying that form controls added to worksheets using the Windows version of Excel won't work/appear when the parent workbook is opened on Excel for Mac? I find that hard to believe, and will check myself when I next open my MacBook Pro.

    Secondly, while I appreciate that adding web browser support for forms controls may be painful for Microsoft, I struggle to accept that the world's largest and most successful software company in history cannot find a workaround to facilitate the use of form controls within a web browser, even if it is quite messy in a back-end coding sense. All of the form controls are common within most web forms, so I don't believe it would be excessively hard to create a workaround to support them in Excel Online, even if just on the 3 most popular browsers...

    My general feeling is that Microsoft is trying to move away from form controls, which is evidenced by them being moved onto the Developer tab when the ribbon UI was introduced instead of the Insert tab, where I believe they should have been located.

    Anyway, that's just my 2 cents. I really hope someone from Microsoft is listening, as the alternatives to controls are in many cases not as user-friendly or robust.

    Monday, July 8, 2019 11:35 PM

  • You might add your vote to

    Regards, Hans Vogelaar (

    Tuesday, July 9, 2019 8:24 AM