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1.0.3 • Public • Published

Also available via npm.

Event handler management

There are a number of mechanisms for handling ActiveX events in Javascript; however, they all require that:

  • the variable must be initialized before the function declaration is evaluated. This is harder than it seems, because of function declaration hoisting; and requires doing one of the following:
    • wrap the function declaration within an IIFE (this works because function declarations are only hoisted to the function scope),
    • some form of string-to-code evaluation -- eval, setTimeout, window.execScript, new Function, or
    • wrap the function within a SCRIPT block, while the initialization happens before the SCRIPT block (either in another SCRIPT block, or by setting the id of a previous element); this also implies that the id/variable must be available to the global scope.
  • the function must have a special name -- depending on the environment and event handling mechanism, either variable.eventName, variable::eventName, or variable_eventName
  • the function must be a function declaration, not a function expression
  • the parameters of the function must exactly match those defined in the ActiveX event
var wdApp = new ActiveXObject('Word.Application');

//using eval
eval('function wdApp::Quit() {window.alert(\'Application quit\');}');

//using an IIFE
(function() {
  function wdApp::Quit() {
    window.alert('Application quit');

This library enables the following:

(function() {
  var wdApp = new ActiveXObject('Word.Application');
  //using a function expression, without a special name
  ActiveXObject.on(wdApp, 'Quit', function() {
    window.alert('Application quit');
    //`this` binding

  //when the event is defined as passing parameters, the parameters are wrapped into a single object
  //the object is passed into the final event handler
  //AFAIK there is no way to determine the parameters at runtime, so the names must be passed in at registration
  ActiveXObject.on(wdApp, 'DocumentBeforeSave', ['Doc','SaveAsUI','Cancel'], function (params) {
    //changes to the `params` object are propagated back to the internal handler
    params.SaveAsUI = false;
    params.Cancel = !window.confirm("Do you really want to save?");   

Property setter

Property getters and setters without parameters are represented as Javascript simple read/write properties. However, while getters with paraneters are represented as methods, setters with parameters are represented as assignment to methods.

var dict = new ActiveXObject('Scripting.Dictionary');

//setter with parameters
dict.Item('a') = 1;

This is non-standard Javascript. The library enables calling setters with parameters in a standard Javascript-compliant fashion:

ActiveXObject.set(dict, 'Item', ['a'], 1);


This library relies on a number of ES5 array methods. The necessary shims are available in shims.js, in the absence of another shim library.



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