Can Chrome Use ActiveX?

By C.D. Crowder

By combining Chrome and Internet Explorer, you can enjoy ActiveX within Chrome.
i James Woodson/Digital Vision/Getty Images

ActiveX controls are commonly used in Internet Explorer to add extra features to Web pages. While Google Chrome doesn't directly support ActiveX controls, you can still use them by incorporating a workaround. Since ActiveX may not work well in every browser and sometimes exposes a computer to security issues, Chrome suggests developers use alternatives to provide a more even user experience among all Chrome users.

Enhance Your Experience

Google Chrome doesn't support ActiveX by default, but Internet Explorer users may enjoy the enhanced functionality these plugins add to Web pages. On Internet Explorer, users are prompted to install and use ActiveX controls when they visit a website that uses them. For instance, a site that incorporates a media player may ask the user to install an ActiveX control to enable the player. Without the control, Chrome users may not see the same features or may be forced to use Internet Explorer for certain sites.

No Need to Open Internet Explorer

Chrome users who prefer the look and feel of their browser can still get the same enhanced experience as Internet Explorer users by installing an IE emulator. This workaround provides access to ActiveX controls by adding the IE rendering engine to Chrome. The workaround, IE Tab, is available as a free add-on in the Chrome Web Store (see Resources). Once installed, Chrome will function much like Internet Explorer. At the time of publication, the add-on is only available for Windows systems.

Other options in the Chrome Web Store include IE Tab Classic and IE Tab Multi. At the time of publication, IE Tab is the most popular option based upon user reviews and downloads.

The Workaround at a Price

The IE Tab add-on lets you use ActiveX controls in Chrome, but you must have Internet Explorer installed on your computer to use it. The add-on uses the version of Internet Explorer you currently have installed to open pages in Chrome. IE Tab basically opens Internet Explorer within Chrome. Since it pulls data from the version of IE you currently have installed, the developers recommend keeping Internet Explorer up to date to ensure the add-on is as secure as possible.

Pick and Choose

You don't have to use the add-on all the time. You can disable it in Chrome at any time by entering “chrome://extensions/” in your browser. Choose the IE Tab add-on and uncheck “Enabled.” You also have control over which Web pages open automatically in IE Tab by using the add-on's Auto URL Filter setting.

IE Tab normally bases emulation on your currently installed version of Internet Explorer. If you want to use a different version, you can change the mode in the Options section of the add-on.