Skip to content
Go to file
Cannot retrieve contributors at this time
786 lines (669 sloc) 35.1 KB

Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) definitions


The Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) property types are used in multiple file formats.

This document is intended as a working document for the OLE definitions. Which should allow existing Open Source forensic tooling to be able to process this file type.

Document information


Joachim Metz <>


This document contains information about the OLE property types




OLE, Object Linking and Embedding


Copyright (c) 2009-2018, Joachim Metz <>.
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the
terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version
published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no
Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included
in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

Revision history

Version Author Date Comments


J.B. Metz

September 2009

Initial version based on earlier notes.


J.B. Metz

July 2011

Additional information.


J.B. Metz

July 2013

Additional information.


J.B. Metz

August 2014

Textual changes.


J.B. Metz

December 2014

Switched to asccidoc format.


J.B. Metz

June 2015

Additional information regarding unknown variant types.


J.B. Metz

January 2018

Additional information regarding VT_DATE.

1. Overview

The Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) property types are used in multiple file formats.

It is known to be used in the following file formats:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer Cache File (MSIECF)

  • OLE Compound File (OLECF)

  • Windows Shortcut (LNK)

  • Windows Serialized Property Store format

Characteristics Description

Byte order


Date and time values

Character strings

ASCII strings are Single Byte Character (SBC) or Multi Byte Character (MBC) string stored with a codepage. Sometimes referred to as ANSI string representation.
Though technically maybe incorrect, this document will use term (extended) ASCII string.
Unicode strings are stored in UTF-16 little-endian without the byte order mark (BOM).

2. Property value types

The OLE defines property (variant) types. These are identified by VT_. In this document the property types are referred to as value types.

Value Identifier Description






NULL like in SQL



Integer 16-bit signed



Integer 32-bit signed



Floating point single precision (32-bit)



Floating point double precision (64-bit)



Currency (64-bit)
The currency is stored as:
32-bit low part
32-bit high part
It contains a scaled integer representation of a decimal number with four digits to the right of the decimal point. For example, a stored value of 327500 represents a currency value of 32.7500.



OLE Automation date (or Floatingtime or Application Time) (64-bit)
The OLE Automation date is a double precision floating point and contains the whole number part represents the number of days since December 30, 1899, and the fractional part represents the fraction of a day since midnight.



Binary string (or OLE automation string)
See section: Binary string property type (VT_BSTR)



IDispatch * (pointer)
Not used



Error value (32-bit)



Boolean (8-bit)
0x00 ⇒ False
0xff ⇒ True (or any value other then 0x00?)



VARIANT * (pointer)
Not used



IUnknown * (pointer)
Not used



Fixed point (128-bit)





Integer 8-bit signed



Integer 8-bit unsigned



Integer 16-bit unsigned



Integer 32-bit unsigned



Integer 64-bit signed



Integer 64-bit unsigned



Integer signed
The size is dependent on architecture, but should be 32-bit in storage



Integer unsigned
The size is dependent on architecture, but should be 32-bit in storage



Void like in the C programming language
Not used



Standard return type
Not used



Pointer type
Not used



Safe array (uses VT_ARRAY in VARIANT) Not used



Array like in the C programming language Not used



User defined type Not used



ASCII string
(extended) ASCII or Single Byte Character (SBC) string with end-of-string character



Unicode string
The string uses UTF-16 little-endian (LE) without the byte order mark (BOM) terminated by a NUL-character


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used



Unknown, contains a BRECORD



A platform specific 4-byte or 8-byte signed integer



A platform specific 4-byte or 8-byte unsigned integer


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used



Windows FILETIME (or System Time) (64-bit)
The FILETIME is stored as:
32-bit low part
32-bit high part
It contains the number of 100ns periods since January 1, 1601



Binary large object
Size (or length) prefixed binary data



Name of the stream follows



Name of the storage follows



Stream contains an object



Storage contains an object



BLOB contains an object



Clipboard format



GUID (or Class identifier) (128-bit)
The GUID is stored as:
Unsigned 32-bit Integer
Unsigned 16-bit Integer
Unsigned 16-bit Integer
8 byte array



Stream with an application specific GUID


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used


Unknown, seen to be used

The 4 MSB of the value type are used as flags:

Value type flags Identifier Description



simple counted array



SAFEARRAY * (pointer)



Void * (pointer)
for local use



Special value types

Value type Identifier Description







3. Property value data

3.1. Binary string property type (VT_BSTR)

Offset Size Value Description



Binary string size



Binary string data




Terminator (or end-of-string character)

3.2. Unicode string property value (VT_LPWSTR)

Offset Size Value Description



String number of characters
Contains the number of bytes



UTF-16 little-endian with end-of-string character

3.3. Clipboard format

Offset Size Value Description



The clipboard data size



Clipboard format tag



The clipboard data

3.3.1. Clipboard format tag

Value Identifier Description



No data



Format identified by a format identifier (FMTID)



Macintosh clipboard format (which Mac versions?)



Windows clipboard format

3.4. Multi value

3.4.1. VT_LPSTR multi-value

Offset Size Value Description



Number of values



Array of value sizes
Each value size is a 32-bit value



Array of value data

3.4.2. VT_VARIANT multi-value

Offset Size Value Description



Number of values



Array of variant values

Where the fixed sized variant values are stored as:

Offset Size Value Description



Property type



Value data
Size depends on the property type

Or for variable sized variant values like VT_LPSTR:

Offset Size Value Description



Property type



Value data size



Value data

4. Notes


A BRECORD is the type used for the representation of UDTs on the wire.

typedef [unique] struct _wireBRECORD* BRECORD;

typedef struct _wireBRECORD {
  ULONG fFlags;
  ULONG clSize;
  MInterfacePointer* pRecInfo;
  [size_is(clSize)] byte* pRecord;
} wireBRECORDStr;

fFlags: MUST be 0 if pRecord is NULL. Otherwise, the value MUST be 1.

clSize: MUST be 0 if pRecord is NULL. Otherwise, the value MUST equal the size
(in bytes) of the UDTs contained in pRecord, plus 4 bytes to account for the
prefix contained in pRecord.

pRecInfo: MUST specify an MInterfacePointer that MUST contain an OBJREF_CUSTOM
with a CLSID field set to CLSID_RecordInfo (1.9) and a pObjectData field that
MUST contain a RecordInfoData binary large object (BLOB) (2.2.31). The iid
field of the OBJREF portion of the structure MUST be set to IID_IRecordInfo
(1.9). An implementation MAY use this value as the IID of a local-only

pRecord: MUST be NULL if there are no UDTs. Otherwise, the value MUST contain
the NDR-marshaled representation of the UDTs, prefixed by a 4-byte unsigned
integer that specifies the size, in bytes. This integer MUST equal the value of

4.2. VT_LPSTR multi value

OLECF vresion 3.63 normal VT_LPSTR multi value:

00995960              1e 10 00 00  4d 00 00 00 06 00 00 00  |    ....M.......|
00995970  41 72 69 61 6c 00 10 00  00 00 54 69 6d 65 73 20  |Arial.....Times |
00995980  4e 65 77 20 52 6f 6d 61  6e 00 0a 00 00 00 57 69  |New Roman.....Wi|
00995990  6e 67 64 69 6e 67 73 00  0d 00 00 00 42 6f 6f 6b  |ngdings.....Book|
009959a0  20 41 6e 74 69 71 75 61  00 08 00 00 00 56 65 72  | Antiqua.....Ver|
009959b0  64 61 6e 61 00                                    |dana.           |

In 3D Studio Max files VT_LPSTR multi value with UTF-16 little-endian strings followed by alignment padding. OLECF version 4.62.

libolecf_property_value_read_data: property value type                  : 0x0000101e
libolecf_property_value_read_data: number of values data:
00000000: 7a 00 00 00                                        z...

libolecf_property_value_read_data: number of values                     : 122

002501d0                                       2e 00 00 00  |            ....|
002501e0  33 00 64 00 73 00 20 00  4d 00 61 00 78 00 20 00  |3.d.s. .M.a.x. .|
002501f0  56 00 65 00 72 00 73 00  69 00 6f 00 6e 00 3a 00  |V.e.r.s.i.o.n.:.|
00250200  20 00 31 00 34 00 2e 00  30 00 30 00 00 00 00 00  | .1.4...0.0.....|

00250210  1a 00 00 00 55 00 6e 00  63 00 6f 00 6d 00 70 00  |....U.n.c.o.m.p.|
00250220  72 00 65 00 73 00 73 00  65 00 64 00 00 00 00 00  |r.e.s.s.e.d.....|

Appendix A: References


Title: Apache POI project



Title: Microsoft Developer Network



Title: [MS-OLEPS] Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) Property Set Data Structures



August 12, 2009


Title: BSTR Data Type


Appendix B: GNU Free Documentation License

Version 1.3, 3 November 2008 Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007, 2008 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.


The purpose of this License is to make a manual, textbook, or other functional and useful document "free" in the sense of freedom: to assure everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without modifying it, either commercially or noncommercially. Secondarily, this License preserves for the author and publisher a way to get credit for their work, while not being considered responsible for modifications made by others.

This License is a kind of "copyleft", which means that derivative works of the document must themselves be free in the same sense. It complements the GNU General Public License, which is a copyleft license designed for free software.

We have designed this License in order to use it for manuals for free software, because free software needs free documentation: a free program should come with manuals providing the same freedoms that the software does. But this License is not limited to software manuals; it can be used for any textual work, regardless of subject matter or whether it is published as a printed book. We recommend this License principally for works whose purpose is instruction or reference.


This License applies to any manual or other work, in any medium, that contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it can be distributed under the terms of this License. Such a notice grants a world-wide, royalty-free license, unlimited in duration, to use that work under the conditions stated herein. The "Document", below, refers to any such manual or work. Any member of the public is a licensee, and is addressed as "you". You accept the license if you copy, modify or distribute the work in a way requiring permission under copyright law.

A "Modified Version" of the Document means any work containing the Document or a portion of it, either copied verbatim, or with modifications and/or translated into another language.

A "Secondary Section" is a named appendix or a front-matter section of the Document that deals exclusively with the relationship of the publishers or authors of the Document to the Document’s overall subject (or to related matters) and contains nothing that could fall directly within that overall subject. (Thus, if the Document is in part a textbook of mathematics, a Secondary Section may not explain any mathematics.) The relationship could be a matter of historical connection with the subject or with related matters, or of legal, commercial, philosophical, ethical or political position regarding them.

The "Invariant Sections" are certain Secondary Sections whose titles are designated, as being those of Invariant Sections, in the notice that says that the Document is released under this License. If a section does not fit the above definition of Secondary then it is not allowed to be designated as Invariant. The Document may contain zero Invariant Sections. If the Document does not identify any Invariant Sections then there are none.

The "Cover Texts" are certain short passages of text that are listed, as Front-Cover Texts or Back-Cover Texts, in the notice that says that the Document is released under this License. A Front-Cover Text may be at most 5 words, and a Back-Cover Text may be at most 25 words.

A "Transparent" copy of the Document means a machine-readable copy, represented in a format whose specification is available to the general public, that is suitable for revising the document straightforwardly with generic text editors or (for images composed of pixels) generic paint programs or (for drawings) some widely available drawing editor, and that is suitable for input to text formatters or for automatic translation to a variety of formats suitable for input to text formatters. A copy made in an otherwise Transparent file format whose markup, or absence of markup, has been arranged to thwart or discourage subsequent modification by readers is not Transparent. An image format is not Transparent if used for any substantial amount of text. A copy that is not "Transparent" is called "Opaque".

Examples of suitable formats for Transparent copies include plain ASCII without markup, Texinfo input format, LaTeX input format, SGML or XML using a publicly available DTD, and standard-conforming simple HTML, PostScript or PDF designed for human modification. Examples of transparent image formats include PNG, XCF and JPG. Opaque formats include proprietary formats that can be read and edited only by proprietary word processors, SGML or XML for which the DTD and/or processing tools are not generally available, and the machine-generated HTML, PostScript or PDF produced by some word processors for output purposes only.

The "Title Page" means, for a printed book, the title page itself, plus such following pages as are needed to hold, legibly, the material this License requires to appear in the title page. For works in formats which do not have any title page as such, "Title Page" means the text near the most prominent appearance of the work’s title, preceding the beginning of the body of the text.

The "publisher" means any person or entity that distributes copies of the Document to the public.

A section "Entitled XYZ" means a named subunit of the Document whose title either is precisely XYZ or contains XYZ in parentheses following text that translates XYZ in another language. (Here XYZ stands for a specific section name mentioned below, such as "Acknowledgements", "Dedications", "Endorsements", or "History".) To "Preserve the Title" of such a section when you modify the Document means that it remains a section "Entitled XYZ" according to this definition.

The Document may include Warranty Disclaimers next to the notice which states that this License applies to the Document. These Warranty Disclaimers are considered to be included by reference in this License, but only as regards disclaiming warranties: any other implication that these Warranty Disclaimers may have is void and has no effect on the meaning of this License.


You may copy and distribute the Document in any medium, either commercially or noncommercially, provided that this License, the copyright notices, and the license notice saying this License applies to the Document are reproduced in all copies, and that you add no other conditions whatsoever to those of this License. You may not use technical measures to obstruct or control the reading or further copying of the copies you make or distribute. However, you may accept compensation in exchange for copies. If you distribute a large enough number of copies you must also follow the conditions in section 3.

You may also lend copies, under the same conditions stated above, and you may publicly display copies.


If you publish printed copies (or copies in media that commonly have printed covers) of the Document, numbering more than 100, and the Document’s license notice requires Cover Texts, you must enclose the copies in covers that carry, clearly and legibly, all these Cover Texts: Front-Cover Texts on the front cover, and Back-Cover Texts on the back cover. Both covers must also clearly and legibly identify you as the publisher of these copies. The front cover must present the full title with all words of the title equally prominent and visible. You may add other material on the covers in addition. Copying with changes limited to the covers, as long as they preserve the title of the Document and satisfy these conditions, can be treated as verbatim copying in other respects.

If the required texts for either cover are too voluminous to fit legibly, you should put the first ones listed (as many as fit reasonably) on the actual cover, and continue the rest onto adjacent pages.

If you publish or distribute Opaque copies of the Document numbering more than 100, you must either include a machine-readable Transparent copy along with each Opaque copy, or state in or with each Opaque copy a computer-network location from which the general network-using public has access to download using public-standard network protocols a complete Transparent copy of the Document, free of added material. If you use the latter option, you must take reasonably prudent steps, when you begin distribution of Opaque copies in quantity, to ensure that this Transparent copy will remain thus accessible at the stated location until at least one year after the last time you distribute an Opaque copy (directly or through your agents or retailers) of that edition to the public.

It is requested, but not required, that you contact the authors of the Document well before redistributing any large number of copies, to give them a chance to provide you with an updated version of the Document.


You may copy and distribute a Modified Version of the Document under the conditions of sections 2 and 3 above, provided that you release the Modified Version under precisely this License, with the Modified Version filling the role of the Document, thus licensing distribution and modification of the Modified Version to whoever possesses a copy of it. In addition, you must do these things in the Modified Version:

  1. Use in the Title Page (and on the covers, if any) a title distinct from that of the Document, and from those of previous versions (which should, if there were any, be listed in the History section of the Document). You may use the same title as a previous version if the original publisher of that version gives permission.

  2. List on the Title Page, as authors, one or more persons or entities responsible for authorship of the modifications in the Modified Version, together with at least five of the principal authors of the Document (all of its principal authors, if it has fewer than five), unless they release you from this requirement.

  3. State on the Title page the name of the publisher of the Modified Version, as the publisher.

  4. Preserve all the copyright notices of the Document.

  5. Add an appropriate copyright notice for your modifications adjacent to the other copyright notices.

  6. Include, immediately after the copyright notices, a license notice giving the public permission to use the Modified Version under the terms of this License, in the form shown in the Addendum below.

  7. Preserve in that license notice the full lists of Invariant Sections and required Cover Texts given in the Document’s license notice.

  8. Include an unaltered copy of this License.

  9. Preserve the section Entitled "History", Preserve its Title, and add to it an item stating at least the title, year, new authors, and publisher of the Modified Version as given on the Title Page. If there is no section Entitled "History" in the Document, create one stating the title, year, authors, and publisher of the Document as given on its Title Page, then add an item describing the Modified Version as stated in the previous sentence.

  10. Preserve the network location, if any, given in the Document for public access to a Transparent copy of the Document, and likewise the network locations given in the Document for previous versions it was based on. These may be placed in the "History" section. You may omit a network location for a work that was published at least four years before the Document itself, or if the original publisher of the version it refers to gives permission.

  11. For any section Entitled "Acknowledgements" or "Dedications", Preserve the Title of the section, and preserve in the section all the substance and tone of each of the contributor acknowledgements and/or dedications given therein.

  12. Preserve all the Invariant Sections of the Document, unaltered in their text and in their titles. Section numbers or the equivalent are not considered part of the section titles.

  13. Delete any section Entitled "Endorsements". Such a section may not be included in the Modified Version.

  14. Do not retitle any existing section to be Entitled "Endorsements" or to conflict in title with any Invariant Section.

  15. Preserve any Warranty Disclaimers.

If the Modified Version includes new front-matter sections or appendices that qualify as Secondary Sections and contain no material copied from the Document, you may at your option designate some or all of these sections as invariant. To do this, add their titles to the list of Invariant Sections in the Modified Version’s license notice. These titles must be distinct from any other section titles.

You may add a section Entitled "Endorsements", provided it contains nothing but endorsements of your Modified Version by various parties—for example, statements of peer review or that the text has been approved by an organization as the authoritative definition of a standard.

You may add a passage of up to five words as a Front-Cover Text, and a passage of up to 25 words as a Back-Cover Text, to the end of the list of Cover Texts in the Modified Version. Only one passage of Front-Cover Text and one of Back-Cover Text may be added by (or through arrangements made by) any one entity. If the Document already includes a cover text for the same cover, previously added by you or by arrangement made by the same entity you are acting on behalf of, you may not add another; but you may replace the old one, on explicit permission from the previous publisher that added the old one.

The author(s) and publisher(s) of the Document do not by this License give permission to use their names for publicity for or to assert or imply endorsement of any Modified Version.


You may combine the Document with other documents released under this License, under the terms defined in section 4 above for modified versions, provided that you include in the combination all of the Invariant Sections of all of the original documents, unmodified, and list them all as Invariant Sections of your combined work in its license notice, and that you preserve all their Warranty Disclaimers.

The combined work need only contain one copy of this License, and multiple identical Invariant Sections may be replaced with a single copy. If there are multiple Invariant Sections with the same name but different contents, make the title of each such section unique by adding at the end of it, in parentheses, the name of the original author or publisher of that section if known, or else a unique number. Make the same adjustment to the section titles in the list of Invariant Sections in the license notice of the combined work.

In the combination, you must combine any sections Entitled "History" in the various original documents, forming one section Entitled "History"; likewise combine any sections Entitled "Acknowledgements", and any sections Entitled "Dedications". You must delete all sections Entitled "Endorsements".


You may make a collection consisting of the Document and other documents released under this License, and replace the individual copies of this License in the various documents with a single copy that is included in the collection, provided that you follow the rules of this License for verbatim copying of each of the documents in all other respects.

You may extract a single document from such a collection, and distribute it individually under this License, provided you insert a copy of this License into the extracted document, and follow this License in all other respects regarding verbatim copying of that document.


A compilation of the Document or its derivatives with other separate and independent documents or works, in or on a volume of a storage or distribution medium, is called an "aggregate" if the copyright resulting from the compilation is not used to limit the legal rights of the compilation’s users beyond what the individual works permit. When the Document is included in an aggregate, this License does not apply to the other works in the aggregate which are not themselves derivative works of the Document.

If the Cover Text requirement of section 3 is applicable to these copies of the Document, then if the Document is less than one half of the entire aggregate, the Document’s Cover Texts may be placed on covers that bracket the Document within the aggregate, or the electronic equivalent of covers if the Document is in electronic form. Otherwise they must appear on printed covers that bracket the whole aggregate.


Translation is considered a kind of modification, so you may distribute translations of the Document under the terms of section 4. Replacing Invariant Sections with translations requires special permission from their copyright holders, but you may include translations of some or all Invariant Sections in addition to the original versions of these Invariant Sections. You may include a translation of this License, and all the license notices in the Document, and any Warranty Disclaimers, provided that you also include the original English version of this License and the original versions of those notices and disclaimers. In case of a disagreement between the translation and the original version of this License or a notice or disclaimer, the original version will prevail.

If a section in the Document is Entitled "Acknowledgements", "Dedications", or "History", the requirement (section 4) to Preserve its Title (section 1) will typically require changing the actual title.


You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Document except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute it is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License.

However, if you cease all violation of this License, then your license from a particular copyright holder is reinstated (a) provisionally, unless and until the copyright holder explicitly and finally terminates your license, and (b) permanently, if the copyright holder fails to notify you of the violation by some reasonable means prior to 60 days after the cessation.

Moreover, your license from a particular copyright holder is reinstated permanently if the copyright holder notifies you of the violation by some reasonable means, this is the first time you have received notice of violation of this License (for any work) from that copyright holder, and you cure the violation prior to 30 days after your receipt of the notice.

Termination of your rights under this section does not terminate the licenses of parties who have received copies or rights from you under this License. If your rights have been terminated and not permanently reinstated, receipt of a copy of some or all of the same material does not give you any rights to use it.


The Free Software Foundation may publish new, revised versions of the GNU Free Documentation License from time to time. Such new versions will be similar in spirit to the present version, but may differ in detail to address new problems or concerns. See

Each version of the License is given a distinguishing version number. If the Document specifies that a particular numbered version of this License "or any later version" applies to it, you have the option of following the terms and conditions either of that specified version or of any later version that has been published (not as a draft) by the Free Software Foundation. If the Document does not specify a version number of this License, you may choose any version ever published (not as a draft) by the Free Software Foundation. If the Document specifies that a proxy can decide which future versions of this License can be used, that proxy’s public statement of acceptance of a version permanently authorizes you to choose that version for the Document.


"Massive Multiauthor Collaboration Site" (or "MMC Site") means any World Wide Web server that publishes copyrightable works and also provides prominent facilities for anybody to edit those works. A public wiki that anybody can edit is an example of such a server. A "Massive Multiauthor Collaboration" (or "MMC") contained in the site means any set of copyrightable works thus published on the MMC site.

"CC-BY-SA" means the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license published by Creative Commons Corporation, a not-for-profit corporation with a principal place of business in San Francisco, California, as well as future copyleft versions of that license published by that same organization.

"Incorporate" means to publish or republish a Document, in whole or in part, as part of another Document.

An MMC is "eligible for relicensing" if it is licensed under this License, and if all works that were first published under this License somewhere other than this MMC, and subsequently incorporated in whole or in part into the MMC, (1) had no cover texts or invariant sections, and (2) were thus incorporated prior to November 1, 2008.

The operator of an MMC Site may republish an MMC contained in the site under CC-BY-SA on the same site at any time before August 1, 2009, provided the MMC is eligible for relicensing.

You can’t perform that action at this time.