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Example: "The Eye Candy plug-in adds extra image filters to Adobe Photoshop."

A plug-in (also "plugin") is software add-on that adds extra features and capabilities to an application. Typically, plug-ins are stored within a subdirectory of the application folder. When the application is opened, the plug-ins are loaded into the program.

Plug-ins are available for a wide variety of programs, including Web browsers, graphic editors, and audio and video applications. Web browser plug-ins often enable specific types of media to be viewed directly in the browser. Plug-ins for graphics, audio, and video applications may add extra editing tools or filters to the program. While some programs include preinstalled plug-ins created by the developer, many plug-ins are developed by third-party companies.

First Published: January 1, 2000
Last Updated: March 4, 2011

Definition from the PC Glossary