© Roy Cox (2005 - 2020)

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What is an Excel add-in?

An   Excel   add-in   is   a   program   that   adds   additional   feature   to   Excel’s   built-in   functionalities.   The add-in   file   contains   VBA   code   to   expand   Excel’s   built   in   features   and   functions   by   adding   new commands, functions, dialog boxes etc. Excel Add-ins are Excel files usually saved with .xlam or .xla file types. They can be opened for single use, or installed to ensure the features and functionality are always available. COM Add-ins require a full software installation process for the their functionality to be available. Office Download Store Add-ins are purchased and available through the Microsoft Office Add-ins store. Click Insert -> Add-ins -> Store from the Excel Ribbon. COM Add-ins and Office Download Store Add-ins will have their own installation software. Excel Add-ins, however, have a more flexible approach and require a few manual step to ensure the software installs correctly. You can find Excel add-ins online or create your own. Like   the   Personal.xlsb   it   is   the   best   place   to store    any    VBA    code    that    you    use    regularly,    but    is    much    easier    to    share    with    friends    and colleagues. An   Excel   add-in   file   typically   has   the   file   extension   *.xla   or   *.xlam   (since   Excel   2007)   and   can   be loaded   when   Excel   starts   up.   An   addin   is   a   special   type   of   WorkBook   that   is   by   default   hidden, but   any   code   stored   in   it   becomes   available   to   any   other   open   WorkBook. When opened, the worksheets in the file are hidden and the macros are typically accessed through buttons that are added to the toolbar or ribbon. Once installed, an add-in will automatically open every time Excel is opened. This is the type of add-in this article is about.

Installing

the add-in

Installing the add-in is pretty easy, and should only take a few minutes. First, save the add-in file to your computer , pick any folder on your hard drive that is easy for you to find. I would suggest that you create a folder named “My Addins and place it in your Documents folder. I have a folder in a file sharing app, that way I can access it on any computer that I am using. Alternativelyy, you can use the default Add-ins Folder, which can usually be found here: C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\AddIns\. Add-ins can also be shared across a network. Often add-ins are in a zipped file, so unzip it to this folder ready to install. The quickest way to install the add-in is to open the Developer Tab of the Ribbon and in the Add-ins Group click Excel Add-ins to open the add-ins dialog box which lists all add-ins available on the computer and can be used to install new ones. If your custom add-in is visible in the dialog box, click the check box beside it and click OK the addin will now be available. If not you need to install it. 1 . Click on the Browse button. Excel displays a standard file dialog box. 2 . Use the controls in the dialog box to locate and select your custom add-in. 3 . Click on OK. The add-in is loaded and is now listed in the Add-Ins dialog box. 4 . Click on OK to close the Add-Ins dialog box The addin will now be available to use. Note: if you want to de-activate the add-in at any time then open the dialog box and uncheck it. To remove it completely after unchecking it, go to the folder it is in and delete it. The next time you open Excel it will give a warning that it cannot find the add-in and offer to to remove it from the dialog. T here are a few additional steps to the installation due to an Office Security Update released in July 2016. You may need to unblock the addin if it is downloaded from the Internet. 1 . Right click on the add-in file and select Properties from the menu. The Properties dialog will open. 2 . Check the Unblock option 3 . Click OK It is only necessary to unblock the add-in once. If   there   is   not   an   unblock option   you   can   skip   this   step,   as   Windows   has   not   decided   the   file   is   a   security risk. This step was added to increase security for downloaded files. Add-ins   can   be   harmful   to   your computer,   these   files   can   be   used   to   transfer   viruses,   so   only   unblock   files   which   come   from reputable sources. There are other ways to use an addin. You can open the add-in for temporary use in the same way you would open any other Excel file. You can also access the add-ins dialog from the File -> Options->Add-ins, the result is the same as opening from the Developer Tab, but takes longer.
How to Install an Addin

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What is an Excel add-in?

An   Excel   add-in   is   a   program   that   adds   additional   feature   to   Excel’s built-in    functionalities.    The    add-in    file    contains    VBA    code    to    expand Excel’s    built    in    features    and    functions    by    adding    new    commands, functions, dialog boxes etc. Excel Add-ins are Excel files usually saved with .xlam or .xla file types. They can be opened for single use, or installed to ensure the features and functionality are always available. COM Add-ins require a full software installation process for the their functionality to be available. Office Download Store Add-ins are purchased and available through the Microsoft Office Add-ins store. Click Insert -> Add-ins -> Store from the Excel Ribbon. COM Add-ins and Office Download Store Add-ins will have their own installation software. Excel Add-ins, however, have a more flexible approach and require a few manual step to ensure the software installs correctly. You can find Excel add-ins online or create your own. Like    the Personal.xlsb   it   is   the   best   place   to   store   any   VBA   code   that   you   use regularly, but is much easier to share with friends and colleagues. An   Excel   add-in   file   typically   has   the   file   extension   *.xla   or   *.xlam   (since Excel   2007)   and   can   be   loaded   when   Excel   starts   up.   An   addin   is   a special   type   of   WorkBook   that   is   by   default   hidden,   but   any   code   stored in   it   becomes   available   to   any   other   open   WorkBook. When opened, the worksheets in the file are hidden and the macros are typically accessed through buttons that are added to the toolbar or ribbon. Once installed, an add-in will automatically open every time Excel is opened. This is the type of add-in this article is about.

Installing

the add-in

Installing the add-in is pretty easy, and should only take a few minutes. First, save the add-in file to your computer , pick any folder on your hard drive that is easy for you to find. I would suggest that you create a folder named “My Addins and place it in your Documents folder. I have a folder in a file sharing app, that way I can access it on any computer that I am using. Alternativelyy,     you   can   use   the   default   Add-ins   Folder, which can usually be found here: C:\Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\AddIns\. Add-ins can also be shared across a network. Often add-ins are in a zipped file, so unzip it to this folder ready to install. The quickest way to install the add-in is to open the Developer Tab of the Ribbon and in the Add-ins Group click Excel Add-ins to open the add-ins dialog box which lists all add-ins available on the computer and can be used to install new ones. If your custom add-in is visible in the dialog box, click the check box beside it and click OK the addin will now be available. If not you need to install it. 1 . Click on the Browse button. Excel displays a standard file dialog box. 2 . Use the controls in the dialog box to locate and select your custom add-in. 3 . Click on OK. The add-in is loaded and is now listed in the Add-Ins dialog box. 4 . Click on OK to close the Add-Ins dialog box The addin will now be available to use. Note: if you want to de-activate the add-in at any time then open the dialog box and uncheck it. To remove it completely after unchecking it, go to the folder it is in and delete it. The next time you open Excel it will give a warning that it cannot find the add-in and offer to to remove it from the dialog. T here are a few additional steps to the installation due to an Office Security Update released in July 2016. You may need to unblock the addin if it is downloaded from the Internet. 1 . Right click on the add-in file and select Properties from the menu. The Properties dialog will open. 2 . Check the Unblock option 3 . Click OK It is only necessary to unblock the add-in once. If    there    is    not    an unblock   option   you   can   skip   this   step,   as   Windows   has   not   decided   the file is a security risk. This step was added to increase security for downloaded files. Add-ins can   be   harmful   to   your   computer,   these   files   can   be   used   to   transfer viruses, so only unblock files which come from reputable sources. There are other ways to use an addin. You can open the add-in for temporary use in the same way you would open any other Excel file. You can also access the add-ins dialog from the File -> Options->Add- ins, the result is the same as opening from the Developer Tab, but takes longer.
How to Install an Addin

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