Contextures

Install and Use Excel Add-ins

Install and use Excel add-ins to get extra features and commands in your workbooks

Find Your Add-ins Folder

Usually, Excel add-ins are installed in Excel's default folder for Add-ins. If you prefer to store add-ins in a different folder, go to the Use a Different Folder section.

To find your default Add-ins folder, you can use either of these methods:

Browse for the Addin Folder

To manually locate the default Excel AddIns folder, follow the steps below.

  1. Click the Developer tab on the Excel Ribbon. If it isn't visible, follow the steps here.
  2. Click the Add-Ins command
  3. In the Add-Ins window, select any add-in in the list, and click the Browse button. That will open the Browse window, at the AddIns folder.
  4. Right-click on the path at the top of the Browse window, and click "Copy Address as Text"
  5. Click Cancel, to close the Browse window
  6. Click Cancel, to close the Add-Ins window.
  7. Open Windows Explorer, and paste the copied address into the address bar, then press Enter

How to Use the Excel Addin Folder Path Locator File

  1. Download a copy of my Excel Addin Folder Path Locator file.
  2. Unzip the file, and store it in a folder on your computer (not the Addins folder)
  3. Next, open the file, and enable macros
  4. Go to the AddinsFolder sheet
  5. Click the Show Addins Folder Location button.
  6. In cell B4, the file path will appear. For example, in Windows 10, it might be located here:
       C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\AddIns
  7. Click the Open Addins Folder button
  8. Windows Explorer will open, and will show the contents of the Addins Folder.

NOTE: Close Excel before making any changes to the installed Addins

Excel Addin Folder Path file

How to Install an Excel Add-In

Excel 2007 and Later

To install an add-in, please follow these steps:

  1. In Windows Explorer, open the Microsoft Excel Addins folder on your computer.
    NOTE: If you aren't sure of the location, you can use the Excel Addin Folder Path file to find it.
    If you are using a different folder, see the Use a Different Folder section below.
  2. Unzip the add-in file, if necessary, to extract the add-in file -- it will probably have an xlam extension
  3. Save the add-in file in your Microsoft Addins folder.
    NOTE: You can store the add-in in any folder, but it's easier to install if it's stored in the Addins folder
  4. To allow Excel to open the add-in file automatically, you might need to unblock it. Right click on the add-in file and click Properties
  5. file properties

  6. If the following warning appears, click the Unblock box, to add a check mark -- "This file came from another computer and might be blocked to help protect this computer"
  7. unblock

  8. Click OK
  9. Open the Excel program

In Excel:

  1. On the Ribbon, click the Developer tab (if you don't see that tab, follow the instructions here to show it)
  2. Click the Add-ins button.
  3. In the Add-in dialog box, add a check mark to add-in's name.
    Note: If you do not see the add-in in the list, click the Browse button. Navigate to the folder where you saved the xlam file, and select the add-in file
  4. Click OK, to close the window.
  5. A new tab for the add-in might appear on the Ribbon, or a new command might appear on one of the existing tabs -- check the add-in notes, for help in locating it.
  6. If you don't see a button on the Ribbon, you can add icons to the Quick Access Toolbar, to run the macros.

Use a Different Folder to Store Add-ins

Instead of storing your Excel add-in in the default Micrsoft Excel Addins folder, you can use an other folder on your computer.

To prevent problems, follow these steps to set that folder as a Trusted Location:

  1. In Excel, click the File Tab, and click Options
  2. In the list at the left, click Trust Centre
  3. Click the Trust Center Settings button
  4. In the list at the left, click Trusted Locations
  5. If your folder is not list there, click the Add New Location button
  6. Click the Browse button
  7. Find and select your folder, and click OK
  8. Click OK again, and your folder should appear in the Trusted Location list.
  9. Click OK, twice, to close the windows.

Add-in Custom Tab Not Showing

Due to Microsoft security updates, some Excel add-ins (mine and others) might not load correctly, and their custom tabs don't appear on the Excel Ribbon. Here are a few solutions you can try.

-- Unblock the Add-in File

-- Use a Trusted Location

-- Check the Ribbon

Unblock the Add-in File

This is the most common solution to the missing add-in tab. Follow the steps below, to unblock the file, and it should open correctly.

  1. Close Excel, if it is running
  2. Open Windows Explorer, and open the folder where you stored the add-in file, usually the Microsoft Addins folder.
    NOTE: If you aren't sure of the Addins folder location, you can use the Excel Addin Folder Path file to find it. Then, close Excel again.
  3. To allow Excel to open the add-in file automatically, you might need to unblock it. Right click on the add-in file and click Properties
  4. file properties

  5. If the following warning appears, click the Unblock box, to add a check mark -- "This file came from another computer and might be blocked to help protect this computer"
  6. unblock

  7. Click OK
  8. Then, start Excel, and the custom tab for the add-in should appear on the Excel Ribbon

Use a Trusted Location

If your add-in is not stored in the defaault addins folder, the tabs could be missing because your folder is not a Trusted Location.

Follow the instructions above, that show how to use a different folder as a Trusted Location for your add-in files.

Check the Ribbon

In one case that I've heard of, there was a problem with the Excel Ribbon. Try these steps, if the other solutions don't fix the problem.

  • Right-click on an empty part of the Excel Ribbon, and click Customize the Ribbon
  • In the list at the right, you should only see one tab named Developer
  • If there is a second one, named Developer (Custom), uncheck that tab
  • Then, close the Customize window, and close and restart Excel.

Free Add-ins

I use a few free add-ins that make Excel even better, and asked other people what free add-ins they use, and would recommend.

I compiled a list, starting with my favourites. Maybe you'll see a few that you can download and install, and make working in Excel a bit easier.

Click here to see my list of recommended free add-ins.

Save a File as an Add-in

You can create your own add-ins, by storing macros in a file, then saving it as an add-in:

  1. Record or create one or more macros in the file
  2. On the Excel Ribbon, click the File tab, and click Save As
  3. Click the Browse button, to open the Save As window (stay in the selected folder)
  4. At the bottom, type a File Name
  5. In the Save As Type drop down, select Excel Add-In (*.xlam)
  6. The AddIns folder should be automatically selected
  7. Click Save, then close Excel
  8. To use your add-in file, follow the steps above, to install it

Remove an Add-in

To remove an Excel add-in that you stored in the Addins folder, follow these steps.

A) Open the Add-ins Window

Use one of these methods to open the Add-ins window:

  • If the Developer tab is showing on your Excel Ribbon, click that, then click the Excel Add-ins command.

      Excel Add-ins command

  • OR, click the File tab, then click Options, and click the Add-Ins category.
  • At the bottom of the window, in the Manage drop down list, choose Excel Add-ins, and then click Go

      Manage drop down list

B) Inactivate the Add-in

Next follow these steps to inactivate the add-in:

  • In the Add-Ins available list, click on the add-in that you want to inactivate -- its description will appear below the list. Read that, to make sure that it's the add-in that you want to remove
  • Then, remove the check mark beside the Add-in's name

      Add-ins Available list

  • Next, click OK, to close the Add-ins window.

C) Remove the Add-in

Next follow these steps to remove the add-in file:

  • Close Excel
  • Go to the Addins folder (follow the steps to find it), or the folder where you stored the Excel add-in that you want to remove
  • Delete the add-in file, or move it to a different folder, so it won't open automatically, when Excel starts.
  • Restart Excel, and the add-in will no longer appear.

Related Links

Free Excel Add-ins

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Last updated: July 10, 2021 7:10 PM