Category Archives for "VBA"

Intro to VBA: Macros Explained in the Kitchen (Part 1 of 3)

What is VBA?

Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the programming language we use when writing macros in Excel (and other Office programs). It allows us to program Excel so we can save time with boring repetitive tasks, and focus on the fun stuff. We can use VBA for everything from automating a simple task to developing robust applications and add-ins.

What Does VBA Code Mean - Confused

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Do You Use VBA?

As I mentioned in the newsletter, my long awaited VBA Pro Course is coming soon. This is an online video course that will help you learn how to automate Excel. It will cover everything from writing simple macros to developing apps and add-ins.

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How to Install an Excel Add-in – Guide

What’s an Excel Add-in File?

An add-in file is an Excel file that contains macros (code) and has the extension “.xla” or “.xlam” (2007 and later). 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.


Here is a video that walks through how to install the add-in.

Please see my video below on how to add the add-in’s folder location to the Trusted Locations list.  This is now a critical step due to a July 2016 Office Security update.

Installing the add-in is pretty easy, and should only take a few minutes.

  1. Save the add-in file to your computer.
    – Pick any folder on your hard drive that is easy for you to find.
    – My suggestion is to create a folder named “Excel Campus” and place it in your Documents folder.
  2. Open Excel and go to the Options Menu.
    – This varies depending on your version of excel.
    – 2007 – Office Button > Excel Options
    – 2010 & 2013 – File > OptionsExcel Options Menus 2007 2010 2013 2016
  3. Click the “Add-Ins” option on the left-side menu, and then click the “Go…” button.
    – You may have to wait a few seconds for the window to appear.Excel Options Add-Ins Menu
  4. Click the “Browse…” button on the Add-Ins Menu.Browse for Excel Add-ins
  5. Locate the add-in file you saved in Step 1, and click OK.Select Excel Add-in File
  6. The Add-in will appear in the list and should be enabled, click OK.Enable Excel Add-in
  7. Installation Complete (almost) – The add-in is now installed.  However, there is now an additional step due to an Office Security Update in July 2016. Please see the section below for instructions.

Trust the File Location

Important Note: There is one additional step to this installation due to an Office Security Update released in July 2016.  Here is a video that explains it in more detail.

The folder that the add-in file is saved in needs to be added as a Trusted Location in Excel.  The instructions on how to trust the folder location are below.  I also have an article and video that describes this issue in more detail.

  1. Open the Excel Options menu
    1. File > Options
      Excel Options Menus 2007 2010 2013 2016
  2. Open the Trust Center menu and Add a new location
    1. 1. Trust Center > 2. Trust Center Settings… > 3. Trusted Locations > 4. Add new location.
      Add New Trusted Location Folder in Excel
  3. Browse for the folder that you saved the add-in file in.
    Add Trusted Location Folder
  4. Press OK, the folder should now appear in the Trusted Locations list.
    Trusted Location Added for Documents Folder
  5. Press OK on the Trust Center and Excel Options menu to close the menus.
  6. The add-in is now in a trusted location and the XL Campus tab will appear every time you open Excel.

Unblock the File

Some users still have issues with the add-in’s ribbon disappearing after trusting the folder location.  If this happens to you, you will need to Unblock the file by changing a file property.

  1. Locate the Add-in file (.xla, .xlam) in Windows Explorer.
  2. Right-click the file and select Properties.
  3. At the bottom of the General tab you should see a Security section.  Check the box that says Unblock.
    Security Unblock Property for Excel Add-in - Ribbon Disappears
  4. Press the OK button.
  5. Close Excel completely and re-open it.  The add-in should now load and any custom ribbons will appear.

You will only need to do this unblock one time.  However, if you download an updated version of the file then you will have to repeat the steps above to unblock it.

Hopefully these additional security steps will be fixed in a future update to Office.  If you completed all the steps above then you should see the add-ins ribbon tab load every time you open Excel.

Download PDF

Installing An Excel Add-in - Guide (672.2 KB)


Paste Buddy – Create custom keyboard shortcuts for the paste special commands like paste values.

Formatting Shortcuts Add-in – Keyboard shortcuts to change font & fill color and cell styles.

More Add-ins


Zoom on Excel Charts

When you have a dashboard with small panel charts it is nice to be able to zoom in on the charts to see the trends better.  The ‘Zoom_Chart’ macro included in the workbook allows you to add a zoom button (shape) over the top left corner of the chart to zoom in on the chart.  It’s available for free download below.  The macro actually resizes the chart to enlarge it, then returns it to it’s original size when the zoom button is pressed again.  See the animated screen capture below.

Zoom on Excel Charts

Zoom on Excel Charts with VBA Macro

You can control the zoom amount by changing the percentage values for Zoom Width and Zoom Height in cells P5:P6 on the worksheet.  These can also be hardcoded in the code if you don’t want the user to change the size of the zoom.

Video Overview & Basic Tutorial


The video above contains a detailed tutorial on how to add the zoom buttons to your own workbook.  It’s really a matter of copying and pasting the macro (VBA code) and buttons into your workbook, and then assigning the macro to the buttons.  You should still be able to implement this even if you aren’t familiar with VBA or macros.  It is important to line up the buttons on the chart correctly and give each button a unique name.  So it’s best to watch the video to make sure you don’t miss anything.  The steps covered in the video are listed below.

The zoom feature works really well with dashboards and reports where your screen area is limited.  If you would like to learn more about charting and dashboards I highly recommend the dashboard course from My Online Training Hub.  Checkout my full video review of the course and learn how to become an Excel Superhero! 🙂

Installation Guide

  1. Open the Zoom on Charts workbook and your workbook.
  2. Open the VBA Editor and drag & drop the code module into your workbook.
  3. Save your file as a macro enabled workbook.
  4. Copy the zoom button into your workbook.
  5. Place the zoom button on the top left corner of a chart.
  6. Assign the macro to the button.
  7. Change the zoom references in the code.
  8. Duplicate the zoom button.
  9. Give the button a unique name.


The VBA can be further enhanced to add data labels, legends, axis labels, and any additional chart components when the zoom in button is pressed.  Please leave a comment with some of the enhancements you made, or would like to see.



Zoom on Excel Charts.xls (82.9 KB)

Zoom on Excel Charts - Bottom Right.xls (84.5 KB)

Zoom On Excel Charts - Top Right.xls (85.0 KB)

The “Bottom Right” file contains modified code that allows you to place the zoom button in the bottom-right corner of the chart.  The chart zooms from the bottom-right and expands up and to the left.  Zooming from the top-left or bottom-right are the only two options for button placement with this code.

The “Top Right” file contains code that allows you to place the zoom button in the top-right corner of the chart.  This option can cause problems if the chart is too close to column A and tries to expand beyond the left side of the worksheet.  The location of the chart will move and the chart will need to be manually resized and moved back to align with the zoom button.


Please leave a comment below with any questions or modifications you have made.