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

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Jon Acampora

Welcome to Excel Campus! I am excited you are here. My name is Jon and my goal is to help you learn Excel to save time with your job and advance in your career. I've been an avid Excel user and VBA developer for 10+ years. I am also a Microsoft MVP. I try to learn something new everyday, and want to share this knowledge with you to help you improve your skills. When I'm not looking at spreadsheets, I get outdoors and surf. :) more about me

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 19 comments
Alvin Lee Kuiper - September 1, 2018

Hi maybe someone know this , when i have a Addinn, then i have in the menu Add-Inn (i have this in danish) so i don’t have the add-inn name like here “Xl campus” So question is how to get my Add-in name ,in the menu

Ata ul Musawir - August 30, 2018

This was very helpful. Thank you!

Tim Collins - July 9, 2018

I downloaded your guide and opened a new Excel workbook and created an Excel Add-In.
The add-in is enabled and the location of the add-in file is trusted. I also checked to see if the file is blocked, and it is not. I don’t see the add-in on the menu, and when I close the Excel sheet and open a new one, it shows the add-in as active and being opened, but the option still does not appearing on the menu.

This add-in should open a window and ask for the name of the window to focus on, and then send values that represent keystrokes to the other focused application. This add-in was used a few years ago successfully.

    Adalberto Longtin - August 23, 2018

    It’s going to be ending of mine day, but before end I am reading this impressive piece of writing to increase my experience.

    Lorenza Svedine - August 26, 2018

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on meta_keyword. Regards

William End - April 27, 2018

Hi Jon,
I downloaded and installed the shortcuts, but when I try to use it when I hit change is wants to change the cell and doesn’t give me any of the format options. What did I do wrong?

Matt - February 13, 2018

Hi Jon,

I installed the pastebuddy addin and it doesn’t show up in any of my ribbons even though it is checked in the addin manager.

Vishal - January 12, 2018

I download your zip file for Formatting Shortcuts Add-in but it’s shows as that is not a valid file for add in.

please provide your valuable feedback.

Victor Walser - May 31, 2017

Thank you very much and its beautiful page,we liked it.

Tererai Muridzo - November 6, 2016

Hi Jon

Thanks for the add in .We have been looking for a way to summarise our Debtors Information and this has been quite helpful.We have also combined this with vlook up and with your permission can send you so that you can also share with others



    Jon Acampora - November 14, 2016

    Thank you Tererai! I’m happy to hear it helped. Yes, I’d be happy to take a look at your add-in.

Le Vo Phi Vu - June 3, 2016

Sorry, I used Excel on Macbook, how i add-ins your file in excel, i can’t find out excel option.

sayeed - May 23, 2016

how can i install xl campus tool ?

    Jon Acampora - May 29, 2016

    Hi Sayeed,
    All my add-ins are listed on my downloads page. Some are free and some are paid. Check it out and let me know if you have any questions.


sumyat - January 25, 2016


VED - December 29, 2015

Thank u very much for great knowledge & useful tips

Eric - October 30, 2014

how do i get the add-in file am saving in step 1 which is later referred to in step 5?

    Jon Acampora - October 31, 2014

    Hi Eric,
    You will have to download or create an add-in file. I have quite a few add-ins that are available for free download on the following page.


    Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks!


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