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Excel Add-in Ribbon Disappears After Installation

Bottom line: A recent Microsoft Office security update has caused add-in Ribbon Menu Bars to disappear when Excel is opened.  This article contains a few solutions for this issue.

Excel Add-in Ribbon Disappeared - Windows Security Update Unblock

Why Did My Add-in’s Ribbon Menu Disappear?

Microsoft released an Office Update in July 2016 that is causing this issue with installed add-in Ribbons disappearing.  The security update is blocking files that have been downloaded from the internet.

Files downloaded from the internet now have a Security property that is automatically set to Block.  When you open regular Excel files (.xlsx or .xlsm), you will get a security prompt asking you if the file is safe.

However, there is no security prompt for add-in files (.xla, .xlam).  That means there is nothing to tell you why the add-in Ribbon disappeared.

So if you have downloaded an Excel Campus add-in recently, or an add-in from another site, then you might not be seeing the custom Ribbon menu after open Excel.  Argh!!! 😡

The following video explains how to prevent this from happening, so we can turn that frown upside down and get on with being productive. 🙂

Video: How to Fix the Disappearing Add-in Ribbon

Best Solution: Store the Add-in in a Trusted Location

The best solution to this problem is to store the add-in file in a Trusted Location.  A Trusted Location is a folder on your hard drive or server that has been added to the Trusted Locations list in Excel.

You can either move the add-in file to a trusted location, or add the add-in file’s location to the list of trusted locations.  Here are instructions for both options.

Add the Add-in File’s Folder as a Trusted Location

I like to store my add-ins in a folder within my Documents folder.  This makes it easier to find the files and keep them organized.

If you have downloaded any of the Excel Campus add-ins and followed my installation instructions, then you probably have an Excel Campus or Add-ins folder in your Documents folder.  You can add this folder to the trusted locations list.

Here are the instructions on how to add a folder to the Trusted Locations list in Excel:

  1. Open the Trusted Locations menu. File>Options>Trust Center>Trust Center Settings>Trusted Locations
    Add New Trusted Location Folder in Excel
  2. Press the Add new location… button.
  3. Click the Browse… button.
  4. Navigate to the folder that contains your add-in files and press OK.
  5. If your add-ins are organized in subfolders then click the “Subfolders of this location are also trusted” checkbox.
  6. Press OK, then press OK again on the Trust Center Window.
  7. Close and re-open Excel.

The add-in and custom ribbon should now load every time your open Excel.  You only need to do this process one time.

The Default AddIns Folder Needs to be Trusted

The following path is the default location where add-ins are stored on the computer:

  • C:\Users\your_username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\AddIns

If you store add-ins in this default AddIns folder then you will need to add it to the Trusted Locations list.  For most users, it is not trusted by default.

Additional Solution: Unblock the Add-in File

Some users have reported that adding the folder to the Trusted Loactions list still does not solve the problem.  If this is the case you will also need to Unblock the file.  This is an additional property that was added with the Office Security Update for all files downloaded from the internet.

Here are instructions on how to Unblock the file.

  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.  Therefore it is probably best to add the add-in file to the Trusted Locations list in Excel.

Custom UI Ribbon Blocking – Office Group Policy

If you’ve tried all the steps above and still don’t see the XL Campus tab appear then it could be group level policy setting for Office.  This is something that will be controlled or set by your IT department.  Sometimes they don’t even know this setting has been applied, so go easy on them. 🙂

Here is an article that explains how to change the Group Policy setting.

Still Don’t See the Add-in or Ribbon

I hope that helps get your add-in Ribbon back.  If you still don’t see the Add-in, it might be disabled.  Checkout my video on how to re-enable an add-in that is missing for more info.

Please leave a comment below with any questions.  Thanks!

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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 45 comments
Jannie Fernandez - September 5, 2018

Do you have instructions for Mac version? When I open Excel and then clck on File, the dropdown menu does not have “options” on the list of actions.

Reply
Michael - April 3, 2018

Hello, i tried every solutions proposed. But it shows error that : no libraries were found. Yet, I’m sure the library is in the same folder. What should i do?

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Charles Boschen - March 28, 2018

Jon: I just switched from Excel 2011 to Excel 2016.11.1 and I have installed List Search. The problem is when the box comes up the graphic is truncated such that I can only see a small portion of the sort down icon. I cannot change the box size to access the copy function. I use list search a lot and find it very helpful. How can I change the graphic size to include all of the functions available?

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AlyM - March 15, 2018

I used this tip for no longer developed add-in that helps us find hidden characters for use in a dat files. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! <3

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Pijush - February 9, 2018

Hi I am trying to add DeltaV Reporter in excel ,we actually configured through trust center but its not DeltaV Add in is not showing in the excel ribbon. Please suggest

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ajit - October 4, 2017

thanks

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Lessye - September 18, 2017

Thank you! I have been trying to figure out how to use this add-in for weeks!

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Matthew O'Donnell - August 18, 2017

I had to unblock the file, but this worked. Thank you so much.

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Anil - July 31, 2017

Hi,

Data Analysis Pack unable to visible in excel Menu. When it is activated for the first is visible, but after few days its disappear. How could I get the data analysis.

Regards,
Anil

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Dimple Mehta - July 26, 2017

Very helpful suggestion. Thanks! Appreciate all the help 🙂

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K - June 21, 2017

Thank you Jon! I tried adding the network folder to trusted locations, but the security settings blocked me. Any suggestions which security settings i need to fix?

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Divisha - June 16, 2017

Thanks Jon. This was driving me absolutely nuts.

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Zach and Kamil - February 6, 2017

Hi, my friend and I are trying to enable Analysis Toolpak, but the Excel Add-Ins choice does not show up in the Manage drop down box. Anyway to add the excel add-ins option so that we can enable Analysis Toolkpak? We need it for class!

Thanks

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    Jon Acampora - February 15, 2017

    Add-ins might be blocked by your organization if you do not see the option in that menu. You might want to check with your IT department.

    Reply
      zach and kamil - February 15, 2017

      This is a personal computer though. What do you mean IT department

      Reply
Angelica - January 13, 2017

Thank you!! I needed Megastat for my statistics class, and I could not get it to stay on my ribbon in Excel- this fixed my problem!

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    Jon Acampora - January 20, 2017

    Awesome! Thanks for letting me know Angelica! 🙂

    Reply
    Gabriel - January 24, 2017

    I’m using megastat for my class as well and I tried both of these steps but it is still not showing up after I close…any tips?

    Reply
Jason Webber - January 4, 2017

Thanks Jon

The “Additional Solution: Unblock the Add-in File” worked for me!

Jason

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    Jon Acampora - January 5, 2017

    Awesome! Thanks for letting me know Jason. It seems that a lot of people have to take that extra step now.

    Reply
Paul J - December 19, 2016

My XL Campus ribbon disappeared after I installed the add-in per your instructions. I made sure I had put the folder into the trusted locations list and that I had unblocked the xlam file. The ribbon was still missing. So I disabled and re-enabled the add-in. Then the ribbon appeared.

Thanks for the add-in. It is just what I need.

Reply
    Jon Acampora - December 20, 2016

    Hi Paul,

    I’m sorry to hear you are still having issues with this. It sounds like you got it working. I have heard that storing the add-in file on a network or cloud drive can also cause the issue. So if you are storing it there, it might be best to move the file to your hard drive.

    Thanks again!

    Reply
Charles - November 5, 2016

Hi,

I tried the fix and the add-in tab still does not appear. More precisely, I unblocked the security feature and added it to a trusted location. I recently had to have the Office 365 reinstalled because I was not getting updates which is why, I guess that the Add-in tab was still working. It is not now. It is a statistics add-in called Muultibase.
Any help appreciated!

Charles

Reply
    Jon Acampora - November 14, 2016

    Hi Charles,
    I’m sorry to hear you are still having trouble with this. I believe Microsoft is looking into fixing the issue. Those are the only two fixes I know of at this time.

    Reply
david lewin - October 28, 2016

Thanks for a great service!

I tried downloading your EC chart alignment add-in. But I did not get an XLCampus tab when I opened Excel. I made the file location a trusted source and checked for disabled add-ins. But there were none. What should I do next?

All the best

David

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    Jon Acampora - November 1, 2016

    Hi David,
    The Chart Alignment button will appear on the Format tab of the Ribbon when a chart is selected. The XL Campus tab does not appear for Chart Alignment. I hope that helps.

    Reply
Jim - October 28, 2016

The latest instalment in the saga of my love/hate relationship with Microsoft. I love how productive you can be with some of the software and hate it when everything comes to a grinding halt because of some undocumented “feature” they sneak in unannounced. Oh, the hours wasted getting Windows 10 and office 13 stable – not sure the improvements were worth all the pain…

Anyway, thanks for the info – resolved all the current issues.

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    Jon Acampora - November 1, 2016

    Thanks Jim. I know this update has cause pain and frustration for a lot of users.

    Reply
imranali - October 11, 2016

Thank you sir for this video

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Paddy - September 25, 2016

Jon, many thanks! That’s a great help – I was tearing my hair out trying to figure out what was going on.

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    Jon Acampora - September 27, 2016

    Happy to hear it helped. 🙂 This is definitely a frustrating issue.

    Reply
Jon Peltier - September 15, 2016

The user add-in folder (C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\AddIns) is NOT trusted by default, which surprises me. I’ve had to explicitly trust that folder on all the computers I use.

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    Jon Acampora - September 17, 2016

    Thanks Jon! I recently had to reinstall Windows (good times…) and the AddIns folder was NOT trusted on my new installation either. I have updated the article to reflect this now.

    Reply
Deane - September 3, 2016

I thought the list of Trusted Locations would be in the registry and I found it. Not sure why you would need it, but here it is:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Excel\Security\Trusted Locations\

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Andrew - August 13, 2016

In the event that you need to use the unblock feature, but your environment doesn’t allow unblocking, try the steps in this article http://superuser.com/questions/503812/how-to-unblock-chm-files-unblock-button-is-missing/1107287#1107287

Reply
    Jon Acampora - August 14, 2016

    Thanks for the tip Andrew!

    Reply
      Andrew - August 14, 2016

      Do you know which exact update causes the problem? Is it specific to 2016, or do earlier versions get the same treatment?

      Reply
        Jon Peltier - September 17, 2016

        The problem extends to 2013 and 2010. I’m not sure about 2007.

        Reply
Josh - August 10, 2016

Thanks for this Jon! I was troubleshooting by uninstalling, and reinstalling add-ins every time I opened Excel. I originally thought my Excel was being buggy.. Glad that wasn’t the case.

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    Jon Acampora - August 10, 2016

    Happy to hear it Josh. Hopefully Microsoft will fix this issue and add a warning message so you know what’s going on in the background… 🙂

    Reply
steve - August 10, 2016

A vary valuable trick. Thanks.

Reply

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