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.

We also have a guide on how to Uninstall an add-in.


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.

If you need to uninstall or remove an add-in, checkout our guide and video to uninstall an add-in.

Download PDF


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


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

  • 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



  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Sir, 19th Feb.2020.s ar
    I must appreciate your efforts to this article in detail.n future too.
    It is very useful article for me.
    I hope to receive such Tricks and Tips in future too.
    Once again thanking you.
    Kanhaiyalal Newaskar.

  • Hi,
    Discovered your add-in for filtering data validation lists – great work! (When it works…) Followed all instructions (and trusted the folder and unblocked the file) to install the list sort function (Office pro 2021/Windows 10 Pro/3 monitors).
    The folder shows the add in and has a tick showing it is enabled, but nothing happens when I start typing in a cell with data validation.
    Any more suggestions? I Don’t want to muck around trying other versions of the code ie the open drop down in middle of screen version if it is a bit flaky.
    ps the embedded windows add-in on the ribbon for Microsoft add ins is not enable as I prefer to block their intrusive advertising etc at every chance I get but that should not matter for non-microsoft add ins?

Generic filters
Exact matches only

Excel Shortcuts List

keyboard shortcuts list banner

Learn over 270 Excel keyboard & mouse shortcuts for Windows & Mac.

Excel Shortcuts List

Join Our Weekly Newsletter

The Excel Pro Tips Newsletter is packed with tips & techniques to help you master Excel.

Join Our Free Newsletter