Managing Excel Add-Ins

Managing Excel® add-ins is pretty easy once you get the hang of it.  We'll cover the details of how to do this, and if you're managing add-ins on a regular basis, we'll show how to add shortcuts to the process.


We'll start with how to open the add-ins management form.  This can be done three ways:

  1. Opening it from the File tab in the ribbon.
  2. Accessing it from the Developer tab in the ribbon.
  3. Creating a shortcut in the Quick Access Toolbar.

We'll cover each in later sections.

We'll then cover how to install/uninstall an add-in, and how to activate/deactivate an add-in.

Opening the Add-Ins Form

The add-ins form allows for managing Excel add-ins and is shown below.

Excel Add-ins Form

Opening from the File Menu

Start by clicking on the File tab in the ribbon.

Then click the Options menu item on the left side of the screen.

Excel options

The Excel options form will appear as shown below.  Click the Add-ins menu item on the left.  At the bottom of the form is a Manage: drop-down box.  Make sure "Excel add-ins" is selected and click the Go... button to open the Add-ins form.

Opening from the Developer Tab

The add-ins form can be accessed directly from the Developer tab.  If you don't already have this tab in your ribbon we'll show how to do this as well.

Click on File>Options as we did earlier to show the Excel Options form.  Then click on the Customize Ribbon menu item on the left.  Check the Developer box in the list and click OK.

The Developer tab should now appear in the ribbon.  To open the add-ins form, click on the Excel Add-ins button on the ribbon.

Creating a Shortcut in the Quick Access Toolbar

A button can be added to the Quick Access Tool bar to open the add-ins form.  To add the button, go to File>Options to open the Excel Options form.  Then click on the Quick Access Toolbar menu item on the left.

In the Choose commands from: drop-down, select All Commands.  Scroll down the list box until you see Add-ins.  Select the Add-ins command and click the Add>> button in the center of the form.  Click OK to finish.

The add-ins icon should now appear in the Quick Access toolbar and the Add-ins form can be accessed by clicking on the icon.

Installing an Add-in

To install an add-in we need to let Excel know where the add-in file is located.  To do this, open the Add-ins form and click the Browse... button.  Select the add-in file location.  To illustrate, we will install an add-in called Simulation_Master.

Simulation_Master now appears in the list of add-ins.  Make sure the box next to it is checked and click OK.

Uninstalling an Add-In

To uninstall an add-in, we either need Excel to be closed, or the add-in to be deactivated, which we'll show how to do later.  Delete, rename, or move the add-in file to a new location.  Then go to Excel and open the Add-ins form.  Click on the add-in in the list.  In our example we are going to uninstall Simulation_Master.

After clicking on the add-in, a message will appear asking if you want to delete it from the list.  Click yes to close the message.  Then click OK on the Add-ins form.

Activating/Deactivating Add-ins

If you want to activate or deactivate add-ins instead of re-installing or uninstalling you can easily do this through the Add-ins form.  Open the form and uncheck the box next to the add-in to deactivate.  Check the box to activate.

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