How to Install and Uninstall A VBA Add-in File For Microsoft Office

How To Setup and Install an Add-in File for Excel

Installing Your Add-in

So you just purchased a shiny, brand-new add-in program to take your Office capabilities to the next level. The only problem is, there isn't an executable installer to put it on your computer! Let's walk through the steps to get your add-in file up and running in no time.

Note: I will be using Microsoft Excel for this demonstration, but the rest of the Office programs should have very similar processes.

A. Save Your File To Your Computer

You can save your add-in file anywhere you wish, but I recommend you save it in the default add-in folder for Office. This folder location varies based on which operating system you are using.

Windows XP 

C:\Documents and Settings\[insert your username]\Application Data\Microsoft\AddIns

Windows Vista / Windows 7 / Windows 8 

C:\Users\[insert your username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\AddIns

B. Telling Office Where Your Add-in File Is

The Quick Way (Excel 2010 and later)

  1. Go to the Developer tab
  2. Click the Add-ins Button
  3. Inside the Add-ins Dialog Box, click the Browse… button
  4. The Explorer Window should default to the Microsoft add-in folder location
  5. Navigate and select your add-in file, then click OK
  6. Ensure the newly added add-in name is checked in the dialog's listbox & click OK
  7. Your add-in is now installed!

The Slightly Longer Way (Excel 2007 and later)

  1. Go to File inside your Excel Program
  2. Select Excel Options
  3. Select Add-ins from the left-hand pane
  4. Make sure Excel Add-ins is chosen in the Manage drop-down menu and click Go…
  5. Inside the Add-ins Dialog Box, click the Browse… button
  6. The Explorer Window should default to the Microsoft add-in folder location
  7. Navigate and select your add-in file, then click OK
  8. Ensure the newly added add-in name is checked in the dialog's listbox & click OK
  9. Your add-in is now installed!

C. Unloading An Add-in

If you want to stop using a particular add-in for a temporary period of time, you can navigate back to the Add-ins dialog box and simply uncheck the add-in's name, then click OK. The add-in will disappear from your current session and also will no longer auto-load when you start up your application.

D. Uninstalling An Add-in

If you want to get rid of your add-in permanently, you can use the following steps:

  1. Close out of your application (ie Excel)
  2. Delete your add-in file* or move it to a new file path location
  3. Re-open your application (ie Excel)
  4. Navigate to the Add-ins dialog box (see Section A above)
  5. Try to check or uncheck the add-in name and you should get a message box stating that the add-in could not be found and asking if you would like to remove it from the add-in list
  6. Confirm the removal

*Bonus Tip: If you do not know where you saved your add-in, you can carry out the following steps to find the file location on your computer:

  1. Use the shortcut Alt + F11 to open up the Visual Basic Editor
  2. In the Visual Basic Editor window, use the shortcut ctrl + g to open up the Immediate Window
  3. In the Project Pane, highlight the name of your add-in
  4. In the Immediate Window, paste in the following line of code and hit the Enter key

?ThisWorkbook.Path

After executing the above line of code in the Immediate Window, your add-in's file path should be displayed! Here's a visual for you in case those steps were a little confusing.