Friday, 16 May 2014

Simple Ways to Use Excel Add-In (.xlam)

Excel add-in is an Excel file type that adds extra functionality to Excel spreadsheet. It contains programming codes that give extra features, i.e. commands, formulas, etc. to Excel. This file type ends with extension .xlam.

There are two methods to use an Excel Add-In application. The easier method is as simple as just double click the file.


Method 1: Double click the file


You use the add-in file just like a portable software application. Just double click the Excel add-in and Excel will start with the extra functionality provided by the Excel add-in.

Just double click the xlam file and its functionality will be available for use.


To explain further:
  • When you double click the downloaded add-in file to start an Excel session Excel will start without a workbook opened.
  • You can start a new blank workbook or open an existing workbook to start working with the extra commands and functions provided by the add-in. You can work with multiple workbooks and save your workbooks as usual.
  • The add-in does not change your Excel Settings. It commands and functions work only during current session.
  • This session will end once you close all Excel workbooks. The functionality in the add-in will cease.
In your next Excel session, the add-in will not start until you double click on the add-in file again.



Method 2: Install before use


You can choose to start the Excel add-in automatically every time you start Excel. Remember, you don't need this method if you don't need the Excel add-in to start automatically every time you start Excel.

You need to perform two tasks to setup the Excel add-in:
  1. To locate and add (install) the add-in file to Add-Ins dialog box list (by manual or installation)
  2. To activate the add-in by marking the check box
Then, the activated add-in will start whenever the Excel starts.


Step 1: To locate and add (install) the add-in file to Add-Ins dialog box

Step 1.1 First we need to open the Add-Ins dialog box:
  • For Excel 2010 and 2013: Click File Tab and Excel will display the backstage > Select Options at the left panel and Excel Options dialog box will open > Select Add-Ins at the left panel > Look at the bottom of the dialog box. Select Excel Add-ins from the Manage's drop down list and click Go > The Add-Ins dialog box will open
  • For Excel 2007: Click the Office Button at the top left corner of Excel program > Select Options at the left panel and Excel Options dialog box will open > Select Add-Ins at the left panel of Excel Options dialog box > Look at the bottom of the dialog box. Select Excel Add-ins from the Manage's drop down list and click Go > The Add-Ins dialog box will open
Open the Add-Ins dialog box in Excel 2013 and 2010.


Step 1.2, again there are two methods to list/ install an add-in to the Add-Ins dialog box.

Method (A)

In the Add-Ins dialog box, click the Browse button to open the Browse dialog box. Then browse and locate the Excel add-in. Double click the add-in you want to "install". This Excel add-in will be listed in the Add-Ins dialog box and marked as activated. Watch the image below.

Open the Browse dialog box and locate the add-in file. Double click the add-in file to list and activate it in Add-Ins dialog box.

To remove the add-in from the Add-Ins dialog box's list is easy. Just deactivate the Excel add-in and delete it from its existing location. Excel will detect the deletion and ask your permission to remove it from the list. (Window will prevent the deletion when the add-in is activated (in use)) Watch the image below.

Delete an add-in from the Add-Ins dialog box.


Method (B)

In the Add-Ins dialog box, click the Browse button to open the Browse dialog box. The default folder in the Browse dialog box is the default Add-Ins library. Just copy or move the Excel add-in to the folder and double click the Excel add-in. This Excel add-in will be listed in the Add-Ins dialog box and marked as activated. Watch the image below.

Add the Excel add-in to Add-Ins dialog box and library.



To remove the add-in from the Add-Ins dialog box's list (and the Add-Ins library folder) is easy. Just deactivate and delete the add-in from its existing location. Excel will detect the deletion and ask your permission to remove it from the list.

Delete the Add-Ins from the Add-Ins dialog box and library.



Step 2: To activate the installed Excel add-in by marking the check box

The image below shows Add-Ins Dialog Box and how to activate and deactivate installed add-ins.

To deactivate an add-in and activate another add-in.

The animated image above show how you deactivate an add-in and activate another add-in using Add-Ins dialog box. The problem to most people is that the steps to open the Add-Ins dialog box are cumbersome. Read the notes below to add quick access to Add-Ins dialog box.

Conclusion

  • Using an add-in with extra functionality just simple, just double click the add-in file (.xlam) to start
  • You don't have to use Method 2 if you don't need the add-in to start automatically every time you start Excel.

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Notes: More about Add-Ins Dialog Box

It takes many steps into obscure interfaces to open Add-Ins dialog box. Here are 2 methods to add shortcut to open Add-Ins dialog box on Excel 2013.

Method 1: Add a quick access icon to open Add-Ins dialog box

Setup quick access icon to open Add-Ins dialog box.

Method 2: Add a Developer Tab

Just add a Developer Tab to the Ribbon. The Developer Tab has a button to open Add-Ins dialog box quickly.

Adding Developer Tab.



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