Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Creating Add-Ins.

Creating Add-Ins

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 28, 2014)

Any Excel workbook can be converted to an add-in. The steps you need to follow to create an add-in are very precise, and may seem a bit overwhelming (particularly the first couple of times you do it). To create a protected add-in file, you need to do a little work in the VBA Editor and in Excel itself. First, here are the steps to follow to get the settings correct in the VBA Editor:

  1. Load the workbook that is destined to become your add-in.
  2. Press Alt+F11. Excel displays the Visual Basic Editor.
  3. At the very top of the Project window, select the bold entry that declares the name of the VBA project that is open.
  4. Choose the Properties option from the Tools menu. This displays the Project Properties dialog box.
  5. Make sure the Protection tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  6. Figure 1. The Protection tab of the project's Properties dialog box.

  7. Make sure the Lock Project For Viewing check box is selected.
  8. Enter a password in both fields at the bottom of the dialog box.
  9. Click on OK. The dialog box closes.
  10. Press Alt+Q. Excel close the Visual Basic Editor and returns to the Excel workbook.

Now it is time to do a little work in Excel. Follow these steps if you are using Excel 2010 or Excel 2013:

  1. Display the File tab of the ribbon.
  2. Make sure the Info option is selected at the left side of the dialog box.
  3. Click the Properties link near the right side of the dialog box and then click Advanced Properties. Excel displays the Properties dialog box for your workbook.
  4. Make sure the Summary tab is displayed. (See Figure 2.)
  5. Figure 2. The Summary tab of the workbook's Properties dialog box.

  6. Make sure the Title field is filled in. What you enter here will appear in the Add-Ins dialog box used by Excel.
  7. Make sure the Comments field is filled in. What you enter here will appear in the description area of the Add-Ins dialog box used by Excel.
  8. Click on the OK button.
  9. Press F12. Excel displays the Save As dialog box.
  10. Using the Save As Type pull-down list, specify a file type of Excel Add-In (*.xlam).
  11. Specify a name for your add-in file in the File Name field.
  12. Click on Save. Your add-in file is created.
  13. Close the workbook you just saved as an add-in.

The steps are slightly different in Excel 2007:

  1. Click the Office button, Prepare, and then Properties. Excel displays the Document Information Panel just below the ribbon and just above the worksheet.
  2. Make sure the Title field is filled in. What you enter here will appear in the Add-Ins dialog box used by Excel.
  3. Make sure the Comments field is filled in. What you enter here will appear in the description area of the Add-Ins dialog box used by Excel.
  4. Close the Document Information Panel.
  5. Press F12. Excel displays the Save As dialog box.
  6. Using the Save As Type pull-down list, specify a file type of Excel Add-In (*.xlam).
  7. Specify a name for your add-in file in the File Name field.
  8. Click on Save. Your add-in file is created.
  9. Close the workbook you just saved as an add-in.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (8528) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Creating Add-Ins.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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