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Home > English site > Articles > Build Excel Add-in > User interface
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Building an Add-in for Excel, the User interface

Add-ins need a way for the user to interact with them. They may need custom forms (Userforms), perhaps create worksheets for data entry and reporting, right-click menu's and other user interface additions. This add-in will work using some items on a tab on the ribbon.

Ribbon modifications

Our add-in will only have a very limited userinterface, everything to use the add-in will be located on the Ribbon. Creating a custom ribbon userinterface is not for the faint at heart. Luckily we have various excellent resources:

Using the Custom UI Editor, I opened the workbook I am working on (I previously saved and closed the workbook from Excel!).

I inserted an Office 2007 CustomUI part into the workbook:

Inserting a customUI part

Using this part ensures the add-in shows up in both the Office 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016 ribbon. Then I wrote this xml code in the window (well, I copied more than half of it from some example and modified it to fit my needs, like any programmer would do):

<customUI xmlns="" onLoad="rxJKPSheetToolscustomUI_onLoad">
            <tab id="rxJKPSheetTools" label="SheetTools">
                <group id="rxJKPSheetToolsGeneral" label="Sheet Tools">
                    <dropDown id="rxJKPSheetToolsbtnSheets"
                <button id="rxJKPSheetToolsbtnInsertToc"
                    label="Table Of Contents"
                    imageMso="CustomTableOfContentsGallery" />

The Custom UI editor looks like this after entering this code:

Custom UI Editor

A number of the items you see in this xml are so-called callbacks. That means Excel is expecting VBA code for them in the workbook in question. You can click the right-most button on the toolbar of the Custom UI editor screen to have it generate the empty Sub ... End Sub stubs for you.

The xml contains these callbacks:

You may have noticed the convoluted routine names (like "rxJKPSheetToolsbtnSheets_Click"). Especially the "rxJKPSheetTools" part. Callback names must be unique in an Excel instance. And I really mean Unique. No other workbook open in Excel can have a sub name that coincides with any of your call backs. Otherwise you risk that the routine in the other workbook is called by the ribbon! This is why I prefix the routine names with something that uniquely identifies the workbook that contains the RibbonX code.

After copying the code stubs from the UI editor, I inserted a new module called modRibbonX and pasted the stubs into it:

Option Explicit

Sub rxJKPSheetToolscustomUI_onLoad(ribbon As IRibbonUI)
End Sub

Sub rxJKPSheetToolsbtnInsertTOC(control As IRibbonControl)
End Sub

'Callback for rxJKPSheetToolsbtnSheets getItemCount
Sub rxJKPSheetToolsbtnSheets_Count(control As IRibbonControl, ByRef returnedVal)
End Sub

Public Sub rxJKPSheetToolsbtnSheets_getItemLabel(control As IRibbonControl, Index As Integer, ByRef returnedVal)
End Sub

'Callback for rxJKPSheetToolsbtnSheets getSelectedItemIndex
Sub rxJKPSheetToolsbtnSheets_getSelectedItemIndex(control As IRibbonControl, ByRef returnedVal)
End Sub

Sub rxJKPSheetToolsbtnSheets_Click(control As IRibbonControl, id As String, Index As Integer)
End Sub

Next: adding code to the ribbon callbacks



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