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Excel add-ins fail to load



As you probably know, I offer a number of tools for your daily Excel work:

There is a problem however.

I've been getting reports from people complaining that they can no longer use add-ins. In this article I describe the problem and a solution.

The problem

Even though an add-in has been "installed" into Excel using the Add-ins dialog its userinterface does not show. This is that dialog (you get there by going to File, Options, Add-ins tab and pressing the Go... button):

Add-ins dialog of Excel

As you can see, some add-ins are checked. But sometimes the user-interface of an add-in fails to display. In fact, the add-in file will not open in Excel at all, even if you try from Windows Explorer, or from File, Open from within Excel. Without any error message.

The cause

A recent Office Security update has caused any file downloaded from the internet (so this includes add-ins) to be marked as Blocked. Even if those files were in a zip container, they are marked as blocked. And Excel will simply not open them.


Unblock the files! Like so:

1. Copy the file from the zip file to any folder

2. Right-click the file and choose properties:

Select file properties

3. Click the Unblock button:

Click Unblock

Additional problems

Some users report that even though they can check an add-in in the add-ins dialog and that add-in then works, as soon as they close and reopen Excel, the add-in is no longer installed (and hence does not open).

This is probably due to a bug in Excel which causes the add-in entries in the registry to be wrong.

Make sure you close Excel first. Open the registry editor and navigate to this location: Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Excel\Options

OPEN entries in Excels registry settings tree

In that key, most of Excel's settings are listed. Find the ones that begin with the word "OPEN" (without quotes). Look closely, these MUST be numbered in order: OPEN, OPEN1, OPEN2, OPEN3, ...

If there is a gap, make sure you close that gap by renaming them. After renaming them, you should be able to add the add-in as usual.

Other resources

If you have a folder full of blocked files, this page describes a way to unblock all of them using Powershell.

And a great article by fellow-MVP Jon Acampora: Excel Add-in Ribbon Disappears After Installation.

This article describes the mechanics of the problem very well: http://www.howtogeek.com/70012/what-causes-the-file-downloaded-from-the-internet-warning-and-how-can-i-easily-remove-it/


Showing last 8 comments of 53 in total (Show All Comments):


Comment by: Yasir khan (26-10-2020 23:13:00) deeplink to this comment

hats off to your great work

Comment by: Justin C (12-11-2020 16:52:00) deeplink to this comment

so im trying to install the sutosave addin for excel 2010 on windows 8. Whenever i try to unblock the .XLA file it doesnt give me the option to unblock the file in the general tab in properties menu. After browsing through the security tab i still cannot find the option to unblock the .XLA file. Any advice? thanks

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (13-11-2020 13:54:00) deeplink to this comment

Hi Justin,

Perhaps it does not need unblocking. Does the add-in work? It should display the Add-ins tab of your ribbon where a button "Autosafe Settings" should appear.

Comment by: endang.supartini.66@gmail.com (1-3-2021 04:49:00) deeplink to this comment

Thank you, its working!
Ive had casses when using excel add in Stat 97. Where the file is ok, also it was active in setting. Just not wanna open. When i unblock it went open.

Comment by: Mike Cauley (24-11-2021 23:06:00) deeplink to this comment

Hi Sam, I am running on a MAC with the full Excel version 2019 (not 365) and cannot get your app to work, seems to have installed but nothing after that.

Mike Cauley

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (25-11-2021 14:34:00) deeplink to this comment

Hi Mike,

Which add-in (or Excel file) are you referring to please?

Comment by: Mike Cauley (25-11-2021 16:01:00) deeplink to this comment

I am referring to the Date Picker App, a thought that I had is the macros being disabled, I have googled how to remove app as well and start over, but those instructions don't apply to this version of Excel.

Again, MAC with the full Excel version 2019 (not 365) Version 16.55, all updates are installed.

Thanks so much,

Mike Cauley

Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (25-11-2021 16:10:00) deeplink to this comment

Hi Mike,

I do not offer a date picker app. I refer to one, but the app itself is not mine!

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