Most Valuable Professional

View Jan Karel Pieterse's profile on LinkedIn subscribe to rss feed
Subscribe in a reader

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Audit !!!

Check out our RefTreeAnalyser
the ultimate Excel formula auditing tool.


Excel VBA Masterclass (English)
Excel VBA for Financials (Dutch)

Third party tools

Speed up your file

The best tool to optimise your Excel model!

Repair your file

Stellar Phoenix Excel Repair
Best tool to repair corrupt Excel sheets and objects
Home > English site > Articles > Add-ins do not load

Excel add-ins fail to load


Lately (I wrote this page on August 17, 2016) 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:

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

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:


All comments about this page:

Comment by: Patrick Matthews (8/17/2016 7:48:59 PM)

Blocking all downloaded files by default? That seems rather heavyhanded...


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (8/18/2016 6:20:49 AM)

Hi Patrick,

I'm not sure yet whether it is all files, or just add-ins. I have mixed results when testing.


Comment by: Gunthor (10/19/2016 10:43:36 AM)

I've been looking for this answer for 2 months...
M A N Y T H A N K S :-)


Comment by: Ralph (2/7/2017 4:00:17 PM)

THANK YOU!!! I've been searching for this solution for a long, long-time!


Comment by: Wei (2/17/2017 7:37:12 AM)

I tried, but still failed, I also tried to update the regedit, move the dll file to a safe location. Almost feel crazy.......


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (2/20/2017 9:57:33 AM)

Hi Wei,

The article is about Excel-based add-ins (xla and xlam files), not about dll files.


Comment by: king_faisal (10/1/2017 1:03:12 AM)

We are using Dose for Excel Add-In that provides more than +100 functions and features specialized in Excel editing and data manipulating, please consider this add-in in your post since it is so useful for Excel end-users.


Comment by: James Witherspoon (12/26/2017 7:57:51 PM)

Excel 2003 no longer can load Name Manager. When trying to install the addin I get this error from Microsoft Visual Basic: "Errors occurred during load". Clicking the "help" button says to check the log file but I have no idea where that file is located. I unblocked the Name Manger.xla file, as instructed, but that did not help.


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (12/27/2017 11:24:58 AM)

Hi James,

What happens if you launch Excel first (from its shortcut)?


Comment by: Doug Hesketh (2/8/2018 9:45:56 AM)

This was exactly the cause of my issue, a simple resolution and my frustration has disappeared. Thank you.


Comment by: Phil Sousa (3/16/2018 10:12:24 PM)

Thanks very much for this fix!!! It worked! Woohooo!


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (3/17/2018 1:36:08 PM)

Hi Phil,

You're welcome!


Comment by: Dan Kelly (4/2/2018 10:12:17 AM)

Using Excel 2016 on windows 10.
I was trying to add the JKP Name Manager add-in. Tried unblocking on the file properties, adding the add-in location as a trusted location and still nothing.
Later, I found out that Excel decided to put the Name Manager addin in the Formulas tab as a separate group. Didn't think to look there.


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (4/3/2018 9:56:56 AM)

Hi Dan,

The NM manual mentions where to find it in the user interface, this manual is part of the download containing the add-in :-)


Comment by: Ronald LaRiviere (5/25/2018 2:58:56 PM)

We are using Excel 2016 and I cannot find the Name Manager Utility in the application. I checked the properties as described on the website:

However, there is no Security Block section. The Add-in is listed. What else can I do to have access?



Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (5/25/2018 3:38:51 PM)

Hi Ronald,

If you open Excel and subsequently the VBA Editor, is Name Manager listed in the list of projects?


Comment by: Ronald LaRiviere (5/25/2018 5:12:50 PM)


It is listed NameManager (Name Manager 2007.xlam)



Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (5/27/2018 11:32:28 AM)

Hi Ronald,

Does control+shift+n open the name manager dialog? The UI can be normally found on the formulas tab of the ribbon, far right.


Comment by: Ron LaRiviere (5/29/2018 1:52:57 PM)

When selecting Cntrl+Shift+n, the Name Manager Utility is there. Looking at the formulas tab, the icon is not and it is not in the selection list to add.


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (5/29/2018 2:12:59 PM)

Hi Ron,

If you enable show add-in userinterface errors (Excel options) and you reboot Excel, do you get any error messages?


Comment by: Ronald LaRiviere (5/29/2018 2:55:25 PM)

I selected the options in options and when I open Excel, I get a Custom UI Error dialog box that reads as follows:

The custom UI associated with this document has been disabled by policy.


Comment by: Jan Karel Pieterse (5/29/2018 3:19:28 PM)

Hi Ron,

Which is tech-speak which means your IT dept has decided for you that you do not want external tools to work properly. Unfortunately there isn't anything I can do about that :-(


Have a question, comment or suggestion? Then please use this form.

If your question is not directly related to this web page, but rather a more general "How do I do this" Excel question, then I advise you to ask your question here:

Please enter your name (required):

Your e-mail address (optional, will only be used to inform you when your comment is published or to respond to your question directly):

Your request or comment:

To post VBA code in your comment, use [VB] tags, like this: [VB]Code goes here[/VB].

I give permission to process this data and display my name and my comment on this website accoring to our Privacy Policy.