What is an Excel Add-In?
An Excel add-in contains code to extend Excel’s functionality, usually in the form of new functions, custom ribbon or toolbar buttons. Once an add-in is deployed to your Excel environment, the new functions and buttons are available to all of your Excel workbooks to automate your repetitive tasks and processes. Excel add-ins can be created with:
- Excel using the VBA programming language
- VSTO using .NET programming languages
Add-Ins Created in Excel
Add-in files created in Excel are workbooks saved with an add-in file extension. In Excel 2007 and above, the ribbon or toolbar can be customised and buttons added to run VBA macros. VBA add-in files are copied into Excel’s add-in or start up directories on each user’s PC. Those add-in files are automatically loaded each time Excel starts up and the VBA macros contained within are available to all workbooks.
Larger organisations often use login scripts to install add-in files, to seamlessly deploy add-in features to a user’s PC.
Add-Ins Created in VSTO
VSTO is a set of development tools available with Microsoft Visual Studio that supports the Microsoft .NET Framework. It is used by developers to write code connecting Microsoft Office applications. Developers using VSTO can use .NET languages, instead of using VBA. VSTO add-ins are installed on a PC and are compiled applications. From a security point of view, VSTO created add-ins are perfect for distributing code that you want to protect.
Which Add-in Is Best for You?
Firstly, it is important to consider whether an add-in is the right solution for you. If the code you need is required for all workbooks, then an add-in could be a smart choice.
If the add-in features are for your organisation only and security and deployment won’t be a barrier for you, then a simple VBA add-in will suit your needs, otherwise a VSTO add-in may be required.
We Can Build Your Add-Ins!
Our developers can work in all areas of add-in development. If you need help with design or with determining what is best for your organisation, then our experienced Excel programmers can help analyse and develop a solution that suits your business requirements.
Our experts are ready to talk through your requirements and take your business to the next level.
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