Easily Deploying Customizations

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 14, 2017)

When it comes to customizing Excel, your imagination is pretty much the limit. If you can imagine it, you can probably find a way to customize Excel to reflect your desires. You may even want to share your customizations with others.

In Excel, your custom macros are stored either in regular workbooks or in the personal.xls workbook, and changes to toolbars and menus are stored in a file with the .XLB extension. (In Excel, there should only be one .XLB file accessed at a time, and it is for this very purpose—managing toolbar and menu customizations.) The location of these files can vary from system to system, but you can use the Windows Search feature to locate them.

If you want, you can copy both the workbook with the macros and the .XLB file from your system to someone else's system. You just need to make sure that the other system is using the same version of Excel that you are and you need to make sure that you place the .XLB file in the same location as the existing .XLB file on the other system. The only problem with this, of course, is that when you replace the files on their system, you also get rid of any macros and/or customizations they may have previously made on their system.

To get around this problem, the best way to share macros is to add them into a file and save it as an add-in file (*.xla). The add-in should contain additional code to create the toolbar customizations and any menu items when the add-in is installed (workbook_AddInInstall event) and then remove them when the add-in is removed (workbook_AddInUnInstall event). In other words,. you are not saving the exact toolbar and menu customizations on your system, but you are using macros to recreate the customizations on the other person's system.

Creating the customizations is not too difficult, but it is still not a trivial task—and definitely beyond the scope of this tip. Menu customizations, explained properly, normally occupy an entire chapter in a good reference book.

So where should you look to find additional information? Chip Pearson has some good info on creating menus with VBA at this page:

http://www.cpearson.com/excel/menus.htm

John Walkenbach's site has a file with some example code, at this page:

http://j-walk.com/ss/excel/tips/tip90.htm

A good reference is John's Excel 2003 Power Programming With VBA, as well as the older versions of the same book (for older versions of Excel). You can find information about those books at these pages:

http://j-walk.com/ss/books/xlbook25.htm
http://j-walk.com/ss/books/bookxl19.htm
http://j-walk.com/ss/books/bookxl12.htm

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2083) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Opening Multiple Documents at Once

Word's Open dialog box provides many of the same file management functions as Windows Explorer does. One of the functions is ...

Discover More

Understanding the Drawing Canvas

Need to keep your drawing shapes together in one place? The drawing canvas may be exactly what you are looking for.

Discover More

WordTips Ribbon 2015 Archive (Table of Contents)

WordTips is a weekly newsletter that provides tips on how to best use Microsoft's word processing software. At the ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Turning Off Display of Zeros for All Worksheets

Some people like zero values displayed; others do not. Excel allows you to easily turn the display on or off for a single ...

Discover More

Enlarging the Formula Bar

The Formula bar is used to display the formula that appears in a cell. You may want to modify how the Formula bar is ...

Discover More

Cycling through Colors

Excel includes quite a few tools that are not normally accessible through the various toolbars. One such esoteric tool is one ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 8 - 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.