Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Removing Add-ins.

Removing Add-ins

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 19, 2018)


Whenever you install an add-in in Excel, it is added to an internal list of available add-ins. This list is used by Excel whenever you display the Add-ins dialog box. (The Add-ins dialog box is where you are shown available add-ins and can use a check box to indicate which should be enabled when running Excel.) Removing a previously installed add-in so that it doesn't appear in the Add-ins dialog box can be a confusing process, since Excel provides no way to directly edit that internal list of add-ins. You can get around this frustration, however, by following these steps:

  1. Get out of Excel.
  2. Use the tools in Windows (such as the Search tool) to locate the add-in file you want removed. You can locate add-in files by their file name extension: either .xla or .xlam, depending on your version of Excel.
  3. Delete, rename, or move the add-in file.
  4. Start Excel. If the add-in was one that was automatically loaded when Excel first starts, you will get a message from Excel indicating that it cannot find your missing add-in file.
  5. Answer Yes when prompted if you want to remove the add-in file from the list.
  6. If the add-in was not one that started automatically, choose Add-Ins from the Tools menu. Excel displays the Add-Ins dialog box, and your deleted add-in should still be listed as available. (Remember; this dialog box represents the internal list of add-ins, and hasn't been updated.)
  7. Select the check box next to the add-in you want deleted. This informs Excel you want to use the add-in.
  8. Click on OK. You should get the same message described in step 4.
  9. Answer Yes when prompted if you want to remove the add-in file from the list.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2733) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Removing Add-ins.

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. ...


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What is one more than 4?

2017-03-29 10:22:03


hey, thanks, this worked great. now, can you tell me how to get rid of microsoft altogether? ;-)

2017-03-19 13:23:52


very useful thanks

2017-02-06 05:03:51

Chiraag G

Hey Vijay, Joe and Lewis.

I was having the same problem as you - I couldn't remove the add-in.

It may be an over-zealous creator, but I wanted to move the path of my add-in and it caused all sorts of havoc.

I suggest creating your own blank add-in with the same name and adding it. Excel asks if you want to replace the existing add-in with the same name and it is the only way I have been able to load something in place of the troublesome add-in. You should, hopefully, then be able to remove your own replacement add-in much easier.

When moving path, it was easier because I wanted to replace it with the same add-in so YMMV, but I hope it helps.

2016-09-14 12:01:59


this doesn't remove the add-in commmand from the custom toolbar, for instance we had to upgrade an add-in for Kareo PMS. There is an add-in for excel 2010 windows 7, and a diff add-in for 2010 on windows 8/10. when we upgraded all our pc's to 10 the add-in stopped working so we removed it. Then installed the new Kareo add-in for windows 10, but when we go to run the add-in it still wants to go out an look for the previous one and completely ignores the one we just installed. It's like the custom tool bar won't update and stays stuck on the add-in that no longer exist. quite annoying an only way to fix is completely remove excel and reinstall it.

2016-07-01 08:09:21

Stephen Clothier

The problem I have happens when I upgrade from Office 2013 to 2016. I reference an Add In pointing to an xlam file.
After upgrade this is only seen if I manually open it before opening a referring workbook. Otherwise the functions in the AddIn are not found. Has a default option been reset so that the worksheet does not see the functions if the Add In is not already open?

2016-04-04 18:35:49



2016-02-18 04:25:18


I am not able remove the old add-in from excel 2016 for MAC. Even if I deleted the add-in from the specified path and removed from the Add-in list, it is always showing the add-in when I reopen the exce.

2015-11-13 12:47:11


The Add-in I want to remove does not appear in the Add-in list of ad-in Manager. So it is presumably an automaticaly loaded Add-in.
I was following yours instruction up to the Point 5(Windows 7 professional, Excel 2003). Excel reports that it cannot find the Add-in file, but it is not a question, just an announcement. The message appears each time I open Excel. Is there any remedy to it?

2015-08-28 12:28:06


Ok. I got rid of the error notice by deleting the old add-in without enabling the replacement. Then restarting Excel and enabling the replacement.

2015-08-28 12:20:12


I'm having same results as Lewis. Starting Excel I get pop-up "Sorry, we couldn't find C:Program Files (x86)..." Go to Add-Ins management and delete it from list. Restart Excel and repeat the problem.

2015-06-03 21:17:20



I followed the steps above but it didn't work...the add-in was in my D drive but this D drive crashed and excel somehow locks this location of the add-in and even after I chose to remove it from list, everytime I re-open excel, it will pop the message that excel could not found the .xla file in D drive..

2015-05-10 20:34:14


I had developed an add-in containing user defined functions for a small department in my office. These functions were then added to formulas in some Excel workbooks shared within the department. Unfortunately I did not control where the users saved the add-in, and it was typically saved in a different location for each user. Whenever a shared spreadsheet was opened by someone with a different path for the add-in, all formulas containing the user defined function would convert the function reference to a fully qualified path, creating an external link to a file that could not be found.

Try as I might, I could not point Excel to a standard path for the add-in, it would not "let go" of the original path set by the user. This tip fixes that problem, very much appreciated thank you!

2014-09-24 08:48:55


This suggestion is exactly what I've been looking for! Thanks for sharing!

2014-06-18 02:19:13


Worked well, thank you.

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