Microsoft Office allows you to add more functionality through add-ins. Many modern add-ins also work with Office for iPad, Office Online, and Office for Mac–not just traditional desktop versions of Office for Windows.

Add-ins are available for Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Project, and SharePoint. They allow you to do everything from translate text or search the web to schedule a meeting at Starbucks and call an Uber.

How to Get Office Add-ins

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You can get add-ins in one of two ways. In a Microsoft Office application, you can click the “Insert” tab on the ribbon, click the “Add-ins” icon on the bar, and select “Store”.

While we’re showing Word 2016 for Windows in the screenshot here, this option is available in the same place in other Office applications and Word for other platforms, including Word for iPad, Word for Mac, and Word Online.

The Store pane will appear, allowing you to browse and search for available add-ins.

You can also visit the Office Store website online. This provides you with a complete list of add-ins available for all Office applications.

How to Open Add-ins in Office

Once you’ve found an add-in you like, click the add-in and click “Trust It” to give the add-in access to the contents of any document you use the add-in with.

If you opened the Office Store pane from within a Microsoft Office application, the add-in will immediately appear in a sidebar at the side of your office document.

If you’re getting the add-in from the Office Store on the web, you’ll have to first click the “Add” button on the add-in’s page and sign in with your Microsoft account, if you haven’t already. Use the same Microsoft account you use for Microsoft Office.

Once you have, open the Office application you want to use the add-in with and click Insert > Add-ins > My Add-ins.

Click the “Refresh” link at the top right corner of the window if the add-in you just added to your account doesn’t yet appear here. Be sure you’re signed into the Microsoft Office application with the same account you used on the web.

Click the add-in in the list of add-ins associated with your account and click “OK”. It’ll now be loaded in your Office program.

How to Work With Add-ins

When you’re done with an add-in, you can close it by clicking the “x” button in the sidebar. Drag and drop the top of the add-in pane if you’d like to reposition at at the left side of your document or turn it into a floating window that appears over the document.

To load another add-in–or reload an add-in you already closed–select the add-in from Insert > Add-ins > My add-ins. You can even have multiple add-in panels open at once, if you have room for them on your screen.

If you no longer want an add-in to be associated with your account, hover over it in the My Add-ins window, click the “…” menu button that appears and select “Remove”.

Add-ins are associated with your Microsoft account, so after you’ve added them once you’ll have quick access to them from the “My add-ins” menu on other computers and devices.

Profile Photo for Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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