An add-in is a program that can be attached to Word to give it additional functionality.
Once an add-in has been installed its functionality is available from any document.
An add-in can be thought of as a template that is always loaded when Word is open.
Add-ins are specific to a particular application. Word add-ins are specific to Word and cannot be used with any other application.
Word does not have any templates or add-ins available as standard, although the template will be available.
You can display the Templates and Add-ins dialog box by selecting (Developer Tab)(Templates group, "Document Template").

Word Add-in File Extension

In Word 2007 (and later) an add-in can have the file extensions (".dotx") or (".dotm").
In Word 2003 (or earlier) an add-in has the file extension (".dot").
This will list all the word templates and add-ins that are currently available and any that are ticked are currently installed.

What can an Word Add-in do ?

Add-ins are used to distribute macros and provide an excellent way of increasing the power and functionality of Word.
You can include anything in an add-in that can be written in code.
Some of the most common uses are listed below:
1) Macros which you want available every time you open Word.
2) Ribbon, toolbars and the menu bar can be customised. Commands can be removed and new ones added.
3) Shortcut menus can be customised. Commands can be removed and new ones added.
4) Databases can be connected to and data can be extracted or imported.

Using Word Add-ins

There are a large number of third party Word add-ins availiable and some can be downloaded FREE from websites.
Be aware that the more add-ins you have installed, the longer Word will take to open.
It is worth displaying the "Templates and Add-ins" dialog box and clearing the check boxes for any add-ins that you do not use or want loaded.
If Word has installed any add-ins as standard these can be found in the following location:
Microsoft 365 - C:\Users\"user name"\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\
Word 2019 - C:\Users\"user name"\App Data\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\
Word 2016 - C:\Users\"user name"\App Data\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\
Word 2013 - C:\Users\"user name"\App Data\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates\

Advantages of using an Add-in

An add-in is easier to distribute and share than a document.
Any event handling procedures cannot be bypassed by using the Shift key. This ensures that an add-in is always initialised.
An add-in is almost invisible to the user, especially if you add a command to an existing tab or drop-down menu. This may be more appropriate for inexperienced users that could get confused by having to open up additional documents.


Be aware that the more add-ins you have installed, the longer Word will take to open.
You may need to run your setup installation again if you can't find a particular add-in in your Templates and Add-ins dialog box.
The majority of add-ins will either be protected or unviewable if you try to view the project in the Visual Basic Editor.
Always make sure that the Menu Bar is reset in a template file before saving especially if your template has customised menus or toolbars of its own.

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