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Installing an Access Add-in Recent Versions of Office and Windows

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Detailed instructions on how to install an Access add-in in recent versions of Office and Windows (with screen shots)
Those of you who have been developing in Access for many years will remember when it was delightfully easy to install an add-in –- all you had to do was place the add-in file in the Addins folder, then select the add-in's name in the Add-in Manager dialog and click Install. Those days of easy installs were over when Office 2007 and Vista came on the scene. Now, in most cases, if you try to install an add-in by selecting it in the Add-Ins Manager, and clicking Install, you will get this message:
image.pngNow you have to jump through a lot of hoops to get an Access add-in installed, and even more so for 64-bit Windows and Office. I describe what you have to do in order to get an add-in installed, for various combinations of Office and Windows below.

32-bit Access 2007/Vista

Place the mda or accda file in your Addins folder, usually C:\Users\User Name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\AddIns. In this document the add-in used as an example is my Extras Plus add-in, file name Extras Plus.mda (this add-in can be downloaded from the Code Samples page of my Website; it is Code Sample 20 in the Access section).

Open an Explorer window, locate the MSACCESS.EXE file in the Office12 folder, right-click it, and select Run as Administrator:
image.pngWhen the UAC dialog appears, click Continue.

With Access 2007 running in Administrator mode, there are two ways to install an Access add-in. The first method starts with clicking the large Office button in the upper-left corner of the Access window (no need to open a database) and then the Access Options button in the Office menu, as shown in the figure below:
image.pngSelect Add-ins in the left pane of the Access Options dialog; the Add-ins page (shown in the next figure) shows the currently installed add-ins. At the bottom of the page, there is a Manage drop-down list with COM Add-ins as the default selection; drop the list down, select Access Add-ins and click Go to open the Access Add-in Manager, much the same as in earlier versions of Access except for the fancy Aero Glass effects (if you have a video card that supports them).
image.pngThe Access 2007/Vista Add-in Manager is shown below. Select Extras Plus and click Install to install the add-in for all Access databases.
image.pngThe other method starts with opening any Access database, then selecting the Database Tools Ribbon, and clicking the Add-ins item in the Database Tools group, as shown in the next figure:
image.pngThe Add-in Manager opens (same as in Figure 6), and you can install the Extras Plus add-in as described above.

Making Add-ins More Accessible

In all versions of Access, with the default menus/toolbars/Ribbons, the Add-ins menu isn't always available. I like to have it available wherever I am in a database, so I take advantage of the interface customization to move it to a more convenient location.

In Access 2002 or 2003, for easier access to the Add-ins menu, I recommend dragging the Add-ins selection from the Tools menu to the Database toolbar. In Access 2007 and up, I like to place it on the Quick Access Toolbar (the little toolbar at the top of the Access window.

To move the Add-Ins menu from its regular place to the Database menu in Access 2002 or 2003, right-click the background of any menu or toolbar and select Customize. With this dialog open, drop down the Tools menu and drag the Add-Ins command to a location of your choice on the Database menu, then close the dialog.

In Access 2007 and up, you can place the Add-Ins command on the Quick Access Toolbar. To do this, click the drop-down arrow at the right of the QAT (see the next figure).
image.pngSelecting More Commands opens the Access Options dialog to the Customize page. Select the All Commands selection to see all the commands. Drag the Add-ins command (and any other commands you want) to the right pane to put them on the QAT, as shown in the figure below.
image.pngHere is the Access 2007 QAT with my most frequently used commands on it. 
image.png 

32-bit Access 2010/Windows 7

Place the mda or accda file in your Addins folder, usually C:\Users\User Name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\AddIns. In this document the add-in used as an example is my Extras Plus add-in, file name Extras Plus.mda (this add-in can be downloaded from the Code Samples page of my Website; it is Code Sample 20 in the Access section).

Open an Explorer window, locate the MSACCESS.EXE file in the Office14 folder, right-click it, and select Run as Administrator:
image.pngWhen the UAC dialog appears, click Continue.

Open any Access database, select the Database Tools Ribbon, and select Add-In Manager from the Add-ins group:
image.pngThe Add-in Manager opens, and you can install the Extras Plus add-in by selecting it and clicking Install.
image.png 

64-bit Access 2013/Windows 8.1

As with the other Access/Office combinations, your first step is to run Access as an administrator. Finding the Office folder that contains the MSACCESS.EXE file used to be easy – it was C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14 (for Office 2010), and with a different number for other Office versions. On my computer (perhaps because I installed Office 365 over Office 2013), Microsoft has chosen to place this file in the most complex and unintuitive path yet: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\Data\Updates \Apply\PackageFiles\ root\office15. The executable may be in another location on your computer; if you don't see it in the above folder, search for it in the C:\ drive in a Windows Explorer pane (that is how I found it on my computer).

Once you have found the executable, select it and select Run as administrator from its context menu:
image.pngIn my experience, this may or may not work. When I tried to run Access as an administrator from the executable file, Access did not open. There were no error messages, just a brief circling of the little circle that has replaced the old hourglass, and then nothing happened. I tried using the Run as administrator item from the Access 2013 item on the Access taskbar icon list, and that did not work one day, but a few days later it did work, so if you can't run Access as an administrator from the executable file, try the taskbar icon pop-up list instead:
 image.pngAs always, there are several ways to do a task in Access, and if one way doesn't work, try another.

Click Continue on the UAC, then open a database and select Add-In Manager from the Add-ins group in the Database Tools Ribbon:
image.pngHere is where the fun starts –- some add-ins won't work in 64-bit Access 2013, or need special tweaking to work.

Peculiar Add-in Behavior

Even when you can install an add-in in 64-bit Access 2013 (for example, my Extras Plus add-in installs without problems, even without running Access as an administrator), it may not work as usual. The main use of this add-in is to make copies of database objects, with incrementing numbers, to save versions while making changes to an object. In an Access 2013 desktop database, when I select a database object and then select Copy Selected Object from the Add-ins menu, nothing seems to happen. But this is just a refresh problem; after closing the database and reopening it, the copied objects appear.

I recently tested several of my add-ins in a virtual machine with 64-bit Windows 8.1 and 64-bit Office 2013, as well as Rick Fisher's Find And Replace (the 64-bit version). I found that my Extras Plus add-in (an .mda add-in that works in Access 2003 and up) works fine in 64-bit Access 2013, but my LN-C Rename .accda add-ins for Access 2007 and up (both the one that just just renames form and report controls, and the one that also renames database objects, which piggybacks on FAR) did not work, with an error message about the add-in being in a bad state or uninstalled. This was also the case with FAR itself. I tried compiling my add-ins, but that didn't fix the problem.

But then I thought to try the old LNC Rename .mda add-in. I got a compile error on the FAR reference, so I reset it to the 64-bit FAR file, and recompiled (no errors). Then I was able to use this add-in for renaming database controls, with no problems, and for renaming database objects, but with some problems (I occasionally got the "Access has stopped working" error) – but the objects did get renamed.

Unless these problems with .accda add-ins in 64-bit Access are fixed, I recommend sticking with .mda add-ins in 64-bit Access 2013.
 
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