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I know that the addins are 'lazy loading', but I want to initialize some variables on startup of arcmap. This would be loading user preference data for the workflow we have in place, updating the FC with initial data etc.

Any direction on how to do this would be great.

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If you want code in an add-in like a button to be available when it is loaded rather than when it is clicked, in the Config.esriaddinx file add onDemand="false" to that button's xml.

You can also use an Extension class to execute code during its OnStartup(). Create the extension, and in the Config.esriaddinx file, add autoLoad="true" to its xml.

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