When you open these files in Microsoft Query, you can view the data in the query and select different data for the query to retrieve.
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Many data sources also require an ODBC driver or OLE DB provider to coordinate the flow of data between Excel, the connection file, and the data source.
The following diagram summarizes the key points about data connections. There are a variety of data sources that you can connect to: Analysis Services, SQL Server, Microsoft Office Access, other OLAP and relational databases, spreadsheets, and text files. Many data sources have an associated ODBC driver or OLE DB provider. A connection file defines all of the information that is needed to access and retrieve data from a data source. Connection information is copied from a connection file into a workbook and can be edited. The data is copied into a workbook so that you can use it just as you use data stored directly in the workbook.
You can create Office Data Connection (ODC) files (.odc) by connecting to external data through the Select Data Source dialog box or by using the Data Connection Wizard to connect to new data sources.
An ODC file uses custom HTML and XML tags to store the connection information.
You can easily convert other traditional connection files (DSN, UDL, and query files) to an ODC file by opening the connection file and then clicking the Export Connection File button on the Definition tab of the Connection Properties dialog box.
Query files are text files that contain data source information, including the name of the server where the data is located and the connection information that you provide when you create a data source.
After connecting to external data, you can also automatically refresh (or update) your Excel workbooks from the original data source whenever the data source is updated with new information.
Connection information is stored in the workbook and can also be stored in a connection file, such as an Office Data Connection (ODC) file (.odc) or a Data Source Name file (.dsn).
You can easily view or edit the contents of the file in Office Excel.