Connecting to External Data Sources in Excel

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Connecting to External Data Sources
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Although SharePoint presents you with a number of options for connecting to data sources, some are clearly better than others. First of all, although this might seem obvious, you have to make sure that the data resides in a shared server location. If it doesn t, everything will look great to you but no one else will be able to see it. Second, some of the data connection options are old-style 32-bit ODBC (Open DataBase Connectivity) connections. These rely on mapped network drives that aren t reliable. The mapping has to be identical for every user to access the data successfully. If you can avoid using ODBC connections, it s best to do so. You ll have the most success connecting to SharePoint lists, to Microsoft SQL Server databases, and to Microsoft Business Solutions data (for Great Plains data). You can also connect the data that resides in an Access or other database as long as it s saved in a shared network location, including on the SharePoint site itself. To connect to an external data source that is, any data source that isn t on the current web part page click the Connect to an External Data Source link. This opens the Connect Data Source dialog box. If you have an existing data source connection, specifically an Office Data Connection (ODC) file or a Data Retrieval Service Connection (OXDC) file, you can navigate to the data source and then select it. If you haven t created an existing data source connection file, you must create one by clicking the New Source button to launch the Data Connection Wizard.
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CHAPTER 9 USING SHAREPOINT S OFFICE WEB PARTS
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Creating a Data Connection to a SharePoint List To create a new data source connection to a SharePoint list, follow these steps: 1. In the first step of the Data Connection Wizard, select Data retrieval services. Click Next. 2. Select Windows SharePoint Services lists. Click Next. 3. Enter the address for the WSS or SPS site. The easiest way to do this is to open the site in a separate browser window, navigate to the site, copy the site address in the address bar (Ctrl+C), then paste it into this text box (Ctrl+V). Delete the specific reference to the home page in the address (for example, default.aspx). Click Next. 4. In the next step of the wizard, Select a Data Object, select the list you want to connect to. Click Next. 5. In the Select Fields step, select the fields you want to include in the connection from the list of available columns. You can select multiple noncontiguous columns by holding the Ctrl key. Click Add to add the columns or Add All if you want all the columns. Use the Remove and Remove All buttons to alter your selection. Click the Move Up and Move Down buttons to set the order of the columns as you want them to appear. Click Next. 6. To specify a sort criteria, select the columns you want to sort by. For each column in the Sort Order box, indicate if you want the sort order to be Ascending or Descending. You can change the sort order of the data in the web part. Click Next. 7. If you d like to retrieve only some of the records, enter filter criteria on the Specify Filter Criteria page, shown in Figure 9-6.
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CHAPTER 9 USING SHAREPOINT S OFFICE WEB PARTS
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Figure 9-6. Enter filter criteria on the Specify Filter Criteria page.
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a. Select the field name from the Field Name drop-down list. b. Select the comparison term. The available comparison terms vary depending on the type of field you ve selected. With Yes/No fields, for example, the options are Equal To, Not Equal To, Is Null, and Is Not Null. c. Select or enter a value to compare the contents of the field to. Again, the choices here might be limited based on the comparison. With Yes/No fields, the options are True or False. d. To enter additional filter criteria, select And or Or and enter a second filter statement. Click Next. 8. Indicate if you d like to limit the number of rows the data connection retrieves. You might want to do this with large databases where a sample of data is sufficient to do the analysis you need. If you choose Yes, you must enter a number of rows you want to retrieve. Click Next.
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