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Beginning SharePoint® 2007: Building Team Solutions with MOSS 2007 by Shane Perran, Amanda Murphy

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11.2. Data Connections

Excel has built-in support for data connections so that reports can display real-time information from business applications and information systems. This support is available for workbooks that you publish to Excel Services as well. By generating reports directly from business data, you ensure that the information is up-to-date and accurate versus if the information was manually entered into a workbook. Entering manual information can be very time-consuming and in some cases may be prone to error. Reports created based on external data connections to key business applications mean you reduce the amount of effort users have to dedicate to produce reports and help minimize the requirement for manual entry which can sometimes lead to errors.

Although previously Microsoft Office applications such as Excel and InfoPath supported data connections, users had to create their own individual data connections for each report or document. Chapter 10 looked at the creation of InfoPath forms. This meant repeating work to maintain similar information. Using SharePoint 2007, you can create a data connection library that has a shared repository of data connection files, which multiple reports and documents can share. If you need to make a change to the data source, you only need to update one file rather than every single report.

Although a data connection library is similar to all other document libraries in SharePoint, you don't manage documents; instead, the items are ...

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