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Excel® 2007 Bible by John Walkenbach

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Chapter 33. Using Microsoft Query with External Database Files

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Excel has some great analysis and presentation tools, but these tools require data. In many cases, the data that you need is available in an external database. For example, your company may have a database that contains customer information, sales data, and so on. This chapter is an introduction to retrieving data from external database files for use in Excel.

Understanding External Database Files

When you work with an Excel workbook, the entire workbook must be loaded into memory before you can begin working. Although loading all the data provides you with immediate access to the entire file and all the data it contains, it also means that you can’t work with extremely large amounts of data. Although Excel 2007 supports more than a million rows, actually using that many rows can slow your system to a crawl—even if your system has plenty of memory.

When you access an external database file using Excel, you can perform a query to load just a subset of the data into your workbook.

Accessing external database files from Excel is useful in the following situations:

  • You need to work with a subset of a very large database.

  • You share the database with others; that is, other users have access to the database and may need to work with the data at the same time.

  • The database is in a format ...

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