Here’s how you can connect Excel to an SQL database

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Welcome to the world of Excel-SQL connectivity. But where do you begin? Let’s find out.

Before we begin, if you are familiar with databases and spreadsheets, you may want to skip ahead a few sections.

What are the benefits of connecting Excel to an SQL Server?

Before we get stuck into the main topic, you might be wondering why you’d even bother trying to connect an Excel spreadsheet to an SQL database.

Well, you can take advantage of a database’s much better way of handling data and combine it with Excel’s much easier way of customizing, analyzing, formatting, and displaying data.

You get, in other words, the best of both worlds.

As we’ve previously written, spreadsheet applications like Microsoft Excel are excellent software for data collation and fundamental analysis. But it isn’t as powerful as a database like SQL Server in several ways, as you are about to find out.

We’ll cover the main points briefly below.

1. Data volume and data type handling are far superior with a database

One of the main benefits of a database is the sheer volume of data it can handle. If you have large data sets, then spreadsheets can struggle to handle it, and sharing such data is far from convenient when workbooks balloon it to megabytes.

Get the best of both worlds by connecting your spreadsheet to a database.

Because databases are far superior at storing information and can handle large amounts of information, they can reach sizes that would be far too much for a spreadsheet to handle. Spreadsheets also tend to have limits on how many records they can hold, but databases do not.

For information, according to Microsoft, Excel caps out at around 1,048,576 rows by 16,384 columns. Not only can databases surpass this, but they can also be accessed many times with little to no degradation in performance.

While a little harder to quantify in terms of rows (i.e., records), typical SQL servers can handle up to 2,147,483,647 objects of all kinds (tables, queries, all data from all forms,…

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About the Author: V. Moss