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Configure Excel Services data refresh by using external data connections in SharePoint Server 2013

SharePoint 2013
 

Applies to: SharePoint Server 2013

Topic Last Modified: 2013-12-18

Summary: Configure Excel Services data refresh by using Secure Store and an external Office Data Connection (ODC) file.

Excel Services in SharePoint Server 2013 provides three methods of using Secure Store Service to refresh the external data source in a workbook:

By using an ODC file for your data connection, you separate your Excel workbooks from the data connection information. This allows you to share a single ODC file among multiple workbooks and also allows you to centrally manage your data connections.

Using Excel Services with an ODC file consists of the following steps:

  1. Configure a data access account

  2. Create a SecureStore_2nd target application

  3. Create and publish an ODC file

  4. Configure an Excel_2nd_NoVer workbook to use the published ODC file as a data connection

You must have an account that can be granted access to the data source to which you want to connect your Excel workbook. This can be an Active Directory account, a SQL Server logon, or other set of credentials as required by your data source. This account will be stored in Secure Store.

After you have created the account, the next step is to grant that account read access to the required data. (in this article, we use the example of accessing a SQL Server database through an Active Directory account. If you are using a data source other than SQL Server, see the instructions for your data source to create a logon with data read permissions for the data access account.)

Follow these steps to create a SQL Server logon and grant Read access to the database.

To create a SQL Server logon for the data access account
  1. In SQL Server Management Studio, connect to the database engine.

  2. In Object Explorer, expand Security.

  3. Right-click Logins, and then click New Login.

  4. In the Login name box, type the name of the Active Directory account that you created for data access.

  5. In the Select a page section, click User Mapping.

  6. Select the Map check box for the database that you want to provide access to, and then, in the Database role membership for: <database> section, select the db_datareader check box.

  7. Click OK.

Now that you have created a data access account and granted it access to a data source, the next step is to create a Secure Store target application.

You must create a target application in Secure Store that contains the credentials that you created for data access. This target application can then be specified in an ODC file and will be used by Excel Services when it refreshes data in the workbook.

When you create the target application, you have to specify which users will be authorized to use the credentials stored in Secure Store. You can list users individually, or you can use an Active Directory group. We recommend that you use an Active Directory group for ease of administration.

NoteNote:
The users that you list in the target application do not have direct access to the stored credentials. Instead, Excel Services uses the credentials on their behalf to refresh data in data-connected workbooks that specify this target application.

Use the following procedure to create a Secure Store target application.

To create a target application
  1. On the the SharePoint Central Administration website home page, in the Application Management section, click Manage service applications.

  2. Click the Secure Store Service service application.

  3. On the ribbon, click New.

  4. In the Target Application ID box, type a unique identifier for this target application (for example, ExcelServicesDataAccess).

  5. In the Display Name box, type a friendly name or short description.

  6. In the Contact E-mail box, type the email address for a contact for this target application.

  7. In the Target Application Type drop-down list, select Group.

  8. Click Next.

  9. On the Credential Fields page, if you are using Windows credentials, leave the default credential fields. If you are using credentials other than Windows credentials, modify the Field Type drop-down list to comply with the credentials that you are using. Click Next.

  10. On the Specify the membership settings page:

    • In the Target Application Administrators box, type the account of the user who will administer this target application.

      NoteNote:
      You can specify multiple users or an Active Directory group.
    • In the Members box, type the users to whom you want to grant the ability to refresh data.

      NoteNote:
      You can specify multiple users or an Active Directory group.
  11. Click OK.

Use the following procedure to set the credentials for the target application.

To set the credentials for the target application
  1. On the Secure Store Service Application page, in the Target Application ID column, point to the target application that you just created, click the arrow that appears, and then click Set Credentials.

  2. Type the user name and password of the data access account.

  3. Click OK.

Once you have set the credentials for the target application, the target application is ready to use. The next step is to create an ODC file that specifies this target application for Excel Services data refresh.

Now that the Secure Store target application is configured, the next step is to create the ODC file and publish it to a trusted data connection library. Use the following procedure to create an ODC file that specifies the target application that you just created.

NoteNote:
The following procedures use Excel 2013. The procedures for Excel 2010 are similar.
To create and publish an ODC file
  1. In Excel, on the Data tab, in the Get External Data section, click From Other Sources, and then select your data source.

  2. Complete the wizard to create a data connection to your data source.

  3. On the Data tab, click Connections.

  4. On the Workbook Connections dialog box, select the connection that you just created, and then click Properties.

  5. On the Connection Properties dialog box, on the Definition tab, click Authentication Settings.

  6. On the Excel Services Authentication Settings dialog box, select the Use a stored account option, and in the Application ID box, type the Application ID of the Secure Store target application that you created.

    NoteNote:
    In Excel 2010, select the SSS option.
  7. Click OK.

  8. On the Connection Properties dialog box, click Export Connection File.

  9. Save the ODC file to a trusted data connection library on your farm.

In order for a workbook to use the ODC file that you just created, you must connect to it as a data source. Once it is connected, you can publish the workbook to a SharePoint Server 2013 document library and it will maintain its connection to the ODC file. Excel Services then uses the connection information specified in the ODC file when it refreshes data in the workbook.

Use the following procedure to connect to the ODC file in Excel.

To use an ODC file as a data source in Excel
  1. In Excel, on the Data tab, in the Get External Data section, click Existing Connections.

  2. On the Existing Connections dialog box, click Browse for More.

  3. On the Select Data Source dialog box, in the URL box, type the URL for the trusted data connection library where you saved the ODC file, and then press Enter.

    NoteNote:
    It may take several moments for the list to refresh with content from the specified location.
  4. On the list of Data Connections, select the ODC file that you saved, and then click Open.

  5. On the Import Data dialog box, select the PivotTable Report or PivotChart and PivotTable Report option, and then click OK.

  6. On the Data tab, click Connections.

  7. On the Workbook Connections dialog box, select the connection that you just opened, and then click Properties.

  8. On the Connection Properties dialog box, on the Definition tab, select the Always use connection file check box, and then click OK.

    NoteNote:
    This ensures that the connection file that you connected to will be used rather than the embedded connection information.
  9. Click Close.

Once you have completed the data connection wizard, you can create your report and then publish it to a document library. When the workbook is rendered using Excel Services, Excel Services uses the connection information specified in the ODC file to refresh the data.

NoteNote:
You must publish the workbook to an Excel Services trusted file location.

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