Advanced Excel - External Data Connection


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Once you connect your Excel workbook to an external data source, such as a SQL Server database, Access database or another Excel workbook, you can keep the data in your workbook up to date by "refreshing" the link to its source. Each time you refresh the connection, you see the most recent data, including anything that is new or has been deleted.

Let us see how to refresh PowerPivot data.

Step 1 − Switch to the Data View.

Step 2 − Click on Refresh.

Step 3 − Click on Refresh All.

PowerPivot Refresh

The Data Refresh window appears showing all the Data Tables in the Data Model and tracking the refreshing progress. After the refresh is complete, the status is displayed.

PowerPivot data Refresh

Step 4 − Click on Close. The data in your Data Model is updated.

Update the Data Connections

Step 1 − Click any cell in the table that contains the link to the imported data file.

Step 2 − Click on the Data tab.

Step 3 − Click on Refresh All in Connections group.

Step 4 − In the drop-down list, click on Refresh All. All the data connections in the Workbook will be updated.

Connections Group

Automatically Refresh Data

Here we will learn how to refresh the data automatically when the workbook is opened.

Step 1 − Click any cell in the table that contains the link to the imported Data file.

Step 2 − Click on the Data tab.

Step 3 − Click on Connections in the Connections group. The Workbook Connections window appears.

Workbook Connections

Step 4 − Click on Properties. The Connection Properties Window appears.

Connection Properties

Step 5 − You will find a Usage tab and a Definition tab. Click on the Usage tab. The options for Refresh Control appear.

Refresh Control Options

Step 6 − Select Refresh data while opening the file.

You also have an option under this: ‘Remove data from the external data range before saving the workbook’. You can use this option to save the workbook with the query definition but without the external data.

Step 7 − Click OK.

Whenever you open your Workbook, the up-to-date data will be loaded into your Workbook.

Open Your Workbook

Automatically refresh data at regular intervals

Step 1 − Click any cell in the table that contains the link to the imported Data file.

Step 2 − Click on the Data tab.

Step 3 − Click on the Connections option in Connections group. A Workbook Connections window appears.

Step 4 − Click on Properties. A Connection Properties Window appears.

Step 5 − Click on the Usage tab. The options for Refresh Control appear.

Step 6 − Now, select “Refresh every” and enter 60 minutes between each refresh operation.

Step 7 − Click OK. Your data will be refreshed every 60 minute that is every hour.

Connection Properties Window

Enable Background Refresh

For very large data sets, consider running a background refresh. This returns the control of Excel to you instead of making you wait several minutes for the refresh to finish. You can use this option when you are running a query in the background. However, you cannot run a query for any connection type that retrieves data for the Data Model.

Step 1 − Click any cell in the table that contains the link to the imported Data file.

Step 2 − Click on the Data tab.

Step 3 − Click on Connections in the Connections group. The Workbook Connections window appears.

Step 4 − Click on Properties. Connection Properties Window appears.

Step 5 − Click on the Usage tab. The Refresh Control options appear.

Step 6 − Click on Enable background refresh and then click OK.

Enable background refresh


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