Internet, Networking, & Security Web Development How to Connect Microsoft Excel to an SQL Server A live connection to SQL Server keeps spreadsheet data fresh By Tim Perdue Writer Former Lifewire writer Tim Perdue is a leader in information technology with more than 20 years of IT experience in corporate IT and financial systems management. our editorial process Tim Perdue Updated January 21, 2020 Web Development SQL CSS & HTML Web Design Tweet Share Email Excel spreadsheets typically contain static information. With a connection to an SQL Server, data remains current when you work with a back-end database. It's simple to configure an Excel spreadsheet with a connection to an existing SQL database. Instructions in this article apply to Excel 2019, Excel 2016, and Excel for Office 365. Connect Excel to a SQL Server Database You must have a valid link to a SQL Server to connect with Excel. Collect the information needed to set up the Excel to SQL Server connection: SQL Server NameDatabase NameTable or View Open Excel and create a new workbook. Go to Data and select Get Data > From Database > From SQL Server Database. This option opens the Connect to Database Server dialog box. Enter the Server name. Specify advanced options, including a specific database name, then select OK. The next screen offers three options for authentication, based on the options in the right sidebar. In most cases, select the Windows tab then select the radio button for Use my current credentials. Select Connect. If the database administrator provided a username and password, select Use the following User Name and Password to enter the provided credentials. From the Navigator, pick a specific object, then select Load from the bottom of the screen. The wizard exits, displaying the contents of the selected database object. The nice thing about these techniques is that your user has access to current data whenever they need it. While the data is saved in the spreadsheet, there is a connection to the SQL Database. Anytime you want to refresh the spreadsheet, right-click somewhere in the table, select Table, and then select Refresh. Check the number of records that are in the table or view that you are connecting to. If the table has a million records, you might want to filter this down. The last thing you want to do is hang the SQL Server. In the Connection Properties dialog box, there is an option called Refresh data when opening the file. Consider checking this option. When this option is checked, the user will always have a fresh set of data when opening the Excel spreadsheet.