Use the CData ODBC Driver for Excel Online in SAS for Real-Time Reporting and Analytics

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Excel Online ODBC Driver

The Excel Online ODBC Driver is a powerful tool that allows you to connect with live Excel Online data, directly from any applications that support ODBC connectivity.

Access Excel Online Spreadsheet data like you would a database - read, write, and update data through a standard ODBC Driver interface.



Connect to real-time Excel Online data in SAS for reporting, analytics, and visualizations using the CData ODBC Driver for Excel Online.

SAS is a software suite developed for advanced analytics, multivariate analysis, business intelligence, data management, and predictive analytics. When you pair SAS with the CData ODBC Driver for Excel Online, you gain database-like access to live Excel Online data from SAS, expanding your reporting and analytics capabilities. This articles walks through creating a library for Excel Online in SAS and creating a simple report based on real-time Excel Online data.

The CData ODBC Driver offers unmatched performance for interacting with live Excel Online data in SAS due to optimized data processing built into the driver. When you issue complex SQL queries from SAS to Excel Online, the driver pushes supported SQL operations, like filters and aggregations, directly to Excel Online and utilizes the embedded SQL engine to process unsupported operations (often SQL functions and JOIN operations) client-side. With built-in dynamic metadata querying, you can easily visualize and analyze Excel Online data in SAS.

Connect to Excel Online as an ODBC Data Source

Information for connecting to Excel Online follows, along with different instructions for configuring a DSN in Windows and Linux environments (the ODBC Driver for Excel Online must be installed on the machine hosting the SAS System).

You can connect to a workbook by providing authentication to Excel Online and then setting the following properties:

  • Workbook: Set this to the name or Id of the workbook.

    If you want to view a list of information about the available workbooks, execute a query to the Workbooks view after you authenticate.

  • UseSandbox: Set this to true if you are connecting to a workbook in a sandbox account. Otherwise, leave this blank to connect to a production account.

You use the OAuth authentication standard to authenticate to Excel Online. See the Getting Started section in the help documentation for a guide. Getting Started also guides you through executing SQL to worksheets and ranges.

When you configure the DSN, you may also want to set the Max Rows connection property. This will limit the number of rows returned, which is especially helpful for improving performance when designing reports and visualizations.

Windows

If you have not already, first specify connection properties in an ODBC DSN (data source name). This is the last step of the driver installation. You can use the Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator to create and configure ODBC DSNs.

Linux

If you are installing the CData ODBC Driver for Excel Online in a Linux environment, the driver installation predefines a system DSN. You can modify the DSN by editing the system data sources file (/etc/odbc.ini) and defining the required connection properties.

/etc/odbc.ini

[CData ExcelOnline Sys] Driver = CData ODBC Driver for Excel Online Description = My Description

For specific information on using these configuration files, please refer to the help documentation (installed and found online).

Create a Excel Online Library in SAS

Connect to Excel Online in SAS by adding a library based on the CData ODBC Driver for Excel Online.

  1. Open SAS and expand Libraries in the Explorer pane.
  2. In the Active Libraries window, right-click and select New.
  3. Name your library (odbclib), select ODBC as the Engine, and click to Enable at startup (if you want the library to persist between sessions).
  4. Set Data Source to the DSN you previously configured and click OK.

Create a View from a Excel Online Query

SAS natively supports querying data either using a low-code, point-and-click Query tool or programmatically with PROC SQL and a custom SQL query. When you create a View in SAS, the defining query is executed each time the view is queried. This means that you always query live Excel Online data for reports, charts, and analytics.

Using the Query Tool

  1. In SAS, click Tools -> Query
  2. Select the table sources and the table(s) you wish to pull data from. Then, click OK.
  3. Select columns and right-click to add filtering, ordering, grouping, etc.
  4. Create a local view to contain the query results by right-clicking the SQL Query Tool window, selecting Show Query, and clicking Create View. Name the View and click OK.

Using PROC SQL

  1. In SAS, navigate to the Editor window.
  2. Use PROC SQL to query the data and create a local view.
    NOTE: This procedure creates a view in the Work library. You can optionally specify a library in the create view statement.
    proc sql;
      create view test_xlsx_sheet1_view as
      select 
        id, 
        column1 
      from 
        odbclib.test_xlsx_sheet1 
      where 
        Column2 = 'Bob';
    quit;
    
  3. Click Run -> Submit to execute the query and create a local view.

Report On or Visualize Excel Online Data in SAS

With a local view created, you can report, visualize, or otherwise analyze Excel Online data using the powerful SAS features. Print a simple report using PROC PRINT and create a basic graph based on the data using PROC GCHART.

Print an HTML Report

  1. In SAS, navigate to the Editor window.
  2. Use PROC PRINT to print an HTML report for the Excel Online Test_xlsx_Sheet1 data.
    proc print data=test_xlsx_sheet1;
      title "Excel Online Test_xlsx_Sheet1 Data";
    run;
    

Print a Chart

  1. In SAS, navigate to the Editor window.
  2. Use PROC GCHART to create a chart for the Test_xlsx_Sheet1 data.
    proc gchart data=test_xlsx_sheet1;
      pie id / sumvar=column1
          value=arrow
          percent=arrow
          noheading
          percent=inside plabel=(height=12pt)
          slice=inside value=none
          name='Test_xlsx_Sheet1Chart';
    run;