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Using Microsoft Query in Excel to Connect to USPS

This article uses the CData ODBC driver for USPS to import data in Excel with Microsoft Query. This article also demonstrates how to use parameters with Microsoft Query.

The CData ODBC driver for USPS uses the standard ODBC interface to link USPS data with applications like Microsoft Access and Excel. Follow the steps below to use Microsoft Query to import USPS data into a spreadsheet and provide values to a parameterized query from cells in a spreadsheet.

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.

To authenticate with USPS, set the following connection properties.

  • PostageProvider: The postage provider to use to process requests. Available options are ENDICIA and STAMPS. If unspecified, this property will default to ENDICIA.
  • UseSandbox: This controls whether live or test requests are sent to the production or sandbox servers. If set to true, the Password, AccountNumber, and StampsUserId properties are ignored.
  • StampsUserId: This value is used for logging into authentication to the Stamps servers. This value is not applicable for Endicia and is optional if UseSandbox is true.
  • Password: This value is used for logging into Endicia and Stamps servers. If the postage provider is Endicia, this will be the pass phrase associated with your postage account. It is optional if UseSandbox is true.
  • AccountNumber: The shipper's account number. It is optional if UseSandbox is true.
  • PrintLabelLocation: This property is required to use the GenerateLabels or GenerateReturnLabels stored procedures. This should be set to the folder location where generated labels should be stored.

The Cache Database

Many of the useful task available from USPS require a lot of data. To ensure this data is easy to input and recall later, utilize a cache database to make requests. Set the cache connection properties in order to use the cache:

  • CacheLocation: The path to the cache location, for which a connection will be configured with the default cache provider. For example, C:\users\username\documents\uspscache

As an alternative to CacheLocation, set the combination of CacheConnection and CacheProvider to configure a cache connection using a provider separate from the default.

You can then work with live USPS data in Excel.

  1. In Excel, open the Data tab and choose From Other Sources -> From Microsoft Query.
  2. Choose the USPS DSN. Select the option to use Query Wizard to create/edit queries.
  3. In the Query Wizard, expand the node for the table you would like to import into your spreadsheet. Select the columns you want to import and click the arrow to add them to your query. Alternatively, select the table name to add all columns for that table.
  4. The Filter Data page allows you to specify criteria. For example, you can limit results by setting a date range.
  5. If you want to use parameters in your query, select the option to edit the query in Microsoft Query.
  6. To set a parameter in the query, you will need to modify the SQL statement directly. To do this, click the SQL button in the Query Editor. If you set filter criteria earlier, you should have a WHERE clause already in the query.

    To use a parameter, use a "?" character as the wildcard character for a field's value in the WHERE clause. For example, if you are importing the Senders, you can set "SenderID=?".

  7. Close the SQL dialog when you are finished editing the SQL statement. You will be prompted to enter a parameter value. In the next step, you will select a cell to provide this value. So, leave the box in the dialog blank.
  8. Close Microsoft Query. The Import Data dialog is displayed. Enter a cell where results should be imported.

  9. Close the Import Data dialog. You will be prompted to enter a parameter value. Click the button next to the parameter box to select a cell. Select the option to automatically refresh the spreadsheet when the value changes.
The data is now imported into Excel. When you change the value in cell B1, the data will be filtered by the specified search criteria.