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Tip of the Month (February 2009)

Visual CE and mEnable Access to Microsoft Excel Files

Starting in Visual CE version 12.0 and mEnable version 3.3, we have made some changes to our products to work around some of the quirks in the Excel ODBC driver and, consequently, there are now many cases where the Visual CE synchronizer and mEnable can directly access an Excel spreadsheet.

However, there are some limitations:

  • If you create a new record in the Excel file, it must not be a duplicate of some other record already in the table.
  • Record deletions on the handheld cannot be propagated to the desktop.
  • Multiple handhelds synchronizing to the same desktop table is not supported.

By default, Visual CE will not work with Excel Files, but you can enable this by changing a file called WCEODBC.INI that is in the windows folder of your desktop machine. Using a text editor (such as notepad), change:





  • When creating an Excel ODBC Data Source, be sure to click on "Options" and turn off the "Read Only" option (by default "Read Only" is on).
  • You need to define the table in the spreadsheet. To do this, open the spreadsheet in Excel and do the following:
    1. Select the region containing the data
    2. Select INSERT | NAME | DEFINE from from the menu bar.
    For more details, consult your Microsoft Excel documentation.

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