What is ODBC?

ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) is a protocol shared by many applications that lets you import data from database files and systems. With ODBC, you can collect data in a database application such as Access or SQL, then import the data into Minitab to analyze it.

ODBC lets you specify a subset of data to import. For example, a technical support department uses a database to track the number of phone calls, voice mails, and emails per day. The manager can use ODBC to import the data for a certain data range into Minitab for analysis.

With ODBC, the link is not dynamic; you must execute the command when you want the data exchange to happen. However, you can incorporate ODBC queries into a macro, so that you can easily repeat the process.

Requirements for using ODBC in Minitab

To use ODBC in Minitab, you need to have the following items on your computer. For more information, contact your database system administrator.

The ODBC Data Source Administrator (utility)
Use the ODBC Data Source Administrator to build and execute your database queries. To open the ODBC Data Source Administrator from within Minitab, choose File > Query Database. To open the Windows version of theODBC Data Source Administrator, in your Control Panel locate and open Adminitrative Tools, and then open Data Sources (ODBC).
An ODBC driver
You must have the driver for the type of database you want to connect to; for example, Microsoft Access. Some drivers may already be installed on your computer. Add a driver using the driver's setup program, not from within the ODBC Data Source Administrator. ODBC drivers can be obtained from the database application's website.
A Data Source
An ODBC data source stores the technical information needed to access the data, such as the driver name, network address, and so on. Some data sources may already be set up on your computer. New data sources are defined in the ODBC Data Source Administrator, either in Minitab or in Windows. You can have the following types of data sources:
  • File Data Source: The data source information is stored in a .dsn file which can be shared with others.
  • Machine Data Source: The data source information is specific to the computer and cannot be shared. There are two types of machine data sources: System and User. User data sources are available only to a particular user on the computer. System data sources can be used by all users on the computer, or by a system-wide service.

If you have a 64-bit release of Windows and you want to create a system DSN (machine data source) using the Windows ODBC Data Source Administrator, you must use the 32-bit ODBC Data Source Administrator. To start this administrator, browse to C:\Windows\SysWOW64\odbcad32.exe.

How Minitab converts ODBC data

Minitab imports database records as rows. Minitab imports the fields in the records as columns. Minitab puts the imported data to the right of any data that is already in the worksheet. The following table shows how field types are converted to column types.

Database field type Imported as Minitab column type Notes
Memo and Text Text Values longer than 80 characters are truncated.
Numeric, Currency, and Counter Numeric  
Yes/No Numeric

"Yes" values converted to 1

"No" values converted to 0

Logical (true/false) Numeric

True values converted to 1

False values converted to 0

Date/Time Date/Time  
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