ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) is a protocol that many applications use to import data from database files. With ODBC, you can collect data in a database application such as Microsoft® Access or dBase, and then import the data into Minitab.


Use ODBC to import data from a database application (such as Access™ or SQL) 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 uses ODBC to import the data for a certain range of dates into Minitab for analysis.

With ODBC, the link is not dynamic, which means that you must execute the command every time that you want the data exchange to happen. However, you can incorporate ODBC queries into a macro, so that you can easily execute the command repeatedly.

Requirements for using ODBC in Minitab

To use ODBC in Minitab, you must 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 a database query. To open the ODBC Data Source Administrator from within Minitab, choose File > Query Database (ODBC). To open the Windows version of the ODBC Data Source Administrator, in your Control Panel, locate and open Administrative Tools, then open Data Sources (ODBC).
An ODBC driver
You must have the driver for the type of database (such as Access™) that you want to connect to. Some drivers might already be installed on your computer. Add a driver using the driver's setup program, not from within the ODBC Data Source Administrator. You can obtain ODBC drivers from the database application's website.
A data source
An ODBC data source stores the technical information that is needed to access the data, such as the driver name, network address, and so on. Some data sources might 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 you can share with other people.
  • Machine data source: The data source information is specific to the computer, and you cannot share it with other people. The two types of machine data sources are System and User. User data sources can be used by only one user on the computer. System data sources can be used by all users on the computer, or by a system-wide service.

To create a system DSN (machine data source) using the Windows ODBC Data Source Administrator, you must use the ODBC Data Source Administrator that matches the number of bits for your version of Minitab.

  • The 32-bit version of the Odbcad32.exe file is located in the %systemdrive%\Windows\SysWoW64 folder.
  • The 64-bit version of the Odbcad32.exe file is located in the %systemdrive%\Windows\System32 folder.
To view the number of bits for an installation of Minitab, choose Help > About Minitab.

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 Minitab converts field types to column types.

Database field type Minitab column type Notes
Memo and Text Text Minitab truncates values that are longer than 80 characters.
Numeric, Currency, and Counter Numeric  
Yes/No Numeric

Minitab converts "Yes" values to 1s.

Minitab converts "No" values to 0s.

Logical (true/false) Numeric

Minitab converts true values to 1s.

Minitab converts false values to 0s.

Date/Time Date/Time  
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