Perform a one-time data transfer (Get External Data)


Starting with Windows Vista, Microsoft does not support DDE on a network anymore. However, you can create DDE links on a local computer.

A one-time data transfer, also called a "cold link", lets you bring data into Minitab that are not automatically updated when the original data change. You can use this DDE command in place of copying and pasting, or in any type of macro. This dialog does not generate session commands.


For a one-time data transfer, it is often easier just to copy and paste the data, rather than using DDE.

  1. Choose Edit > Worksheet Links > Get External Data.
  2. In Application, enter the name of the application that you are linking to. Usually, the application name is the name of the .EXE file that starts the program, minus the .EXE extension.
  3. In Topic, enter the name of the file or document that contains the data. The topic name depends on the type of application. In applications that use documents or data files, the topic is often the name of the file. For example, the topic for a Microsoft Word document might be mywork.docx. The file name can also include a path, as in C:\MYWORK\MYWORK.DOCX. If one file can contain many documents or subwindows, the topic can be the name of the file in brackets, followed by the name of the document or window. For example, Minitab projects can contain many worksheets, so a typical topic would be [minitab] worksheet 1.
  4. In Item, enter an ID for the specific data. The item ID depends on the type of application. In Minitab, the item always specifies a row/column location or rectangular area in the form, R4C1:R4C2. For example, to use all of Minitab column 1, enter C1, and, to use the cell in row 4 and column 1, enter R4C1. Most spreadsheets use close variants of this format for items.
  5. In Anchor column, enter the number of the first column in the Minitab worksheet where you want to put the data. You only need to specify the first column. If the item references more than one column of data, other columns are inserted after the anchor column.
  6. In Update method, select the way the data are entered into Minitab:
    • Append: Add data to the end of the column or columns.
    • Replace: Replace the contents of the column or columns with the new data.
  7. Click OK.