Edit and Search External Excel Objects in Salesforce Connect

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CData Connect Server


Use CData Connect Server to securely provide OData feeds of Excel data to smart devices and cloud-based applications. Use the CData Connect and Salesforce Connect to create Excel objects that you can access from apps and the dashboard.

CData Connect Server, enables you to access Excel data from cloud-based applications like the Salesforce console and mobile applications like the Salesforce1 Mobile App. In this article, you will use CData Connect Server and Salesforce Connect to access external Excel objects alongside standard Salesforce objects.

Configuring Connect Server

To work with live Excel data in Salesforce Connect, we need to connect to Excel from Connect Server, provide user access to the new virtual database, and create OData endpoints for the Excel data.

Add a Connect Server User

Create a User to connect to Excel from Reveal through Connect Server.

  1. Click Users -> Add
  2. Configure a User
  3. Click Save Changes and make note of the Authtoken for the new user

Connect to Excel from Connect Server

CData Connect Server uses a straightforward, point-and-click interface to connect to data sources and generate APIs.

  1. Open Connect Server and click Databases
  2. Select "Excel" from Available Data Sources
  3. Enter the necessary authentication properties to connect to Excel.

    The ExcelFile, under the Authentication section, must be set to a valid Excel File.

  4. Click Test Database
  5. Click Privileges -> Add and add the new user (or an existing user) with the appropriate permissions (SELECT is all that is required for Reveal).

Add Excel OData Endpoints in Connect Server

After connecting to Excel, create OData Endpoints for the desired table(s).

  1. Click OData -> Tables -> Add Tables
  2. Select the Excel database
  3. Select the table(s) you wish to work with and click Next
  4. (Optional) Edit the table definition to select specific fields and more
  5. Save the settings

(Optional) Configure Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS)

When accessing and connecting to multiple different domains, there is a possibility of violating the limitations of cross-site scripting. In that case, configure the CORS settings in OData -> Settings.

  • Enable cross-origin resource sharing (CORS): ON
  • Allow all domains without '*': ON
  • Access-Control-Allow-Methods: GET, PUT, POST, OPTIONS
  • Access-Control-Allow-Headers: Authorization

Save the changes to the settings.

Connect to Excel Data as an External Data Source

Follow the steps below to connect to the feed produced by the API Server.

  1. Log into Salesforce and click Setup -> Integrations -> External Data Sources.
  2. Click New External Data Source.
  3. Enter values for the following properties:
    • External Data Source: Enter a label to be used in list views and reports.
    • Name: Enter a unique identifier.
    • Type: Select the option "Salesforce Connect: OData 4.0".
    • URL: Enter the URL to the OData endpoint of the API Server. The format of the OData URL is CONNECT_SERVER_URL/api.rsc/

  4. Select the Writable External Objects option.
  5. Select JSON in the Format menu.

  6. In the Authentication section, set the following properties:
    • Identity Type: If all members of your organization will use the same credentials to access the API Server, select "Named Principal". If the members of your organization will connect with their own credentials, select "Per User".
    • Authentication Protocol: Select Password Authentication to use basic authentication.
    • Certificate: Enter or browse to the certificate to be used to encrypt and authenticate communications from Salesforce to your server.
    • Username: Enter the username for a user known to CData Connect Server.
    • Password: Enter the user's authtoken.

Synchronize Excel Objects

After you have created the external data source, follow the steps below to create Excel external objects that reflect any changes in the data source. You will synchronize the definitions for the Excel external objects with the definitions for Excel tables.

  1. Click the link for the external data source you created.
  2. Click Validate and Sync.
  3. Select the Excel tables you want to work with as external objects.

Access Excel Data as Salesforce Objects

After adding Excel data as an external data source and syncing Excel tables as external objects, you can use the external Excel objects just as you would standard Salesforce objects.

  • Create a new tab with a filter list view:

  • Create reports of external objects:

  • Create, update, and delete Excel objects from the Salesforce dashboard:

Simplified Access to Excel Data from Applications

At this point, you have a direct connection to live Excel data from Salesforce. For more information on gaining simplified access to data from more than 100 SaaS, Big Data, and NoSQL sources in applications like Salesforce, refer to our Connect Server page.