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5 Things You Need to Know About IBM i to Excel Data Transfer

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There are changes coming if your shop is running an AS400 or iSeries or Power System with IBM i and uses the Excel data transfer function that comes with IBM i Access for Windows (AS400, iSeries) .

Recent versions of the Excel data transfer add-in aren’t compatible with Microsoft Excel 2013. IBM is no longer supporting the data transfer add-in, and IBM’s stated direction is for users to run another product for Excel 2013 data transfer and future Excel integration.

Here are five things you need to know about the IBM i-to-Excel data transfer feature and what your shop may need to change in the near future.

1. IBM i Access for Windows has traditionally provided capabilities to export and import DB2 UDB data to Excel spreadsheets…but that’s changing.

IBM i Access for Windows and its predecessor products have provided Excel import and export capability for companies running AS400, iSeries or Power Systems with IBM i for years, primarily through the Excel data transfer add-in that comes with the product.  But IBM is changing its strategic direction for IBM I to Excel data transfer. It is recommending customers start using an alternative to the old Excel data transfer add-in for Excel 2013 and beyond compatibility.

2. IBM i Access for Windows Excel data transfer capabilities need tweaking when changing Excel or IBM i Access versions.

Over the last two releases, IBM i Access for Windows users have had to modify their client setups to make the Excel data transfer add-in work with Excel 2007 and Excel 2010.

Starting with V6R1 System i Access for Windows, IBM phased out using the Excel Software Development Kit (Excel SDK) for the Excel data transfer add-in and replaced it with a new add-in based on Microsoft’s Component Object Model (COM). The Excel SDK version was not compatible with Excel 2007.

The result is you have to swap out components of your Excel data transfer add-in when 1) you’re migrating users from an older version of Excel to Excel 2007 or 2010; or 2) you’re moving up to IBM i Access for Windows V6R1 or V7R1. IBM provides instructions for modifying an Excel data transfer set-up at its COM-Based Microsoft Excel Data Transfer Add-In for V6R1 and beyond Web site.

3. The Excel Data Transfer Add-in is not supported with Excel 2013 and Office 365.

IBM has encountered compatibility issues when launching the Data Transfer add-in in Excel 2013 and Office 365 (which also uses Excel 2013). Details can be found at the IBM i Access for Windows Data Transfer and Excel 2013 WebsiteIBM is not rewriting the Excel data transfer that comes with IBM i Access for Windows 7.1 (based on the V6R1 version) and the add-in will not be rewritten for future versions of Excel. As a result, IBM is no longer supporting the data transfer add-in for Excel 2013 and Office 365.

4. IBM’s strategic direction for Excel data exchange is to use an alternative to IBM i Access for Windows data transfer.

IBM’s strategic direction for Excel 2013 and Office 365 compatibility is to use the data transfer capabilities in its IBM i Access Client Solutions package. But that may not be your only option.

5. There are many third-party packages that provide IBM I to Excel export and import capability.

With IBM changing direction on how it supports Excel data transfer, now is a good time to look at third-party packages that also import and export IBM I (also AS400 and iSeries) data to and from Excel spreadsheets. 

Check out my DBXFlex query tool and report writer software, that provides comparable or better capabilities for exchanging data between IBM i (also AS400 or iSeries) and Excel. Many packages provide benefits that IBM doesn’t offer, such as automatically exporting spooled file report data into Excel formats using DRV Tech’s SpoolFlex spooled file distribution software. Several of these packages are affordable and fairly priced for your budget.

If you need to change your IBM I to Excel data transfer technology for Excel 2013, it’s worthwhile to look at all the available solutions, whether they come from IBM or not.

Contact us at DRV Tech if you’d like more information about your changing Excel data transfer options and what to do about them.

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