Chapter 9. OPC to Excel

Table of Contents

9.1. Getting Data into Excel
9.1.1. Method 1 - Drag and Drop using DDEAdvise
9.1.2. Method 2 - Excel Macros using DDERequest
9.2. Getting Data out of Excel
9.2.1. Method 1 - Configuring DDEAdvise loops in the OPC DataHub
9.2.2. Method 2 - Writing Excel macros that use the DDEPoke command
9.3. Example
9.4. Working with Ranges
9.4.1. Getting a Range out of Excel
9.4.2. Getting a Range into Excel
9.4.3. Sample Excel Macros for Arrays

You can use the OPC DataHub to put OPC data into Excel, and to write data back to an OPC server or client.

The following sections explain how to drag and drop live OPC data into Excel, how to configure the OPC DataHub to receive data, and how to use Excel macros for sending and receiving data between Excel and the DataHub.


You can use OPC Bridging to link points from Excel to an OPC server or client without changing or assigning point names in Excel. Please refer to Section 4.4.4, “Bridging to Excel” for details.

9.1. Getting Data into Excel

Before starting, to see any results you will have to ensure that you have some kind of data being fed into the OPC DataHub. If your system isn't set up for this yet, you can create a local data feed by following the steps outlined in Section 1.2, “Test with simulated data”.

There are two ways to get data into Excel from the OPC DataHub: by setting up a DDEAdvise loop to receive data automatically, or by using a DDERequest command from a macro to read data. Deciding which to use depends on your situation. We suggest you become familiar with both. For more information about DDE and these commands, please refer to Section 17.3.3, “DDE Protocol” and Appendix G, DDE Overview.

9.1.1. Method 1 - Drag and Drop using DDEAdvise

The easiest way to get data into Excel is to drag and drop point names from the DataHub Data Browser directly into the Excel spreadsheet. This automatically sets up a DDEAdvise loop between Excel and the DataHub. DDEAdvise loops update automatically so you will always see the latest data in your spreadsheet.

  1. Right click on the OPC DataHub system-tray icon and choose Properties.
  2. In the Properties window, select DDE .
  3. Ensure that the box Act as a DDE server is checked, and that the name datahub appears in the DDE Service Name area. If not, click the Add... button and add the name datahub.
  4. Click OK to close the Properties window.
  5. Right click on the OPC DataHub system-tray icon and choose View Data from the pop-up menu to open the Data Browser.
  6. Ensure that the Drag & Drop Style at the bottom of the Data Browser is set to MS-Office (Excel/Word).
  7. Open an Excel worksheet.
  8. In the Data Browser, click on the label for a point and drag it into the Excel worksheet.
    You should see the data update in the worksheet at the same rate it is updating in the OPC DataHub.

    You can select multiple points for drag and drop by using Shift-click or Ctrl-click.


    You can drag and drop timestamps and other attributes of a point using the Property dropdown list. Please refer to Drag and Drop Style and Property in the Data Browser section for more details.


    If your data displays but does not update, you might need to change your settings in Excel. Please refer to Chapter 22, Troubleshooting for more information.


When you save and close a spreadsheet connected to the OPC DataHub, and then attempt to reopen it, you may get one or more messages, depending on your security settings in Excel, or other circumstances. Here's a summary of each message, and what to do:

This document contains macros. Enable them?

Click Enable Macros.

This workbook contains links. Update them?

Click Update. If the DataHub is already running, all the links should then update automatically. If the DataHub is not running, you will get a #REF! entry in each cell that has an advise loop established with the DataHub, and the next message (see below) will probably appear.

Remote data not accessible. Start DataHub?

Click No. At this point the best thing to do is close the worksheet, start the DataHub manually, and then reopen the worksheet. When you update the spreadsheet (see above) this time you won't get any #REF! entries. If, instead of No you click Yes at this point, the DataHub will not start, but instead generate an error message, and Excel may even crash later on.

9.1.2. Method 2 - Excel Macros using DDERequest

Sometimes, you may prefer to manually read data into your spreadsheet, rather than use a DDEAdvise loop to constantly accept new values. It may be that you intend to print reports only a couple of times a day and don't need to see every point change in between. You can have Excel read specific data points from the OPC DataHub at your request by triggering the DDERequest command from within a macro.

Using DDERequest within a macro gives you complete control over when Excel reads new point values, and lets you read several data points at one time. To run the macro, it is convenient to link it to a control button. This is explained in Add a Control Button. Create a macro

  1. Open a spreadsheet.
  2. From the Tools menu, select Macro, and then Macros....
  3. In the Macro Name: field of the Macro dialog box, type the name GetInput, and press the Create button.
  4. In the Visual Basic text entry window that comes up, edit the macro to read as follows:
    ' GetInput Macro
    Sub GetInput()
        mychannel = DDEInitiate("datahub", "default")
        newval = DDERequest(mychannel, "my_pointname")
        Sheet1.Cells(2, 3) = newval
        DDETerminate mychannel
    End Sub

    Use the name of your data point from the OPC DataHub for my_pointname.


    We use cell C2 in this example. If you need to use another cell, you will have to replace (2, 3) with the row and column numbers of the cell you wish to use.

  5. Save and close the Visual Basic text entry window. Add a Control Button

  1. Activate the Forms toolbar by clicking on the View menu and selecting Toolbars, and then Forms.
  2. Click on the button icon, and then click in cell D2. (We use this cell in our example, but you can choose another cell if you'd like.) An Assign Macro window should appear.
  3. Select GetInput and click OK.
  4. Change the label on the button to "Get".
  5. For appearance, you can move the button, resize it with the handles, and change the size of the text by right-clicking on it and selecting Format Control.
  6. Save the spreadsheet. Receive the data

  1. Now you're ready to receive the data. Open the DataHub Data Browser if it is not already open, go to the default data domain, and find the name of the point.
  2. Click on the point to highlight it. The point name should appear in the Selected Point: field at the top of the Data Browser.
  3. Type a new value for the point into the Enter new value: field and press Enter.
  4. Go to Excel and click the Get button. You should see the data update each time you click the button.