Wednesday, September 28, 2011

SQL SERVER – Find Last Day of Any Month

Following script demonstrates the script to find last day of previous, current and next month.

----Last Day of Previous Month
----Last Day of Current Month
----Last Day of Next Month

2007-07-31 23:59:59.000

2007-08-31 23:59:59.000

2007-09-30 23:59:59.000

If you want to find last day of month of any day specified use following script.
--Last Day of Any Month and Year
SET @dtDate '8/18/2007'

2007-08-31 23:59:59.000

Monday, September 12, 2011

How to use a driver ODBC 32 BITS under the Window 2003(64 bits)?

  • You have a Windows 2003 server (64-bits) and you want to use a 32 bits ODBC driver: one that is usually found in the administrative panel for ODBC on Windows or an external ODBC driver
  • Well if you open the board of directors of HBO Windows 2003 server 64, you may not find most of your usual drivers.
  • Similarly if you install an ODBC driver external 32-bit installation will go well but you probably do not see in the panel.
  • However if you open the administrative panel ODBC under Windows 2003 (64 bits), you may not find all your usual drivers.
  • Note that you may not find external drivers (32 bits) in the panel even it gets installed on your computer.
  • In fact, the boards of directors of the pilots 64-bit and 32 bit are separated on this version of Windows. One you find through administrative tools, the panel for 64-bit
  • The administrative panels for 64 bits and 32 bits drivers are separate on the windows. In the windows 2003 (64 bits), you will find the panel for ODBC 64 bits.
  • To access the panel 32 bits drivers, your should run the following command :
    •   c:\windows\syswow64\odbcad32.exe

32-Bit ODBC Drivers in Windows Server 2008 R2

Being a database guy, one of the issues I noticed right away was that the ODBC Data Source Administrator accessible via Control Panel / Administrative Tools is the 64-bit version and can only be used to setup connections for 64-bit ODBC drivers. Not only was the 64-bit version missing the Postgres driver I had just installed, there were no drivers at all other than SQL Server…

It turns out that there are are two, entirely identical ODBC tools and the one that most of us will end up using initially (unless we're lucky enough to have an all 64-bit architecture) is kept in the basement that is the c:\Windows folder. The 32-bit ODBC Data Source Administrator can be found by going to the Start Menu, selecting Run and executing c:\Windows\SysWOW64\odbcad32.exe as follows…

Once launched, you'll see a tool that appears to be identical in every way, except that the 'missing' ODBC drivers are now available…

Please note that you can't run both 32-bit and 64-bit tools at the same time so please make sure you close the 64-bit one first, it's also worth bearing in mind that if you're running 32-bit applications they will probably be looking for 32-bit DSNs so even if you can get a 64-bit driver for your data source it doesn't mean that it's the right thing to do.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Retrieving Data From Excel


Anyone who's ever used a computer for a significant amount of time has probably come into contact with Excel, the spreadsheet application part of the Microsoft Office suite. Its main purposes are to perform calculations and create charts and pivot tables for analysis.

But people have great imagination and invent new uses for it every day.  I've even seen it used as a picture album.  (Sorry dad, but I know you won't be reading this anyway. )  Ever since he had this specific YACI, or "Yet Another Computer Issue", because his PC wasn't powerful enough to open his 45 MB Excel file, uh, "picture collection", he took some evening classes.  He's now putting his Photoshopped pictures in PowerPoint…  Anyway, let's get back on track now.

Another use, and the one that's the subject of this article, is when Excel has been used as a database.  Come on, you know what I'm talking about, with the first row containing the column headers followed by possibly thousands of data rows.  The following screenshot contains an example, and is also the file that I will be using in this article.  I took all records from the Production.Product table in the AdventureWorks 2008R2 database and dumped them in Excel.

An Excel sheet used as a data store

At some point people will realize, either because someone told them or because they lost some data due to inattentiveness, that it wasn't a really good idea to keep all that data in an Excel sheet.  And they'll ask you to put it in a real database such as SQL Server.

That's what I'm going to show you in the next paragraphs: how to import data from Excel into SQL Server.

Using OPENROWSET() To Query Excel Files

There are actually several different ways to achieve this.  In this article I will use the OPENROWSET() function.  This is a T-SQL function that can be used to access any OLE DB data source.  All you need is the right OLE DB driver.  The oldest version which I could confirm that contains this function is SQL Server 7.0, good enough to say that any version supports it.

My sample Excel files are located in C:\temp\.  This folder contains two files: Products.xls and Products.xlsx.  The first file is saved in the old format, Excel 97-2003, while the second file was saved from Excel 2010.  Both files contain the same data.  The sheet containing the list of products is called ProductList.

And here are the queries:

  --Excel 2007-2010 SELECT * --INTO #productlist FROM OPENROWSET('Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.12.0',     'Excel 12.0 Xml;HDR=YES;Database=C:\temp\Products.xlsx',     'SELECT * FROM [ProductList$]');  --Excel 97-2003 SELECT * --INTO #productlist FROM OPENROWSET('Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0',     'Excel 8.0;HDR=YES;Database=C:\temp\Products.xls',     'select * from [ProductList$]');

These queries are just returning the data from the Excel file into the Results window, when executed using the Management Studio.  To insert the data into a table, uncomment the INTO clause.  When uncommented, the statement retrieves the data from the Excel sheet and puts it into a newly-created local temporary tablecalled #productlist.

Furthermore, the query assumes that the first row contains the header.  If that's not the case, replace HDR=YES with HDR=NO.

Note: if you get an error message when running the query, look further down in this article.  I've covered a couple of them.

With the INTO clause uncommented and the query executed, the temporary table can now be queried just like any other table:

  SELECT * FROM #productlist


Let's have a look if this method of using a SELECT INTO in combination with OPENROWSET and a temporary table is smart enough to interpret the correct data types of the data coming in.  Use the following command to describe the metadata of the temporary table:

  USE tempdb; GO sp_help '#productlist';

Because a temporary table is stored in the tempdb, the sp_help command should be issued against that database.

Here's the part of the output in which we're interested:

The data types used when combining OPENROWSET with SELECT INTO

As you can see, anything that looks like text will be put in a field of type nvarchar(510) and anything that looks like a number (integers, floating-point numbers, datetime values, …) is put into a float(53).  Not a lot of intelligence there.  This is the result when no formatting was put on the cells in Excel.

As an experiment I've changed the format of some fields in the Excel file and then retried the SELECT INTO statement.  What did I change?  I identified ProductID as being a number without any decimals, changedStandardCost and ListPrice to a currency with four decimal digits and I changed SellStartDate and SellEndDate to a custom date/time format showing both date and time.

The effect on the table creation was not completely as I would have expected:

SELECT INTO with some field types changed

ProductID is still being stored into a float field, even though in Excel it's defined as having no decimals.  And the datetime values are not recognized either.  Okay, I used a custom format there, so maybe it's due to that.

It's up to you of course how you use this method of importing the data.  You can put your records into a temporary table to process further, or you can create a table with the expected data types upfront and import the data directly into that one.

Some Possible Issues

Let's cover some issues related to this method.


The OPENROWSET() function expects that the 'Ad Hoc Distributed Queries' option is enabled on the server.  When that's not the case you'll see the following message:

Msg 15281, Level 16, State 1, Line 1

SQL Server blocked access to STATEMENT 'OpenRowset/OpenDatasource' of component 'Ad Hoc Distributed Queries' because this component is turned off as part of the security configuration for this server. A system administrator can enable the use of 'Ad Hoc Distributed Queries' by using sp_configure. For more information about enabling 'Ad Hoc Distributed Queries', see "Surface Area Configuration" in SQL Server Books Online.

This is one of the advanced options.  To enable it you can use the following command:

  sp_configure 'show advanced options', 1; GO RECONFIGURE; GO  sp_configure 'Ad Hoc Distributed Queries', 1; GO RECONFIGURE; GO

To get a good look at all the different settings, just run the sp_configure procedure without any parameters.

Note: if you're not the administrator of the server, you should talk to the DBA who's responsible before attempting this.


When the Excel file is not closed, you'll end up with the following error:

Msg 7399, Level 16, State 1, Line 1

The OLE DB provider "Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0″ for linked server "(null)" reported an error. The provider did not give any information about the error.

Msg 7303, Level 16, State 1, Line 1

Cannot initialize the data source object of OLE DB provider "Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0″ for linked server "(null)".

So close the file and try the query again.


The OPENROWSET() function uses OLE DB, so it needs a driver for your data source, in this case for Excel.  If the right driver is not installed, you'll see the following error (or similar, depends on the version used).

Msg 7302, Level 16, State 1, Line 1

Cannot create an instance of OLE DB provider "Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.12.0″ for linked server "(null)".

To solve the issue, install the right driver and try again.

How can you tell what drivers are installed?  Open up the ODBC Data Source Administrator window (Start > Run > type ODBCAD32.EXE and enter) and have a look in the Drivers tab.  The following screenshot (taken on a Dutch Windows XP) shows both the JET 4.0 driver for Excel 97-2003 and the fairly-new ACE driver for Excel 2007.

odbcad32.exe - ODBC Data Source Administrator

The drivers can be downloaded from the following pages on the Microsoft site:

Excel 97-2003 Jet 4.0 driver

Excel 2007 ACE driver – 12.00.6423.1000

Excel 2010 ACE driver (beta) – 14.00.4732.1000

Sidenote: the Excel 2010 driver is not supported on Windows XP, but I was able to query the 2010 Excel sheet using the 2007 driver.  I guess that this is the result of the Office Open XML standard which was introduced in Office 2007.

Driver backward-compatibility

The ACE drivers are backwards-compatible.  So the following queries are working perfectly:

  --old Excel with new ACE driver - working query 1 SELECT * --INTO #productlist FROM OPENROWSET('Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.12.0',     'Excel 8.0;HDR=YES;Database=C:\temp\Products.xls',     'SELECT * FROM [ProductList$]');  --old Excel with new ACE driver - working query 2 SELECT * --INTO #productlist FROM OPENROWSET('Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.12.0',     'Excel 12.0;HDR=YES;Database=C:\temp\Products.xls',     'SELECT * FROM [ProductList$]');

In other words, you won't be needing that first link for the Jet driver.  For the full story have a look at this blog post by Adam Saxton of the CSS SQL Server Escalation Services team.


So, what if you're running a 64-bit OS?  I'll start by saying that I had quite some issues getting OPENROWSET to work, but finally I managed it.  Following is a list of my attempts, each time with the resulting message.  And finally I'll show you how I got it to work.  The problem was something really unexpected…

ACE 14 64-bit through SSMS

My main laptop is running Windows 7 64-bit, Office 2010 64-bit and SQL Server 2008 R2 64-bit.  So I installed the 64-bit version of the ACE 14 driver, which happens to be the first OLE DB driver for Excel that ships in 64-bit.  But when I execute my query I'm getting the following message:

Msg 7403, Level 16, State 1, Line 1

The OLE DB provider "Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.14.0″ has not been registered.

Is this because SSMS ships only in 32-bit?  Maybe, but I'm not able to install the 32-bit driver.  It doesn't allow me to because I've got Office in 64-bit installed.  The installer throws me the following error:

Microsoft Access database engine 2010 (beta) - You cannot install the 32-bit version of Access Database engine for Microsoft Office 2010 because you currently have 64-bit Office products installed...

ACE 12 32-bit on a 64-bit machine

When I check the installed drivers using the 32-bit version of the ODBC Data Source Administrator (located in C:\Windows\SysWOW64), I notice that the ACE 12 driver is installed.  However, trying to use that one from the Management Studio gives me this:

Msg 7399, Level 16, State 1, Line 1

The OLE DB provider "Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.12.0″ for linked server "(null)" reported an error. The provider did not give any information about the error.

Msg 7330, Level 16, State 2, Line 1

Cannot fetch a row from OLE DB provider "Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.12.0″ for linked server "(null)".

The Results pane shows all the columns with the right column names, retrieved from Excel.  But the driver seems to have a problem retrieving the actual data.

This issue with error 7330 is mentioned in the following thread on the SQL Server MSDN forum, but unfortunately the proposed solution didn't solve the problem in my case.

64-bit SQLCMD using ACE 14 driver

I also tried using the 64-bit version of sqlcmd.exe, but strangely enough that throws the same error.

Using sqlcmd 64-bit to query Excel

I actually expected this last method to work, after all, everything is now running in 64-bit.  But alas, it didn't…

One more go…

After some more trial and error, I have actually found a way to get the query to work.  I don't have a logical explanation on why it's behaving the way it is, but, well, it is working…

This query is running fine:

  SELECT * --INTO #productlist FROM OPENROWSET('Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.12.0',     'Excel 12.0 Xml;HDR=YES;Database=C:\temp\Products.xlsx',     'SELECT * FROM [ProductList$]');

But this one isn't:

  --Excel 2007-2010 SELECT * --INTO #productlist FROM OPENROWSET('Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.12.0',     'Excel 12.0 Xml;HDR=YES;Database=C:\temp\Products.xlsx',     'SELECT * FROM [ProductList$]');

It's exactly the same query, only difference is the comment line at the start.  And even weirder, if I add a space after the double-dash, the query works fine as well!

Then I decided to remove the commented INTO clause.  This made the weird behavior disappear.  So for some reason SQL Server doesn't like the OPENROWSET function combined with comments inside the query.  The strange behavior also disappears when a space is added between the double-dash and the INTO keyword.

Uh, computers can be so much fun, right? 

If anyone has got an explanation on this strange behavior: please do post a comment!  For now my conclusion is: don't use comments when creating an OPENROWSET query.

IMPORTANT UPDATE (April 11, 2010): it seems that the current installer for the ACE 14 driver contains a bug and registers it as being "Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.12.0" instead of "Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.14.0" .  This explains some of the issues shown above.  Some evidence on the issue:

Microsoft Connect: Access Database Engine 2010 installation issue to use with ADO access technology to access data from Jet database (.mdb files)

Excel Services, ODC and Microsoft.ACE.OLEDB.14.0


The above has shown that OPENROWSET() can be a useful function, given the right circumstances.  But in the wrong setting it can be quite cumbersome to get to work.