PRB: "Operation must use an updateable query" When you access Excel through ODBC


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When you edit an Excel worksheet through ADO and ODBC, you may receive the following error message if you use an ADO DataControl object:

[Microsoft][ODBC Excel Driver] Operation must use an updateable query.

If you use a Recordset object that is generated with ADO code, you may receive the following error message when you edit an Excel worksheet through ADO and ODBC:

Run-time error '-2147467259(80004005)': [Microsoft][ODBC Excel Driver] Operation must use an updateable query.


This problem occurs if you try to edit a worksheet that is saved or opened as ReadOnly.


ReadOnly is the default setting for an ODBC connection to Excel, with or without a data source name (DSN). Therefore, the user must always change that setting to edit data.


To resolve this problem, use the following methods:

  • Make sure that the LockType property of the Recordset object is not set to ReadOnly.

  • Make sure that the file that you are trying to open is not saved as ReadOnly.

  • If you are connecting through a DSN, follow these steps:

    1. Open Control Panel, and then click ODBC Data Source Administrator.
    2. Double-click your DSN.
    3. In the ODBC Microsoft Excel Setup dialog box, click Options.
    4. Make sure that the ReadOnly check box is not selected.
  • If you are using a DSN-less connection, make sure to include the "ReadOnly=0" option in the connection string. For example:

    cn.Open "Driver={Microsoft Excel Driver (*.xls)};DBQ=C:\MyDoc.xls;ReadOnly=0;"


This behavior is by design.

More Information

Steps to Reproduce the Behavior

  1. Create a new Standard EXE project in Visual Basic.

  2. On the Project menu, click References, and then add a reference to Microsoft ActiveX Data Objects Library.

  3. Add a Command button to Form1.

  4. Add the following code to Form1:

    Dim rs As ADODB.Recordset
    Dim cn As ADODB.Connection
    Private Sub Form_Load()
      Command1.Caption = "Edit"
    End Sub
    Private Sub Command1_Click()
      Dim DocPath As String
      DocPath = App.Path & "\Test.xls"
      Set cn = New Connection
      Set rs = New Recordset
      cn.Open "Driver={Microsoft Excel Driver (*.xls)};DBQ=" & DocPath & ";ReadOnly=1"
      rs.LockType = adLockOptimistic
      rs.Open "TB1", cn
      rs.Fields(1).Value = "New Value"
      Set rs = Nothing
      Set cn = Nothing
    End Sub  
  5. Save the application.

  6. Create a new Excel worksheet, and then save the worksheet as Test.xls.

  7. On the Insert menu, point to Name, and then click Define.

  8. Create a new table inside the Excel worksheet, and then name the table TB1.

  9. Save the worksheet in the same folder as the Visual Basic application.

  10. Press F5 to run the application.


For additional information, see the following article:

Office Space: Tips and Tricks for Scripting Microsoft Office Applications