RODBC (version 1.3-20)

odbcConnect: ODBC Open Connections


Open connections to ODBC databases.


odbcConnect(dsn, uid = "", pwd = "", ...)

odbcDriverConnect(connection = "", case, believeNRows = TRUE, colQuote, tabQuote = colQuote, interpretDot = TRUE, DBMSencoding = "", rows_at_time = 100, readOnlyOptimize = FALSE)

odbcReConnect(channel, ...)

odbcConnectAccess(access.file, uid = "", pwd = "", ...) odbcConnectAccess2007(access.file, uid = "", pwd = "", ...) odbcConnectDbase(dbf.file, ...) odbcConnectExcel(xls.file, readOnly = TRUE, ...) odbcConnectExcel2007(xls.file, readOnly = TRUE, ...)


A non-negative integer which is used as handle if no error occurred,

-1 otherwise. A successful return has class "RODBC", and attributes including


the full ODBC connection string.


the value of case.


a numeric ID for the channel.


the value of believeNRows.


the value of rows_at_time.



character string. A registered data source name.

uid, pwd

UID and password for authentication (if required).


character string. See your ODBC documentation for the format.


further arguments to be passed to odbcDriverConnect.


Controls case changes for different DBMS engines. See ‘Details’.


RODBC connection object returned by odbcConnect.


logical. Is the number of rows returned by the ODBC connection believable? Not true for some Oracle and Sybase drivers, apparently, nor for Actual Technologies' SQLite driver for Mac OS X.

colQuote, tabQuote

how to quote column (table) names in SQL statements. Can be of length 0 (no quoting), a length--1 character vector giving the quote character to be used at both ends, or a length--2 character vector giving the beginning and ending quotes. ANSI SQL uses double quotes, but the default mode for a MySQL server is to use backticks.

The defaults are backtick (`) if the DBMS is identified as "MySQL" by the driver, and double quote otherwise. The Access, DBase and Excel wrappers set tabQuote = c("[", "]"). A user reported that the SAS ODBC driver required colQuote = NULL.


logical. Should table names of the form qualifier.table be interpreted as table table in schema qualifier (and for MySQL ‘schema’ means database)?


character string naming the encoding returned by the DBMS. The default means the encoding of the locale R is running under. Values other than the default require iconv to be available: it always is from R 2.10.0, otherwise see capabilities.


The default number of rows to fetch at a time, between 1 and 1024. Not all drivers work correctly with values > 1: see sqlQuery.


logical: should the connection be optimized for read-only access?

access.file, dbf.file, xls.file

file of an appropriate type.


logical: should the connection be read-only?


Michael Lapsley, Brian Ripley


odbcConnect establishes a connection to the specified DSN, and odbcDriverConnect allows a more flexible specification via a connection string. odbcConnect uses the connection string
omitting the last two components if they are empty. See the examples for other uses of connection strings.

Under the Windows GUI, specifying an incomplete connection, for example the default "", will bring up a dialog box to complete the information required. (This does not work from Rterm.exe unless a driver is specified, a Windows restriction.)

For DBMSs that translate table and column names case must be set appropriately. Allowable values are "nochange", "toupper" and "tolower" as well as the names of databases where the behaviour is known to us (currently "mysql", which maps to lower case on Windows but not on Linux, "postgresql" (lower), and "msaccess" (nochange)). If case is not specified, the default is "nochange" unless the appropriate value can be figured out from the DBMS name reported by the ODBC driver. It is likely that "toupper" is desirable on IBM's DB2, but this is not enforced. (The DBase driver is unusual: it preserves names on reading, but converts both table and column names to upper case on writing, and truncates table names to 8 characters. RODBC does not attempt to do any mapping for that driver.)

Note that readOnlyOptimize may do nothing, and is not guaranteed to enforce read-only access. With drivers that support it, it is used to optimize locking strategies, transaction management and so on. It does make access to Mimer read-only, and has no effect on MySQL.

Function odbcReConnect re-connects to a database using the settings of an existing (and presumably now closed) channel object. Arguments given in the original call can be overridden as needed.

Note that if a password is supplied (either as a pwd argument or as part of the DSN) it may be stored in the connection.string element of the return value, but the value is (from RODBC 1.3-0) replaced by ******. (This will break odbcReConnect.)

odbcConnectAccess, odbcConnectDbase and odbcConnectExcel are convenience wrappers to generate connection strings for those file types. The files given can be relative to the R working directory or absolute paths (and it seems also relative to the user's home directory). The file name can be omitted, which will on Rgui bring up a dialog box to search for a file.

Note: they will only work with English-language 32-bit versions of the Microsoft drivers, which may or may not be installed in other locales, and are not usable from 64-bit R. The 2007 versions work with the drivers which are installed with Office 2007/2010 and give access to formats such as *.xlsx and *.accdb. These drivers are also available separately and there is a 64-bit version: see the package manual. (You must have the 32-bit drivers when using 32-bit R and the 64-bit drivers when using 64-bit R: otherwise there will be a cryptic message about a driver not being found. And the 64-bit drivers cannot be installed alongside 32-bit Microsoft Office, and vice versa.

See the package manual for some of the peculiarities of the Excel drivers. readOnly = TRUE may allow very limited changes (to insert and update rows).

If it is possible to set the DBMS or ODBC driver to communicate in the character set of the R session then this should be done. For example, MySQL can set the communication character set via SQL, e.g. SET NAMES 'utf8'.

See Also

odbcClose, sqlQuery, odbcGetInfo