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Using Local Database Files in Office Solutions Overview

Applies to

The information in this topic applies only to the specified Visual Studio Tools for Office projects and versions of Microsoft Office.

Project type

  • Document-level projects

  • Application-level projects

Microsoft Office version

  • 2007 Microsoft Office system

  • Microsoft Office 2003

For more information, see Features Available by Application and Project Type.

You can include a database file, such as a SQL Server Express (.mdf) file or a Microsoft Office Access (.mdb) file, in your Visual Studio Tools for Office solution. This enables end users to maintain a local database in situations where maintaining a centralized database is not required, for example in a local inventory solution that is used on only a single computer.

To import the database file into your project, use the Data Source Configuration Wizard to create a data source based on the database file. The wizard adds the database file and a typed dataset to your project.

For more information, see How to: Connect to Data in a SQL Server Express Database and How to: Connect to Data in an Access Database.

The Data Source Configuration Wizard uses a relative path to create connections to the local database file. This enables you to copy the solution from one computer to another if you maintain the relative positions of the files.

If you deploy your solution to a server and then distribute the document to each end user, you must also manually distribute the database file and install it in the same position relative to the document. This means that the end user cannot move the document to a new location on his or her computer, unless he or she also moves the database file.

In document-level solutions for Microsoft Office Excel and Microsoft Office Word, you can cache datasets in the document by marking the dataset instance with the attribute CachedAttribute. When you add the database file to your project by using the Data Source Configuration Wizard, a typed dataset is added to your project automatically. It is rarely necessary to apply CachedAttribute to this dataset, because the data is already local on the user's computer. For more information, see Caching Data.