I am trying to connect to Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 from Excel 2007. When it tries to connect I get the error:

[DBNETLIB][ConnectionOpen (Invalid Instance()).]Invalid connection.

Steps to Reproduce

  • On the Data tab, in the Get External Data group, click From Other Sources, and then click From SQL Server:

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  • type the name of the SQL Server computer in the Server name box.

  • To enter a database user name and password, click Use the following User Name and Password, and then type your user name and password in the corresponding User Name and Password boxes:

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Additional information

  • I can connect to SQL Server from SQL Server Management Studio:
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  • I can connect to SQL Server with telnet:

    C:\Users\Ian>telnet avenger 1433
  • SQL Server is listening on port 1433:
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  • Excel does connect, and receive response traffic from the SQL Server:
    enter image description here

  • I can ping the server:

    C:\Users\Ian>ping avenger
    Pinging avenger.newland.com [] with 32 bytes of data:
    Reply from bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=128
    Reply from bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=128
    Reply from bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=128
    Reply from bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=128
    Ping statistics for
        Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
    Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
        Minimum = 0ms, Maximum = 1ms, Average = 0ms
  • Trying to connect by IP address (rather than by name) has no effect:
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  • Windows Firewall is not running on the server:
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  • 1
    Although it's been a while, thanks for including so much detail. Aug 14, 2011 at 1:31

4 Answers 4


I would hazard a guess that you're actually using a named instance and the SQL Native client allows you to get away with using AVENGER as the server name but the DBNETLIB (which I believe is the old SQL Client) is more demanding.

Are you sure it's not AVENGER\SQLEXPRESS,1433?

  • Turns out it is that. It should be noted that simply AVENGER\SQLEXPRESS didn't work; i had to include the (standard) port.
    – Ian Boyd
    Jul 25, 2011 at 11:00
  • More hazardous guesses, but the computer that Excel is running on cannot communicate with the SQL Browser service on the server (or the service is not running). Jul 26, 2011 at 2:42

I had the same problem.

An old application had registered an old version of SQLOLEDB.DLL in


Fixed by running these commands:

regsvr32 "c:\Program Files\Common Files\System\Ole DB\sqloledb.dll"  


del c:\WINDOWS\system32\sqloledb.dll

Using the SQL server data server name fixed this for me in Excel 2013

  1. Connect to the database server with SQL Server Management Studio
  2. Right-Click the server in the Object Explorer
  3. Select Properties
  4. Use the Name value listed on the server's General Properties page

I had the same problem when connecting from Access 2007 to SQL Server 2016. The solution in my case was to enable the TCP/IP protocol (in SQL Server Configuration Manager).

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