Work with OLE DB connections

Object Linking and Embedding Database (OLE DB) is a connectivity method similar to Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) and uses the same core application programming interface (API) to help bridge communication between client applications and a variety of data sources. This bridge consists of an OLE DB provider (a set of .dll files) that uses services of an ODBC driver to connect and interact with both relational and nonrelational databases in a uniform manner.

There are specific providers for each type of data source supported by OLE DB. To make an OLE DB connection from a 64-bit ArcGIS client such as ArcGIS Pro, you need to install the appropriate 64-bit driver on your ArcGIS Pro machine to connect to the database using OLE DB.

Create an OLE DB connection

OLE DB connections in ArcGIS Pro are used to make read-only connections to databases to access tabular data sources from any database for which you have the driver. This type of connection is most commonly used to connect ArcGIS Pro to data sources that support OLE DB but cannot be accessed from the list of supported database platforms on the Database Connection dialog box.

Complete the following steps to make an OLE DB connection:

  1. Start ArcGIS Pro.
  2. Do one of the following to open the Data Link Properties dialog box:
    • In the Catalog pane, right-click the Databases category and click New OLE DB Connection New Geodatabase Connection.
    • On the Insert tab, in the Project group, click the Connections drop-down arrow and click New OLE DB Connection New Geodatabase Connection.

    The Data Link Properties dialog box appears.

    Data Link Properties dialog box

  3. On the Provider tab, click the appropriate OLE DB provider for the type of data you want to use.
  4. Click Next or click the Connection tab.
  5. On the Connection tab, provide the required connection information.


    The fields displayed on the Connection tab differ depending on the OLE DB provider you select. Most require that you identify the database to which you want to connect along with your user name and password.

    It is recommended that you check the Allow saving password check box; otherwise, each time you click any table or feature class in the Catalog pane, a prompt will appear to authenticate the user name and password for your OLE DB connection.

    If you check Allow saving password and click a different tab on the Data Link Properties dialog box, when you return to the Connection tab, the Allow saving password option will not be checked and you will need to check the box again.

  6. Click Test Connection to validate that you entered the connection information correctly.
  7. Click OK.
    The new OLE DB connection to the data source specified appears under Databases and has an .odc file type.
  8. Rename your OLE DB connection.

You can now work with the tabular data in the data source specified.

OLE DB connection usage

Once you establish an OLE DB connection, the tabular data from the OLE DB connection in ArcGIS Pro is read-only. The following are common table-related tasks and usage options: