Connect Word documents to data from external systems

Do you need to add company data to a proposal or a report quickly? With SharePoint Server 2010 and Word 2010, you can add data to a document directly from external line-of-business systems, such as SAP or Siebel. Business Connectivity Services (BCS) is the technology that makes it possible to surface data from external systems in SharePoint Server 2010, Word 2010, and other Office 2010 programs.

Connection between external data and Word 2010

You can add the data to your document by using content controls that link to external data columns in a SharePoint document library. These external data columns are based on a set of predefined external content types in SharePoint Server 2010.

Before you can enable this scenario in Word, someone in your organization first needs to create the external content types, typically by using SharePoint Designer 2010. Creating external content types requires advanced permissions that are probably beyond your current SharePoint permissions. For more information on setting up external content types, see Help for SharePoint Designer 2010.

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Add external data columns to a document library

You can use a SharePoint document library to link to your company’s existing external data sources, such as SAP, Siebel, or a custom application, by setting up a document library and adding external data columns to it. The external data columns link to the external data sources.

Create a library

  1. On your SharePoint home page, click Libraries.
  2. Click Create.
  3. Click Document Library.
  4. Type a name for your document library. For example, type Contracts.
  5. Click Create.

Add an external data column

  1. On the Library tab, in the Manage Views group, click Create Column.
  2. Under Column name, type a name for the column. For example, type Customers.
  3. Under Name and Type, click External Data.

Create external content column

  1. Under Additional Column Settings, next to the External Content Type box, click Select External Content Type.

Select External Content Type button

  1. In the External Content Type Picker dialog box, click the external content type that you want to link to your column, and then click OK.
  2. Under Select the Field to be shown on this column, click the field that you want to appear in the column that you are creating.

Select the field to show in the external-content column

  1. Under Add a column to show each of these additional fields, select the check boxes next to the fields that contain the information you’ll want to include in your documents.
  2. Click OK.

Insert external data fields in a Word template

To use the data from the external data columns in the document library, you first associate the external data with the Word template by adding fields that are connected to the external data column. Then, users who create documents based on the template will be able to use content controls to choose data from your external data column.

Edit the Word template that connects to your external data column

  1. In the SharePoint document library, on the Library tab, in the Settings group, click Library Settings.
  2. Under General Settings, click Advanced settings.
  3. In the Document Template section, under Template URL, click Edit Template.
  4. Add the static text that you want to appear in documents that are created in this document library. For example, you might add boiler-plate contract text.
  5. On the Insert tab, in the Text group, click Quick Parts, point to Document Property, and then click the field that you want to add to your template.
  6. Repeat for all the fields that you want to add to your template.
  7. Click File, and then click Save.
  8. Exit Word.
  9. On the Advanced Settings page of the document library, click OK.

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Applies to:
Word 2010