Defining and importing data

Before you can analyze data in Analytics you must create an Analytics table to contain the data. You create an Analytics table by defining and importing data. Regardless of the type of source data, defining and importing follows the same basic process.

Step Description
1 Navigate or connect Navigate to a source data file, or connect to a file or a database containing the source data.
2 Define

Define the source data, which means: specify information about the structure and characteristics of the source data so that Analytics can read it.


Analytics automatically defines certain source data formats so that user definition of the data is not required. 

3 Import or read directly Import the source data into a native Analytics data file, or read the data directly from the source without creating an Analytics data file.
4 Name and save the Analytics table Name and save the automatically created Analytics table.



When connecting to any data source, or importing from any data source, Analytics is strictly read-only. For more information, see Data access by Analytics is read-only.

Components for defining and importing data

Analytics provides two components for defining data, importing data or reading data directly from the source, and creating an Analytics table:

  • the Data Definition Wizard
  • the Data Access window

The Data Definition Wizard

The Data Definition Wizard is a page-based wizard that provides a standard way to access a variety of data sources, mostly file-based.

The basic process for defining and importing data using the wizard is consistent, but the selection and sequence of pages presented depends on the type of data source you are using.

New projects and tables

By default, the Data Definition Wizard is automatically displayed when you create a new Analytics project, and when you add a new Analytics table to a project (Import > File, or File > New > Table).

The Data Access window

The Data Access window is a visual interface that contains a number of data connectors you can use to access source data in either databases or files. The data connectors use either native Analytics ODBC drivers, or whatever Windows ODBC drivers you have installed.

Once you connect to a data source using the Data Access window you have a standard set of options for defining and importing the data:

  • Table search and selection
  • Field selection
  • Table joins
  • Data filtering
  • Data import preview
  • Data import size estimate
  • Field length specification
  • SQL mode for directly editing the SQL import statement

Which component should I use for defining and importing data?

In many cases, the type of data source you want to access dictates which component you must use. For a list of all the data sources you can access with Analytics, and which component you must use to access them, see Data sources you can access with Analytics.

For some data sources you can use either the Data Definition Wizard or the Data Access window – for example, when importing Microsoft Excel or Access files.

In general, the Data Access window is a modern, visual interface with greater ease of use than the Data Definition Wizard.

The table below compares the different options available with the two different components:

Option Data Definition Wizard Data Access window
Select tables Yes Yes
Search tables No Yes
Select fields Depends on the data source Yes
Import multiple tables


(Yes for Excel)


(up to 5)

Join tables No Yes
Filter data No Yes
Preview data import Yes



(modern interface, easily refreshable)

Estimate data import size No Yes
Specify field length Yes Yes
Rename fields Depends on the data source


(in SQL Mode)

Change field data type Depends on the data source No

(data type can be changed after import)