If you would like to display data from your Allen-Bradley PLC or PAC in Microsoft Excel, and have a licensed copy RSLinx Classic (aka RSLinx,) it can be accomplished using a few simple steps we’ll cover in this article.
But first, lets identify which copies of RSLinx (aka RSLinx Classic) are licensed by reviewing all the versions below:
- RSLinx Lite (free download, will not work:) This is the free unlicensed version of RSLinx which comes packaged with RSLogix and PanelBuilder. It is used as a software driver to connect your PC to your Allen-Bradley devices. NOTE: This version is not an OPC or DDE server and can not be used to connect to Microsoft Excel.
- RSLinx Single Node ($541:) This version is a local OPC and DDE server for one “device” (one PLC or PAC,) and also has all the features of the Lite package
- RSLinx OEM ($1090:) This version is a local OPC and DDE server for unlimited “devices” (PLC, PAC,) and also has all the features of the Lite package
- RSLinx Professional ($n/a:) This version was a local OPC and DDE server like OEM, but also included the RSLadder 5 and 500 ActiveX’s. This package is no longer available.
- RSLinx Gateway ($2,290:) This version is a Local and Network OPC and DDE server, but also includes the ability to use a PC as a network bridge. In the past it was common to have a single PC on both Ethernet (office network) and DH+ (PLC network) and use RSLinx Gateway as a bridge between the two.
- RSLinx SDK ($n/a:) This version of RSLinx was for the development community and included documentation and examples of connecting to RSLinx from development environments like Microsoft’s VisualStudio. It also included a license for RSLinx OEM so users could test the code they wrote.
With the above in mind, you’ll need a version of RSLinx (Classic) other than the free “Lite” version for the following steps to work:
Getting A-B PLC data into Excel using RSLinx
Step 1: Connect your PC to your PLC and setup RSLinx to communicate to it. In the below picture you can see my setup where I’ve connected my laptop to an Ethernet network which also has a MicroLogix 1100 on it.
Step 2: In the right pane of the RSWho window right click on your PLC and select “Configure New DDE/OPC Topic.”
Step 3: In the DDE/OPC Topic Configuration popup window find your topic on the left side highlighted in blue.
Step 4: Type in a new unique name for your new topic. Here I’ve typed in “MyTopic” as the name of my new topic.
Step 5: Now click on the “Data Collection” tab. Note – If you’re asked if you would like to update your topic, select “Yes.”
Step 6: Change the “Polled Message (mSec)” rate to the rate you would like data from the PLC to update at. Here I’ve chosen 100 milliseconds.
Step 7: Press “Apply,” and then select “Yes” on the confirmation popup.
Step 8: Click “Done” to close the DDE/OPC Topic Configuration popup window.
Step 9: Still inside of RSLinx, select “Edit” from the top menu and then select “Copy DDE/OPC Link…”
Step 10: Browse to a PLC address or tag by expanding your new topic, then the online folder, then select a tag or element and press OK. In the below picture I’ve selected T4:0.ACC.
Step 11: Open a new workbook in Microsoft Excel. Right click on a cell and select “Paste Special.”
Step 12: From the “Paste Special” menu choose “Paste Link”
At this point in the process you should see live data from your PLC (or PAC) in your Excel workbook.
If you would like to explore additional ways to connect RSLinx and Excel, including button macros to upload and download multiple cells at once, search RSLinx’s help system for “EXCEL.”
I hope the above information on getting data from your A-B Programmable Controller into Microsoft Excel was helpful. If you have any comments or questions on the above please feel free to leave them by filling out the “post a comment or question” link below.
Until next time, Peace ✌️
Shawn M Tierney
Technology Enthusiast & Content Creator
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