From Blue-IT.org Wiki
With ODBC you can connect to a lot of Databases, specially e.g. Microsoft Access but also e.g. Microsoft Excel from within Java (or other languages).
Installing in Ubuntu
Install the following applications:
sudo apt-get install unixodbc-dev unixodbc-bin unixodbc
Unixodbc-dev: does necessary symlinks
Unixodbc-bin: installs a gui (/usr/bin/ODBCConfig)
unixodb: the driver