Typical for an information screen is that the user have the presentation running on the signage computer while the raw data resides in a database or worksheet at a shared network location or file server.
The most common way of linking is absolute linking where the user starts with a presentation and add a database connection via the DataPoint menu. The user will establish a database connection by setting up a link to the database. This is normally the full path to your network share like \\servername\sharename\foldername\databasename.accdb or \\servername\sharename\foldername\excelfile.xlsx.
When the user is using mapped drives then the link is P:\foldername\databasename.accdb where the drive letter P: corresponds on the computer to \\servername\sharename.
The user can perfectly use absolute linking when the user know that the file path and data used will always remain the same. It is obvious for the user that whenever the user would move the database file to another share or location, that the user will have orphaned links in the PowerPoint presentation. When the user opens the presentation the data in it will not be updated anymore as before. The user will get an error message instead that the database or Excel file cannot be found at the given path.
You choose for absolute database or Excel linking when your network path or share will continue to have the same name in the future
Next to absolute linking the user also have relative linking. The difference with this mechanism is that the user don’t have the full path pointing to the data file, but the user use a shortened path or parts of the path to the data file location.
Many times the user will have the presentation and database or Excel file located at the same folder. So when the presentation is stored at \\servername\sharename\foldername\data-driven-presentation.pptx and the database is stored at \\servername\sharename\foldername\databasename.accdb then the user could shorten the path to the database to just databasename.accdb.
DataPoint will still be able to interpret this path. It would expect that database file in the same folder as the presentation.
If the user would like to move the database into a subfolder of the presentation folder, named e.g. databases, then a shortened url like databases\databasename.accdb would do the job. DataPoint will always look for the data files starting from the presentation location.
The best choose for relative linking when the user know that the folder names will vary on a regular basis, or when the user know that everyone will copy the files to other locations. A good example of this is when the user are generating production figures for the company every week. Most likely the user will have a folder per week where the user store the production information. When the user now open the presentation it would connect the last week’s data and the user would have to change the path so that DataPoint reads the information of this week’s Excel file. Now when the user would have the data file always with the same filename (e.g. input.xlsx) and create a new folder for this week, then a normal file reference in the DataPoint connections, like input.xlsx, will continue to work every week.