As more and more of us are able to move to 64-bit operating systems, the question of how to connect to recalcitrant Excel and Access files comes up regularly. To address that, we've created a new technical solution: http://usa.autodesk.com/getdoc/id=TS18307898.
The TS above is mainly targeted at the most common instance, where you have Office installed on a 64-bit operating system already, and can't get the FDO provider or link template to work properly. This is due usually to having the default version of Office installed, which is 32-bit. You can either add 64-bit drivers via the 64-bit Access Engine linked in the article (works for Excel too), or just switch to 64-bit Office, which is much easier in the long run.
There is one caveat that isn't in the TS - if you are a Vault users who leverages the Office addin, that is 32-bit only - you'll have to decide if you want the Office addin, or ODBC connectivity.
Edited Jan 23.