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Okay, there's a few potential issues here.
1. Yes, you need a tnsnames.ora file, as it has the server connection information. If you have a working system that already has a tnsnames.ora file, you can just copy it over and it should work (grab sqnet.ora too). Both of those files go in the \network\admin folder, which is inside the folder where you installed Oracle.
2. Once you get that working, get your ODBC connection set up. I've seen a bug in this version of Oracle where no servers appear in the dropdown int he ODBC administrator, but you can just type the name in if you know what it is. If you copied a tnsnames.ora file from another system, it'll be whatever name their ODBC uses. If not, you can look in the file for the names.
3. With all that being said... are you using 64 bit MS Office? If you're using 32 bit (and almost everyone is), you'll actually need a 32 bit Oracle client, and to use the ODBC administrator tool in c:\windows\syswow64\odbcad32.exe
The reason why is that 32 bit applications can't use a 64 bit ODBC connection, and you can't make a 32 bit ODBC connection using a 64 bit Oracle client. They all have to line up.