FIX: Error when you open a tabular model file in SQL Server 2012

Applies to: Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services


Assume that you apply Microsoft SQL Server 2012 together with SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1) or later versions on a computer. When you try to open a tabular model file (.bim file) in SQL Server 2012 SP1, an error occurs in SQL Server Data Tools and you receive the following error message: 
An error occurred while opening the model on the workspace database.
Reason: ReadElementContentAs() methods cannot be called on an element that has child elements.


This issue occurs because the annotation tags inside the XML structure of the the .bim file cannot be successfully parsed by the SQL Server Analysis Services Tabular project.


To resolve the issue, install the cumulative update on the computer where the tabular model file is opened.

Cumulative update information

Cumulative update 3 for SQL Server 2012 Service SP1

The fix for this issue was first released in Cumulative Update 3. For more information about how to obtain this cumulative update package for SQL Server 2012 SP 1, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
2812412 Cumulative update package 3 for SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1
Note Because the builds are cumulative, each new fix release contains all the hotfixes and all the security fixes that were included with the previous SQL Server 2012 SP 1 fix release. We recommend that you consider applying the most recent fix release that contains this hotfix. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
2772858 The SQL Server 2012 builds that were released after SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 was released


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.


To work around the issue, open the .bim file manually in a text editor to remove the annotation tags. For example, Such as open the file by using Notepad.

  • Microsoft does not support or encourage editing the .bim files because the file format should not be edited manually under typical circumstances. Additionally, some third-party add-ins that depend on the annotation tags may not work if the metadata is removed from the project file.
  • For example, the CodePlex BIDS Helper add-in to SQL Server Data Tools may not work if you remove the annotation tags manually, in this situation, go to the following CodePlex website to see the workaround:

    Tabular Annotation Workaround