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Excel PivotTable error "Data source reference is not valid"

When opening an Excel workbook that contains square brackets in the name (e.g., "foo[1]"), the user will receive the following error message when attempting to create PivotTables using data from within the workbook:

Data source reference is not valid
The cause is due to square brackets being invalid characters in an Excel workbook file name.
This behavior is expected when these conditions occur. In order to work around this, the user would be required to remove all invalid Excel characters from the file name.
More information
This issue may be seen when trying to open an Excel workbook from Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer creates a copy of the file in the temporary directory, renaming the file with square brackets. This can be avoided by clicking "Save," instead of "Open," when Internet Explorer presents the file to the user.
Data source reference is not valid PivotTable square brackets
Note This is a "FAST PUBLISH" article created directly from within the Microsoft support organization. The information contained herein is provided as-is in response to emerging issues. As a result of the speed in making it available, the materials may include typographical errors and may be revised at any time without notice. See Terms of Use for other considerations.

Article ID: 2862807 - Last Review: 09/23/2015 08:58:00 - Revision: 3.0

  • Microsoft Excel 2010
  • Excel 2016
  • Microsoft Excel 2013
  • KB2862807