Data Source Reference Is Not Valid Excel Error

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Have you ever experienced a Data source reference isn’t valid Excel error?

It often happens while you are in the process of making a pivot table from a range in Excel. Not only the Excel version but OS users also tend to witness this Excel error.

So basically, what is the reason behind this error? Do you have any idea? Every time there is a cause and effect relation between two variables. The same is the case with Data source reference isn’t valid Excel error and reason behind this error.

The Reasons behind the Data Source Reference isn’t Valid Excel Error

Not a single reason, in fact, there are multiple triggers that let you face this error. After analyzing the nature of this error and the steps being taken to solve it, the ultimate upshot clears that several reasons fall behind this storyline. Let’s have a look:

  • Excel File Name has Square Brackets

In Pivot tables, some of the predefined characters are not allowed to use. One of the greatest reasons why data source reference isn’t valid Excel error appears is the presence of “[‘or’]”. In that case, you simply need to rename the file name and remove the brackets.

  • Excel File isn’t on the Local Drive

It might be possible that you have not saved the pivot table on your local drive. When you open a pivot table directly from the website or online, you may find this error. It is because your file does not have required access because it is a temporary folder excluding all the permissions as other folders. Saving the folder on the local drive can resolve the issue.  

  • The Pivot Table Data Refers to a Non-Existent Range

Do you know having an improper range can be a reason behind this error? In case, if you are making a pivot table with a non-existent range, you will surely have to face this error. By defining the range, you can get rid of this problem.

  • The Data Source Refers to a Named Range that has Invalid References

Here is another potential cause behind this error. Using the Name Manager to spot the values and executing the process of vital changes can help you solve this error.

Apart from these reasons, there can be some other causes as well. If you are in need to get rid of this error permanently, we are here for you. We have many more solutions to your Data source reference isn’t valid Excel error. Follow the tricks given below for the best results and you have to be stick to a single fix to solve the error.

We are going to explain each solution in detail with complete steps.

Let’s dive in:

Trick 1: Removing Brackets from the File Name

Incorrect file names can be one of the biggest reasons to show errors. As you already know this error can be gone by just renaming the file name. If your reports are auto-generated, it might be possible that your file name contains forbidden characters including square brackets [ ], you will surely find this error while creating a pivot table.

Renaming the name of the .xlsx file to remove unwanted characters is the solution to it. Follow the steps:

  • If your file is in use, you have to close it to rename the file.
  • Using File Explorer, you can navigate the location of the Excel file. After reaching there, you have to right-click on it and choose Rename.
  • Remove brackets from the file name because the pivot table does not support such characters.
  • Now, try creating the Pivot table once again and check if the Data source reference isn’t valid Excel error still exists or not.

If the error is solved you are done. However, if you are still having issues, it means this solution is not suitable for the scenario. You need to move forward to check the next method.

Trick 2: Saving the File on the Local Drive

Opening a file directly from the website or email attachment can put you in trouble. You will be in Read-only mode while doing this. To edit the file, you need to save it in your system. It can be a potential reason behind this error. Follow the steps given below to find a perfect solution:

  • Go to File and then choose Save As option.
  • Choosing the Save As option will let you save the file on your local disk.
  • Once the file is saved on your local drive, your file will be error-free. For further satisfaction, you can check the pivot table if the Data source reference isn’t valid Excel error still appears or not.

Again, if this method is not successful for you, don’t worry about it.

For the current scenario, this method was not applicable, that’s why you need to move on to the next solution.

Trick 3: Predefined Range Existence

Unlike other reasons, this cause is a bit tricky to understand. While trying to add a pivot table in a non-existing range, you may stumble upon this reference error.

To get rid of this problem, you need to follow the steps given below:

  • Go to Insert PivotTable and choose the toggle linked with Select a table or range.
  • Now, set the Table/Range to “test”.

If your values are based on the “test” range, which isn’t there, then surely you will encounter the Data source reference isn’t valid Excel error right after pressing the OK button.

If this is the case, you can work on it by defining a range before making a pivot table. Here is how you can do this:

  • Click the Formulas tab that appeared on the ribbon bar.
  • Choose the Name Manager given in the list.
  • In the Name Manager window, select New and name the range you wanted to create.
  • Now, use the Refers to box to set the cells reserved for the range.
  • Now the range is well-defined and you can easily make pivot tables without facing the error message.  

Move down to the next solution, if you are still encountering the same issue even after trying all the above-mentioned solutions.

Trick 4: Reference for the Named Range is Valid or Not

After successfully defining the name range, if you still getting an error message, it might be possible that the named range is referring to some cells whose values are not valid.

To sort out this problem, follow the steps given below:

  • Go to the Formulas tab and open Name Manager.
  • Now, check if the range is referring to the cells that are reserved to analyze through the pivot table.
  • Use the Refer to box, in case you witness any variations to make the switch to the correct value.

Once you are done with all the changes, try making a pivot table again and check if the Data source reference isn’t valid Excel error still appears or not.

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