[SOLVED] Excel Pivot Table Error – Data source reference is not valid

Many excel users have reported seeing an error while creating pivot tables in the excel workbook. The complete error message is as follows-

"Data source reference is not valid."

On detailed investigation, the error is seen when- 

  • The filename contains invalid characters.
  • The file is opened from Internet Explorer. 

If you are seeing this issue in your system, don’t panic. This article covers fixes to overcome the Data source reference is not valid error.

Fix 1: Remove invalid characters from the filename.

Most common reason to see this error is when the filename contains invalid characters. Following characters when present in the filename is invalid

< > ? [ ] : | *.

If you see your filename contains one of these characters, consider removing them.

For example, if the filename is Excel[1], consider renaming it Excel_1

To rename the file do the following :

1. Right-click on the problematic file.

2. Choose Rename.


Rename Excel


3. Give a valid name and hit Enter.


Rename As Required

Now, check if you can create Pivot tables.

Fix 2:  Save the files opened from Internet Explorer.

When you open the file from Internet Explorer, a copy of that file gets created in the temp directory. This copy gets renamed with square brackets. You see an error since the filename contains invalid characters(square brackets). 

To avoid the error, click on Save. Save the file first, and then try to make changes.

That’s All.

We hope this article has been informative. Thank you for Reading.

Kindly comment and let us know the fix that helped you. Other readers will also benefit from this.