Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Missing PivotTable Data.

Missing PivotTable Data

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 5, 2020)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Stephen has an Excel workbook created by someone else. The workbook contains a PivotTable, but he cannot make changes to it. When he tries, he gets a message that says the underlying data was not saved. The worksheet with the data is in the workbook, and the PivotTable is there, but he cannot change the PivotTable directly or even make changes to the worksheet and updated the PivotTable.

There are two possible reasons for this problem. First, when a PivotTable is created, the user can specify an option that causes Excel to not save the data with the table layout. (This option is accessed by clicking the Options button on the last step of the PivotTable Wizard.) If the PivotTable is really based on the worksheet in the workbook, then this is no problem. If, however, it is based on some other data source, then it can cause a problem because you cannot later modify the table.

The second possible reason is that the workbook that you have isn't the same workbook in which the worksheet and the PivotTable originally resided. It is possible that, in creating the workbook for your use, the original user copied the PivotTable and the worksheet from the original workbook to a new, blank workbook. If this is the case, then the PivotTable is independent of any data in the workbook you are viewing. You can check this out by trying these steps:

  1. Click anywhere within the PivotTable.
  2. From the PivotTable menu on the PivotTable toolbar, choose the PivotTable Wizard option. Excel displays the final step of the PivotTable Wizard.
  3. Click the Back button to return to step 2, which is where you define the data range to be included in the PivotTable.
  4. In the Range box, specify an address range within the current workbook, specifically within the worksheet data you want to use.
  5. Click Finish.

Excel redoes the PivotTable, this time based on the information in the workbook. You can then make changes to the PivotTable (or the underlying data) as you desire.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3112) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Missing PivotTable Data.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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