Too Many Rows or Columns in a PivotTable

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 23, 2018)

1

When attempting to refresh a PivotTable, Robin receives this error: 'Excel cannot make this change because there are too many row or column items.' The message tells her to drag at least one row or column field off the PivotTable and to try again. Problem is, Robin has done many refreshes on her PivotTable in the workbook without any problem over the six months before the error started showing up, and she hasn't changed the size of the PivotTable. This error just started showing up with no apparent cause.

Appearances can be deceiving, especially in a case like this. What you are seeing is a generic error message that basically means "the source data is more than can be handled in a PivotTable." It probably just started showing up because some internal limit within Excel was reached. For instance, your source data may include more and more column fields each week than the week before. If the number of such fields exceeds what Excel can handle—because you've added more data—then you get just such a message.

Excel is also limited by the amount of memory available in your system. You may want to check how much memory you have available and add more memory, if necessary.

The limits of what Excel can stuff into a PivotTable depend on the version of Excel you are using. The limits are discussed in various Knowledge Base articles. Here is the one for Excel 2000:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/211517

These are the limits for Excel 2002 and Excel 2003:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/820742

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (7513) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Assigning Macros to Graphics

The graphics you place in a worksheet can do more than just look pretty. You can also assign macros to a graphic, which ...

Discover More

Closing Excel when Closing the Last Workbook

Have you noticed that when you close the last workbook in Excel, the program window itself often stays open? This ...

Discover More

Selecting to the Next Punctuation Mark

Writing macros often involves selecting different parts of your document so that some sort of processing can be ...

Discover More

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Can't Update Excel 2007 PivotTables in Excel 2003

If you create a PivotTable in Excel 2007, you may have problems editing or updating that PivotTable in Excel 2003. The ...

Discover More

Rows in a PivotTable

PivotTables are used to analyze huge amounts of data. The number of rows used in a PivotTable depends on the type of ...

Discover More

Updating Multiple PivotTables at Once

PivotTables are a great way to process huge amounts of data and make sense of that data. If you have a number of ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 5 - 3?

2019-07-19 08:46:32

Kevin

Dear Allen
I have a pivot table that I would like to limit the size of the table to (10,5) for display as my dashboard is not very big. As I change the filters in the slicer, I would like the table to have a scrollbar and maintain the same size instead of adding new rows or columns of data.
How do I handle this? I have scoured the net and didn't find anything.


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.