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: Error in Linked PivotTable Value.

Error in Linked PivotTable Value

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated April 21, 2018)

Adam has two workbooks; call them A and B. In workbook A he has a link to a value in a PivotTable that is in workbook B. When he opens workbook A and workbook B is not open, Adam gets a #REF! error for the link. He wonders if there is any way to avoid getting the error when linking to a PivotTable value in a workbook that is not open.

There are a couple of ways you can approach this problem. Both methods involve understanding how Excel references the PivotTable value in workbook A. When you create a link to the value and both workbook A and workbook B are open, the reference will look something like this:

=GETPIVOTDATA("TotalValue",'C:\XLDocs\[MyData.xls]PTable'!$H$15,"EName","Rac")

One way to handle the problem is to envelope the reference within an IF statement, in this manner:

=IF(ISERROR(=GETPIVOTDATA("TotalValue",'C:\XLDocs\[MyData.xls]PTable'!
$H$15,"EName","Rac")),"Make sure Workbook B is Open", =GETPIVOTDATA(
"TotalValue",'C:\XLDocs\[MyData.xls]PTable'!$H$15,"EName","Rac"))

The formula checks the result of the GETPIVOTDATA function, and if it returns an error value (like when workbook B is not open), it displays a message. Only if there is no error value will the value in workbook B be fetched.

Another way is to modify the original reference so that the GETPIVOTDATA function is not being used. (It is this particular function that is generating the error when workbook B is not open.) Here's the way you should redo the reference so that the value is referenced directly instead of through a function:

='C:\MyWork\XLDocs\[MyData.xls]PTable'!$H$15

When the reference is rewritten in this manner, the error condition isn't returned.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10649) 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: Error in Linked PivotTable Value.

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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