Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007 and 2010. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Error in Linked PivotTable Value.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 1, 2019)
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:
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:
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 (10650) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Error in Linked PivotTable Value.
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!
If you ever try to edit a PivotTable and get an error that tells you that the "underlying data was not included," it can ...Discover More
PivotTables are used to boil down huge data sets into something you can more easily understand. They are very good simple ...Discover More
When you refresh the data in a PivotTable, Excel can play havoc with whatever formatting you applied. Here's how to ...Discover More
FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."
Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.