Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. 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: Text Truncated in PivotTable.

Text Truncated in PivotTable

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 23, 2020)

4

Anil complained that when he created a PivotTable, some of the text in some of the source cells was truncated when it was placed in the PivotTable. He wondered if there wes a way around this.

The first thing to do is make sure that the text is actually being truncated. When text is transferred to a cell in a PivotTable, it works much the same as text in the original worksheet. This means that the text is "cut off" when there is data in the cell to the right of the text cell. The full text is still there, but it cannot be displayed because there is not enough room to do so within the cell.

Testing has shown, however, that PivotTables will only transfer up to 255 characters from a source cell. Anything after that is truncated. This limit seems to be hard-coded into Excel, and there is no way around it that I could discover. The limit of 255 characters may seem arbitrary, and it is. I can only surmise that Microsoft needed to establish a length limit on text, and figured that 255 characters should be sufficient for most purposes.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (11784) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Text Truncated in PivotTable.

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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What is 9 + 4?

2020-10-23 08:43:26

Russell Stainer

(The 255 limit is due to how many numerical values, or positions of characters in this case, that you can store in 8-bits. Probably a limit on a fundamental piece of the architecture in the original design of Excel, that could not be changed without causing major problems. As John says, with a complete rewrite for 64-bit, that limitation has probably gone away.)


2017-02-01 10:10:26

David Robinson

As no workaround is suggested to overcome the 255 character limit, can I suggest if you encounter the problem you get the pivott able to return an identifying piece of information, and then use a formula in a column adjacent to the pivot table (but outside it) to return the long text string using INDEX and MATCH? I tested this out and it retrieves the whole string, although the display on screen was limited to 1,000 characters and of course the expression bar shows the formula (unless you copy and paste values).


2017-01-29 11:27:37

John Thomas

This seems to be a 2007 or 2013 limitation or it could be related to a 32-bit issue. I tested this on my 2016 64-bit version of excel and could not get a pivot table to truncate any text. I test up to 1,000 char.


2017-01-29 04:14:01

FrankT

Outdated tip?


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