Fix Microsoft Excel Error – PivotTable Field Name Is Not Valid

PivotTable is a powerful feature offered by Microsoft Excel. It helps extracting important details from detailed and large data sets. While creating a new PivotTable or refreshing data in the existing PivotTable, you may come across a Pivot Table error stating: “The PivotTable field name is not valid. To create a PivotTable, you must use data that is organized as a list with labeled columns. If you are changing the name of a PivotTable field, you must type a new name for the field.

PivotTable in Excel

In addition to this, you may face the following error in Microsoft Excel 5.0, 5.0a, 5.0c, and 7.0 versions.

Pivot table field name is not valid.

Procedure to Insert PivotTable in Excel

Let’s look at how we can insert a PivotTable on excel:

  1. Inside the data set, click on any single cell
  2. Click on the PivotTable in the Insert tab
  3. In the PivotTable window, Excel automatically picks data
  4. The default location for the New Pivot Table is a New Worksheet
  5. Click on OK to exit Create PivotTable window
  6. The PivotTable Field List will appear

Example: If the Pivot Table is created for Order Tracking containing various fields such as Order ID, Product, Category, Amount, Date, Destination Port and Country, drag the above fields to different columns for getting the total amount exported of each product:

  • Drag Product field to Row Labels column
  • Drag Amount field to Values column
  • Drag Country field to Report Filter area

In this example, the Pivot Table will display all the products along with the total sum details in the next step. You can check the major export product easily.

Thus, with the help of different features in the Pivot Table, you can easily list, sort, filter, or modify it in easy steps. Although it is easy to create, the functionality becomes quite complex when PivotTable Field Name is not Valid error message appears.

Identify the cause of MS Excel Pivot Table Error

PivotTable Field Name is not Valid error message occurs if one or more empty spaces exist in the first row of the range where the Pivot Table attempts to extract data from. Microsoft offers various methods to resolve this problem. Let’s look at each:

Method #1: Alter First Row

Modifying the first row of the table in such a form that it would not contain even a single empty cell, may resolve the error.

Method #2: Modify the Range

Modifying or changing the range that the PivotTable references to a range in which the first row does not incorporate any empty cells may help resolve MS Excel Pivot Table error message. The procedure for changing or determining the range of existing PivotTable references is shown below:

  1. Select a cell in the PivotTable
  2. Click on PivotTable Report in the Data menu
    Note: For MS Excel 5.0 or 7.0, click on PivotTable
  3. Clicking on Back button will display the PivotTable Wizard – Step 2 to 4 dialog box
  4. In the window that appears, the current range for PivotTable will be displayed. Edit Source Data Range
  5. At last, click on Finish to exit the window


Tips and Suggestions to Fix PivotTable Field Name is not Valid Error

There are some additional tips and suggestions you might try to resolve the Pivot Table error issue.

  • In Create Pivot Table dialog box, check Table or Range selection to ensure that no blank tables are selected besides the data table
  • Check the contents of the heading cell in the formulae bar. You will notice that the text from a heading cell overlaps a blank cell beside the cell
  • Unmerge the merged cells existing in the heading row and then add heading to each separate cell
  • In the source data range, check for the hidden columns and if they are blank, try to add headings
  • A third-party Excel file repair tool can also fix the pivot table error.

Microsoft Excel error – ‘PivotTable field is not valid’ occurs due to missing columns in the first row of the PivotTable. In other words, it occurs when one or more column representing Heading name is left blank while creating the Pivot Table.

Although, this error message may occur frequently and affect the functionality of the Excel file, the positive aspect is that it can easily be resolved by executing the above mentioned workarounds.

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6 Responses

  1. omkar says:

    Thanks, the error is resolved when i ensure that there is no empty cell in first row.

    very helpfull tip, thaks again.

  2. Aki says:

    I have similar issue however the file I am working on, has number of pivot tables, how do I identify which pivot table is causing this issue from all the piv tables.

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