Least Informative Excel Message Ever

Least Informative Excel Message Ever

I’ve seen some confusing Error messages while working in Excel, and some rather cryptic ones. But yesterday, I saw the least informative Excel message ever, while working with a pivot table in Excel 2013.


The message was spread across the entire screen, and all it showed was the yellow warning symbol. I guess Excel was speechless, due to my bad behaviour.

Have you seen any useless messages in Excel? Or is it just me?

Don’t Move the Field

What had I done, to deserve this silent treatment? I was writing a post for my Pivot Table blog, about calculated items versus calculated fields.


If you create a calculated item in a field, you can’t move that field to the Report Filter area. That’s just one of the problems with calculated items – avoid them if you can!

Anyway, while experimenting with the file, I tried to move a field that had a calculated item, and that message popped up. Fortunately, I knew what the problem was, but someone who didn’t know the rule might be more than a little confused.

Error Message in 2010

I’d seen more helpful messages about calculated items before, so I opened Excel 2010, and tried the same thing there.

When dragged the field to the Report Filter area, a much more informative message appeared. I’ve split it in two, so you can read it.


The message says, “This field cannot be placed in the report filter because it contains calculated items. To place this field in the report filter, first delete the calculated items.”

That’s what I like to see in an error message – an explanation of the problem, and a suggestion for fixing it.

Maybe they’ll fix that 2013 message sometime soon. In the meantime, don’t do that!