I have a very basic Excel PowerPivot data model that I moved to SharePoint online. The file that I'm testing with is a basic Excel file, that contains no external data connections, and the pivot table’s data source is a table in the data model. I get the following error when I attempt to to filter the pivot table in anyway in our production environment:

“This workbook contains external data connections or BI features that are not supported”

The same file works as expected (no errors) in our test tenant. Here are some of the things I’ve tried and verified to this point (our test tenant is first-release enabled):

  1. Made sure my test tenant collection and production collection matched on enabled site collection features
  2. Same thing as above just for the individual site features
  3. In the test tenant, I confirmed that it worked with multiple accounts, some with the free Power BI license applied and others without
  4. In the production tenant, I tried with both an account that was synced through AAC and one that was created directly in the Office 365 admin interface. Same error message for both accounts.
  5. I’ve tried opening the file in Excel online in multiple sites in both test and production. The results are the same throughout, I can filter the pivot table in test but I can’t in production.

Is there a SharePoint setting or a feature that needs to be enabled to allow advanced analytic features such as a PowerPivot data models to function in Excel Online?


  • Is the Test Tenant SharePoint Online as well? Have you tried opening the document on Excel Desktop to see if it works on production? Jan 10, 2017 at 1:19
  • Yes, both tenants are Office 365. The only difference between our test environment and production is that our test tenant is setup for first-release updates. I have tried opening the file in the full client (rather than using the Excel web app), and all of the interactions with the pivot table work as expected.
    – Riley Hale
    Jan 10, 2017 at 2:54
  • I just tried a workbook with Power Pivot on my small biz O365 and it's pivoting nicely! I can filter with slicers and modify pivot tables. I haven't adjusted anything, I just dragged it to One Drive an it worked. That's kind of kool. Have you tried a different Workbook?
    – MikeAinOz
    Jan 10, 2017 at 8:46
  • Yes. I have tried multiple workbooks with different data models in each. They all work as expected in our test tenant, but don't work in production.
    – Riley Hale
    Jan 10, 2017 at 14:02

1 Answer 1


The reason is that Pivot Tables are still in development. Your test tenant has the option to use Preview Features and therefore allows you to work with Pivot Tables in Excel Online. The official MS documentation still says Pivot Tables aren't supported. But, the Office 365 roadmap shows this is the development stage.

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You will need to wait until this is fully released.

-Hope this helps.

  • To test that theory we went ahead and disabled preview features entirely in the test tenant. We then cleared browser cache and cookies and logged back into Office 365. The Excel workbooks that contained a data model, pivot tables, and slicers continued to work without error. This leads me to believe that enabling/disabling Preview Features is not the root cause of the problem.
    – Riley Hale
    Jan 10, 2017 at 14:04

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