Error "Database error 0x80004005: External table is not in the expected format." Connecting to Excel

Published: 21 Dec 2015
Last Modified Date: 21 Dec 2016


When connecting to a Microsoft Excel data source, the following error might occur: 

An error occurred while communicating with the data source.
Unable to connect to the server. Check that the server is running and that you have access privileges to the requested database.
Database error 0x80004005: External table is not in the expected format. 


  • Tableau Desktop
  • Legacy connection to Microsoft Excel 


Option 1

Upgrade the data source. For more information, see Upgrading Data Sources
Note: This works for Tableau Desktop 8.2 and later versions.

Option 2

Save the Excel file in Excel 97-2003 format. For more information, see Save a workbook in another file format in Microsoft help. 

Option 3

Remove any charts or graphs from the Excel file.


The Microsoft JET Database Engine is unable to work with a chart or graph that is contained in the data source.

Additional Information

Jet-based Excel connection issues can only occur in workbooks created in Tableau Desktop 8.1 and earlier or in workbooks that use the legacy connection.
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