Error "Errors occurred while loading the data source" Connecting to XLS Files

Published: 10 Jul 2014
Last Modified Date: 27 Jul 2018


When you try to connect to Excel files from Tableau Desktop, the following error might occur:
An error occurred while communicating with data source '<data source name>'.
Errors occurred while loading the data source.
Unable to connect to the server. Check that the server is running and that you have have access privileges to the requested data base.

In addition, when you try to open the Excel file in Microsoft Excel, the following warning might appear:
The file you are trying to open, '<file name>.xls', is in a different format than specified by the file extension. Verify that the file is not corrupted and is from a trusted source before opening the file. Do you want to open the file now?


  • Tableau Desktop
  • Microsoft Excel
  • .xls file


Option 1

Change the File Extension from .xls to .xlsx.  
  1. Open the Excel file in Microsoft Excel, and then save it with the .xlsx extension.  
  2. Open Tableau Desktop, and reconnect to the .xlsx file.  

Option 2

Ensure that the Excel workbook is not password protected  
  1. Go to FileInfo in the Excel workbook 
  2. Go to Protect Workbook and remove the password. 

Option 3

Ensure that the file path of the Excel file has not changed  
  1. Open the Tableau Desktop workbook.
  2. Right-click on the data source in the Data pane on the top left of the window and select Edit Data Source... 
  3. Click on the Excel file name and ensure that the connection is pointing to the right file path.
    1. In Tableau Desktop 10 and later versions, this option can be found under Connections > <data source> drop down menu > Edit Connection... 
    2. In Tableau Desktop 9.3 and earlier versions, this option can be found under Workbook
  4. If the file path is wrong, then re-establish a connection to the Excel file located at the correct file path.


This error likely is received when the Excel file is password protected and Tableau Desktop cannot access the file.
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