Using a BI workbook in a browser window

You’re attempting to view or interact with a workbook in a browser window, and for some reason, you can’t. Maybe you’re getting an error message that resembles one of these:

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

  • “To edit in the browser, a copy of the file will be created without interactive report sheets.”

Or, maybe you’re getting another kind of message. Either way, you can’t seem to use the workbook in the browser as expected. You might be wondering why, and more importantly, what to do about it.

Why does this happen, and what can I do?

Most likely, you’re trying to use a workbook that has business intelligence (BI) features that aren’t supported in a browser window. BI features can include things like external data connections, PivotChart reports, PivotTable reports, a Data Model, a Power View sheet, Timeline controls, and so on. Whether you can use a workbook that has BI features in a browser window can depend on several things, such as those listed in the following table.



What to do

How your (on premises) environment is configured

If you’re trying to view the workbook in an on-premises environment, there could be an issue with how the environment is configured.

For example, if Excel Web App (which is part of Office Web Apps) is used to display workbooks in a browser window instead of Excel Services in SharePoint Server 2013, it’s possible that the workbook contains features that are not supported in Excel Web App. For more information, see Comparing Excel Online, Excel Services, and Excel Web App.

Ask your SharePoint administrator to look into this.

What subscription to Office 365 you have

If you’re using Office 365, the subscription you have could affect whether you can view a workbook in a browser window. For more information, see Business intelligence capabilities in Excel and SharePoint Online.

Ask your administrator to look into this.

Where the workbook resides

If you’re opening the workbook from a location that is not secure or from someone’s personal online folder, BI features in the workbook might not be available for you to use in a browser window. For more information, see Share workbooks using Excel Services.

Ask the workbook’s owner to confirm that the workbook is saved in a SharePoint library.

What the workbook contains

Some features, such as macros or workbook protection can prevent a workbook from being viewed in a browser window. For more information, see Differences between using a workbook in the browser and in Excel.

Open the file in Excel.

Office 365 administrative settings

If you're viewing or editing a workbook that's hosted in Office 365 and it's not interactive in the way that you expect (for example, Power Pivot workbooks aren't interactive), your administrator may need to enable these features.

Ask your administrator to check if preview features are enabled.

If, for whatever reason, you’re trying to use a workbook in a browser window and you can’t, you can typically save the file to your device and then open it in Excel.

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