Power Pivot for Microsoft Excel is a great self-service business intelligence (BI) tool that lets Excel power users build pretty sophisticated models that help them and their target audience analyze business data. Consequently, it is very common to see Power Pivot workbooks being distributed among users in an organization. The recommended methodology is to upload the Power Pivot workbook to a Microsoft SharePoint Enterprise site and let users access the file through that site. Another option is to upgrade the Power Pivot model to a tabular model and let users connect to the tabular model through Excel.

Having said that, some organizations might not have the tools needed to follow these two approaches. As a workaround, users might be distributing Power Pivot workbooks through email or downloading workbooks to their local machines. As a result, the users might run into some issues, including:

  • A mismatch in Power Pivot versions and the subsequent need to upgrade Power Pivot
  • Power Pivot not being installed on a user’s machine

Note: These FAQ’s are applicable for the Power Pivot add-in available for Microsoft Excel 2010.

Here are five frequently asked questions (FAQs) about installing and upgrading Power Pivot:

Q1: What should I do when I see the error message, “You are attempting to access PowerPivot data that was added using a newer version of PowerPivot. This action is not supported, and you cannot access the data. To continue working with the PowerPivot data, you must use the latest version of PowerPivot.”?


A1: The error message is pretty self-explanatory. You need to install the latest version of Power Pivot because you cannot open a workbook with a previous version of Power Pivot.

Q2: How can I upgrade Power Pivot on my machine?

A2: First, you need to uninstall the existing version. (Although it is not intuitive, you must do this.) Next, you need to download the version to which you want to upgrade. Finally, you need to install the new version.

Q3: How do I find out which Power Pivot version is installed on my machine?

A3: Open Excel, select the Power Pivot tab, and click the Settings option. You will see the version displayed on the top part of the screen.


Q4: On Microsoft’s Power Pivot download page, I see two versions of Power Pivot: x86 (32-bit) and x64 (64-bit). Which version is right for me?

A4: Your Excel version should match the Power Pivot version. For example, if you have the 32-bit version of Excel, you need to install the x86 (32-bit) version of Power Pivot.

Q5: How do I find out which version of Excel (32-bit versus 64-bit) is installed on my machine?

A5: Open Excel, select the File tab, and click the Help option. The version will be listed under the “About Microsoft Excel” heading.