Alteryx Designer Desktop Knowledge Base

Definitive answers from Designer Desktop experts.

"Data at the root level is invalid" when opening a workflow in Designer



 Error: Data at the root level is invalid

 Error: Data at the root level is invalid

Environment Details

  • Alteryx Designer
    • All versions



This error is commonly the result of the workflow has been corrupt.
For almost all corrupted workflows, it's the underlying XML that's invalid. The cause of that may be something in the workflow that results in invalid XML or something during the save process. If you are seeing this across multiple workflows, perhaps there's a commonality that can be identified between them. 
To add, it's not only just tools and the configurations, but files, file types, file locations, workflow configurations, etc. If not, then perhaps it's the application in its current state within the environment. 




Solution A 

You can attempt to utilize the Autorecover feature
  1. File > Open Workflow > Open AutoRecover to access a previous version. 

Solution B 

If there's a .bak file within the location of the workflow, you can attempt to rename the .bak extension to .yxmd and open the backup version of the workflow. This may require the activation of displaying Hidden Items within the File Explorer. Otherwise, should you continue to experience difficulties with this version, they may consider creating a new instance of the workflow (copy/paste or brand new).

Additional Resources


8 - Asteroid

I am trying to open a simple excel file and getting the same error. Not sure what is wrong. Getting errors for both types of files i,e xlsx and xls.



Alteryx Alumni (Retired)

That looks like you are trying to open a data file as a workflow.  Instead, what happens if you use an Input Data tool to read your .xls?  You might also need this:  How to Enable Microsoft Excel Binary, Excel Legacy, Access (accdb) for In/Out tools