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Alteryx designer Discussions

Find answers, ask questions, and share expertise about Alteryx Designer.

Excel Sheets Not Being Read

Alteryx Partner

Hi guys,


I'm having problems reading Excel files (.xlsx) downloaded from the internet.


Using the Input tool, it's unable to read sheets when I try to "Select a Sheet".


The tool works when we open the file manually and save it before adding it to Alteryx, however, for freshly downloaded files, we get the above problem. Obviously this leads to challenges when it comes to automating our workflows.


Has anyone faced this issue, and if so, how was it solved?





**PS: would upload a sample file, but it contains confidential data, and altering it would fix this issue (Catch-22)

Alteryx Partner

Hi @Muizz,


Are you able instead to share a screenshot of your workflow/error?

Can you outline your physical workflow (not the alteryx part, but how the file comes to exist on your system).  Tough to diagnose problems like these without source but some additional questions might help us narrow it down.

If you're saying its an excel file being downloaded from the internet but it contains proprietary information, are you pulling it out of OneDrive or an internal blob storage service? 

Is this an automated report generated by some other piece of software or an excel file created the old fashioned way?

Does opening the file and not saving any changes fix it, or is it only fixed when you save the file again?

Does excel notify you that there is a problem with the spreadsheet when you open it?


I'm wondering if it's something with doctype related to the download that alteryx doesn't fix natively, but I've never ran into this specific issue before.

Alteryx Partner

Hi @mborriero,


Thanks for replying!


As you can see, the tool isn't able to detect the sheet(s).


No Results Found.png

Alteryx Partner

Hi @david_fetters


The file is an automated report generated by another piece of software that's automatically uploaded to an FTP.


We setup (python) scripts to download the file from the FTP at intervals. We got around this problem previously by setting up the scripts to open and save the files automatically once the downloads were done, but we're trying to move away from the scripts and automate the whole process in Alteryx.


Opening the file alone does not solve the problem, the file needs to be saved for it to appear in Alteryx. We don't get notified of any errors when opening the file in Excel or Tableau (although in excel the file is opened in protected view until we enable editing and save it). This is something we have come across only in Alteryx. 




Hi Muizz, 

Is it possible that there is corruption at the automated report or the FTP download level? It sounds to me like it's trying to force something like a .csv to be an .xlsx file. Similar to how you can change the file extension of something without actually opening and saving as a new file type. 


For instance, you can rename a .txt file to be .xlsx and when you open it you receive a "File may be corrupted" error that goes away when you save it from the open file into the proper .xlsx format.


If you have the ability to change the output from the automated report I would play around there. . . 


Let me know how it goes for you, 



Hi Cpituley,


I am having a similar issue to Muizz for Excel reports downloaded from OneSource or Longview. They download as .xlsx from the site, and open fine on my computer, but Alteryx does not recognize the file until i re-save the file (still as .xlsx) onto my computer.  I don't believe it's a corruption issue where these files are exported in another format because they open in Excel just fine.  It seems to only be an Alteryx nuance.  Any help you can provide is appreciated! 


I had the exact same issue and found that if I renamed the sheet and saved the xlsx the sheet was then visible to select.  Not a full solution but maybe a clue there.


Hi @cclark017!


I had a similar issue inputting files from and FTP drive as @cpituley described. In my case, the files are actually tab delimited files saved with an .xls extension. 




My workaround is to force Alteryx to bring the file in as a CSV with no delimiters (\0 in Input setting 5), then I created a macro to parse with a tab delimiter (\t) after the input.



Let us know if any of these solutions are working for you.






I've had a similar issue - fortunately it is a once off. A ~450 MB xls file with 11 sheets in it that would not allow me to pick which sheet. I too had to open and save to allow Alteryx to see the sheets and select one


For people searching in the future, the error code I got is:

Timed out in DataWrap2_InboundNamedPipe::ReadFile: after 30000 milliseconds


@Muizz - one workaround we have used for a similar issue is to call a batch script that opens, saves and closes the Excel workbooks. You could run with a run command tool in WF before the one that inputs the data that you use, or after your auto download.