Pivot Table Field List Missing? How to Get It Back

Bottom line: If the pivot table field list went missing on you, this article and video will explain a few ways to make it visible again.  I also share a few other tips for working with the field list.

Skill level: Beginner

Watch on YouTube (and give it a thumbs up)

The Pivot Table Field List Disappeared

Typically when you select a cell inside a pivot table, the pivot table field list automatically appears on the right side of the Excel application window in a task pane.

However, the pivot table field list can go missing (get disabled) if you accidentally press the close button in the top right corner of the field list.

Pivot Table Field List Missing - Close Button

The close button hides the field list.  This means that it will NOT reappear when you select a cell inside a pivot table.

So how do we make it visible again?  Here are a few quick ways to do it.

Method #1: Show the Pivot Table Field List with the Right-click Menu

Probably the fastest way to get it back is to use the right-click menu.

Pivot Table Field List Missing - Show from the Right-Click Menu

Right-click any cell in the pivot table and select Show Field List from the menu.  This will make the field list visible again and restore it's normal behavior.

The field list will disappear when a cell outside the pivot table is selected, and it will reappear again when a cell inside the pivot table is selected.

The Field List Button is a toggle button.  This means we only have to turn it on/off once to keep the setting.  When we click the close button in the top-right corner of the field list, the toggle will be turned off.  The field list will be hidden until we toggle it back on.

Pivot Table Field List Missing - Close Button Toggles Field List Off

Method #2: Show the Field List from the Ribbon

The field list can also be toggled on/off from the ribbon menu.

Pivot Table Field List Missing - Show from the Excel Ribbon Field List Toggle Button

  1. First select any cell inside the pivot table.
  2. Click on the Analyze/Options tab in the ribbon.  The tab is called Options in Excel 2010 and earlier.
  3. Click the Field List button on the right side of the ribbon.  This is also a toggle button that will show or hide the field list.

Field List Tip: Undock and Move the Task Pane

The most common reason the field list close button gets clicked is because the field list is in the way.  Sometimes it covers up the pivot table and forces you to scroll horizontally.

We can actually move the field list outside of the Excel application window.  You can even move it to another screen if you have multiple monitors.

Move the Pivot Table Field List Anywhere Outside Excel Application Window

  1. When you hover the mouse over the top of the field list, the cursor will turn to cross arrows.
  2. Left-click and hold to drag and move the field list.

Move the Pivot Table Field List with the Cross Arrow Cursor

To re-dock the field list, double-click the top of the field list window.  That will automatically move it back to its default location on the right side of the Excel application window.

Use PivotPal to Modify the Pivot Table from the Source Data Sheet

The field list always disappears when you click a cell outside the pivot table.  I have always thought it would be nice to be able to see the field list while working with the source data sheet for the pivot table.

So I built this feature into the PivotPal add-in.  In the video above I explain how you can use PivotPal to build and modify the pivot table while looking at the source data sheet.

This feature saves me a ton of time every day.  I don't have to jump back and forth between the source data and pivot table sheets.  This is especially useful when searching for a field that I don't know the name of.

PivotPal - Build and Modify Pivot Tables from the Source Data Sheet

PivotPal is an Excel Add-in that is packed with features.  It will save you a lot of time when working with pivot tables.

PivotPal Box 250x250

Click here to learn more about PivotPal

What Are Your Favorite Field List Tips?

Do you have any other tips for working with the pivot table field list?  Please share by leaving a comment below.  Thanks!

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Jon Acampora

Welcome to Excel Campus! I am excited you are here. My name is Jon and my goal is to help you learn Excel to save time with your job and advance in your career. I've been an avid Excel user and VBA developer for 10+ years. I am also a Microsoft MVP. I try to learn something new everyday, and want to share this knowledge with you to help you improve your skills. When I'm not looking at spreadsheets, I get outdoors and surf. :) more about me

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 24 comments
LG - September 11, 2018

Thanks so much Jon!! Solved my issue.

Suzanne Boothe - August 30, 2018

Thanks David. What a huge help to me today! It saved me so much time and frustration.

Luis - June 8, 2018

It is not working the field list is selected but is not appearing

sheeba - April 18, 2018

Hi Good Morning

My excel Pivot table is disabled/inactive when reopen the file.

Melissa - February 12, 2018

Solved my problem, thank you!!!

Sugus - November 8, 2017

Hi John,

Could you help me please?
My Pivot table field doesn’t show the search tap.


Barbara - October 9, 2017


Steel Monkey - August 1, 2017

The real solution is to shut down Excel, navigate to the username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Excel folder, and delete the excel15.xlb files from both that folder and the XLSTARTUP folder. Launch Excel and your field list will reappear in its old position, docked on the right-hand side of the window.

    WJN - September 25, 2017

    I was helping a colleague with a similar problem and saw Steel Monkey’s solution posted here. My colleague’s field list was being displayed as an undocked window, and it was positioned partially off the top of his screen so he couldn’t reposition it. We found an “excel14.xlb” file as suggested by Steel Monkey. Deleting that caused the field list to be docked again. (We didn’t see an “excel15.xlb” on his system.) Thanks for sharing the solution!

    MFSiew - January 15, 2018

    Excellent help. I was in locked environment for pass 20 years. just restart my new job playing with pivot table. this tip really helpful. thanks !

    Chris MacKenzie - April 9, 2018

    Thanks so much…this solved the problem!

Anna - June 19, 2017

Hi! Thank you for your tutorial. May I ask what version of excel is being used in it? Thank you in advance.

hassan - April 25, 2017

I don’t have any option to show PivotTable Chart. How can i get it?

Vlad - February 22, 2017

Hi ,

I have Excel 15.30 for Mac and I hate that the Field List for Pivot is floating and not docked as I was used in Windows.
Do you know how to dock it?


    Vamshi Gupta - April 20, 2017

    I had the same issue and I resolved it by double clicking on the name “PivotTable Fields”.
    Key point here is to double-click on the name and not anywhere in the floating PivotTable name

    Vamshi Gupta - April 20, 2017

    I had the same issue, I fixed it by double clicking over “PivotTable Fields”

Celeste - January 24, 2017

my field list has moved off the screen, i can see the bottom part but because the top is not in sight i cant move it. any tips?

    Jon Acampora - February 4, 2017

    Hi Celeste,
    That sounds like a tricky one. You might want to try changing the monitor resolution to see if that helps move it into view. I don’t believe there is a keyboard shortcut to dock it.

Bruce - September 19, 2016

Hi Jon,
I looked at all your advice, and still can’t bring it up. This is a spreadsheet that somebody else created, and has taken great pains to lock down. When I choose “Show Field List”, nothing happens. When I click on the pivot table, I do not see the “Analyze/Options” menu appear.
Any idea where I go next?

    Jon Acampora - September 27, 2016

    Hi Bruce,
    The creator of that file probably used VBA and/or modified the XML code of the file to hide the Ribbon menus.

      Bruce - September 28, 2016

      Hi Jon,

      VBA was the first thing I thought of, but when I set up my Excel properties to not run VBA code, I got the same results. I even deleted all VBA code and opened the worksheet again, with no luck.

      Where would I view XML code and see if this was set? I did discover that a few worksheet tabs DO have editable Pivot tables, but most don’t, so whatever is causing this seems to be likely to be set at the worksheet level. But I could not find any property that seemed to be causing it.


        Jon Acampora - October 3, 2016

        Hi Bruce,
        The XML code is not accessible from the Excel interface. You can access it by changing the file extension to “.zip” and opening the zip folder to see the files contents. There are also free tools like the Custom UI Editor that make it easier to view the XML code for a file. This is a topic I cover in detail in my VBA Pro Course. Here is a link to a free training series on Macros & VBA that is part of the course. I hope that helps get you started.

David - April 20, 2016

As always thanks for taking the time to provide so much valuable information.



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