We’ve had a few reports recently from people who have built new PivotTables in Excel 2013, and when they try to reopen the book, receive a message saying:

We found a problem with some
content in <filename>. Do you want us to try to recover as much as we can? If you trust the source of this workbook, click Yes.

When they click “Yes,” and the file opens, they see a second message:

Removed Part: /xl/pivotCache/pivotCacheDefinition1.xml part with XML
error.  (PivotTable cache) Load error. Line 2, column 0.

Removed Feature: PivotTable
report from /xl/pivotTables/pivotTable1.xml part (PivotTable view)

 The data associated with the PivotTable is still there, but the PivotTable no longer functions. This can also occur if you open a PivotTable from Excel 2010 is opened in Excel 2013, the data refreshed, and the file saved. When you try to reopen the file, it reports a problem with the content.

We have found that this will occur if Excel tries to read a 0 value in where it expects a date. Microsoft is currently investigating the issue further. In the meantime, you can work around this issue as follows:

  1. Right Click on the PivotTable
    Click PivotTableOptions
  2. On the Display tab, clear the checkbox labeled
    “Show Properties in ToolTips.”
  3. Save the file with the new setting intact. Note:
    If you fail to use the workaround before saving and closing the file, we cannot
    recover the PivotTable.

For an explanation about how Excel stores dates as serial numbers, see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/214094.