Resolving PivotTable Copy Issues with xlwings in Python

What will you learn?

In this tutorial, you will master the art of copying Excel worksheets containing PivotTables using the xlwings library in Python. You’ll gain insights into handling complex spreadsheet manipulations, ensuring data integrity and layout precision while working with PivotTables.

Introduction to Problem and Solution

Encountering challenges when copying worksheets with PivotTables using xlwings is a common hurdle for Python developers working with Excel files. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive solution that navigates through these obstacles seamlessly. By understanding the intricacies of PivotTables and leveraging the capabilities of xlwings, you’ll be equipped to tackle this task effectively.

Diving Into the Problem and Crafting a Solution

Copying an Excel worksheet with a PivotTable requires special attention due to its structured format and data connections. To address this, we will follow a strategic approach:

  1. Environment Setup: Ensure your environment is configured correctly with xlwings.
  2. Python Script Development: Develop a Python script that handles the copying process meticulously, considering all aspects of PivotTables.
  3. Data Integrity: Pay close attention to maintaining data integrity and layout precision throughout the copy operation.


import xlwings as xw

def copy_worksheet_with_pivot_table(source_wb_path, target_wb_path):
    app = xw.App(visible=False)  # Open Xlwings App invisibly
    source_wb =
    target_wb =

    source_sheet_name = "SheetWithPivot"  # Name of sheet containing pivot table
    target_sheet_name = "CopiedSheetWithPivot"

    source_sheet = source_wb.sheets[source_sheet_name]

    # Rename copied sheet in target workbook
    target_wb.sheets[0].name = target_sheet_name


copy_worksheet_with_pivot_table("source.xlsx", "target.xlsx")

# Copyright PHD


Our solution involves carefully copying Excel worksheets with PivotTables using xlwings:

  1. Initialize: Set up an instance of xlwings App invisibly.
  2. Open Workbooks: Open both the source and target workbooks.
  3. Identify Sheets: Locate the sheet in the source workbook containing the PivotTable.
  4. Copy Process: Utilize Excel’s COM interface via xlwing’s api attribute for direct copying.
  5. Rename Copied Sheet: Rename the duplicated sheet in the new workbook appropriately.
  6. Closure: Save changes made in target.xlsx and gracefully close both workbooks.

This method ensures that all complexities within original PivotTables are preserved during the copy process.

    1. How do I install xlwings? To install xlwings, run pip install xlwings.

    2. Can I use this code snippet for multiple sheets at once? Yes! Simply loop through your desired sheet names within the defined function.

    3. Do I need Microsoft Excel installed on my machine? Yes, as xlwing directly interacts with Excel software, its presence is essential for successful execution.

    4. Is there a limitation on dataset size within pivot tables when copying? There is no explicit limit; however, performance may vary based on system specifications and Excel version used.

    5. Can this code run on non-Windows platforms? While primarily designed for Windows due to its COM interface reliance, limited Mac compatibility exists under specific configurations – refer to official documentation for guidance.


By mastering the techniques outlined in this guide, you will not only overcome challenges associated with handling PivotTables but also enhance your proficiency in managing complex spreadsheet operations efficiently using Python and xlwings library.

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