Building a report in Excel and getting the error “Initialization failed”? Check your password.

By Donald Egen • April 1st, 2015

Don't kill the computerI was building a report for a client in Excel using an OLEDB connection to the back end data base.  Pretty standard stuff, do it all the time.  From my favorite SQL Query editor tool all was well.  Snap the SQL Select statement into Excel and all I can get is “Initialization failed” and no data.

In fact, attempting to get any data (even just from a single table) from this data base gave the same error message.

After some fumbling around I realized that we were connecting to the back end data base using a specific user name and a password.  And the password had a pound sign (#) in it.

I reset the password to blank and everything started working.

Apparently the Excel connection string builder does not correctly escape all possible special characters.  So this client will have to change his password for this to work.

Moral of the story – sometimes you just have to punt.


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