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Written by Jacky Chou

How To Use Pivot Tables In Excel: A Step-By-Step Guide

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Key Takeaway:

  • Introduction to Pivot Tables in Excel: Pivot tables are a powerful tool for analyzing and summarizing large data sets in Excel. They allow users to create customized views of data, making it easier to analyze trends and patterns.
  • Creating a Pivot Table: Setting up data for a pivot table involves organizing it in a tabular format with unique column names, and ensuring that each column has a header row. Once the data is ready, creating a pivot table involves selecting the data range and choosing the pivot table command from the Excel ribbon.
  • Working with Pivot Table Data: The data in a pivot table can be modified by filtering, sorting, grouping, and calculating data. These features allow users to customize the pivot table to meet their needs and analyze data from different perspectives.

Additional Resources:
– How To Use Pivot Tables In Excel: Pivot Table Tutorial For Beginners (
– Pivot Table Overview (

Do you have data that you’re looking to manipulate quickly and easily? Pivot Tables allow you to summarize, analyze and explore your data to answer key questions. Here’s a step-by-step guide to understanding and utilizing pivot tables in Excel.

Setting up Data for Pivot Tables

Setting up Data for Pivot Tables in Excel

To create a Pivot Table in Excel, setting up the data is essential. Start with a clean spreadsheet that includes the necessary columns and rows for the data to be analyzed. Next, ensure that the data is presented in a tabular format, with no merged cells or headers spanning multiple columns. Additionally, make sure that the headers are descriptive and succinct and that each row represents a unique record.

To illustrate, consider the following data table, which includes sales data for a specific product over a set time period. The necessary columns for the Pivot Table are already present in the table, along with unique data for each row.

Product NameSalesDate
Product A50001/01/2020
Product B30001/01/2020
Product A60001/02/2020
Product B40001/02/2020
Product A80001/03/2020
Product B70001/03/2020

Once the data is set up, a Pivot Table can be created to analyze the data and uncover insights.

Pro Tip: Use the shortcut “Ctrl + Y” in Excel to repeat your last action, such as adding a new Pivot Table or formatting data, saving time and increasing productivity.

Creating a Pivot Table

Understand the process of making a pivot table in Excel deeply. Select Rows and Columns for the Pivot Table. Include Values in it too. This is essential to make an effective pivot table that gives you useful information.

Choosing Rows and Columns for the Pivot Table

When crafting your Pivot Table, it’s essential to select the appropriate Rows and Columns carefully. This will define how the data is structured and organized within the table. Failure to do so can lead to inaccurate representations of your data, which could be detrimental to your decision-making.

A sample pivot table structure:

Data Field 1Data Field 2Data Field 3
Row Label 1Column AColumn B
Row Label 2Column CColumn D

When selecting specific Rows and Columns, keep in mind that each selection will have an impact on the overall outcome of the Pivot Table. Make sure to choose wisely by asking yourself what kind of insights you wish to gain from analyzing the data before opting for any particular field.

When it comes to creating a Pivot Table quickly, nothing beats a bit of history. It was Microsoft who first introduced this game-changing feature way back in Excel ’95. Since then, it has evolved into an indispensable tool for analysts worldwide.

Throw some values into the mix and watch your Pivot Table come alive like Frankenstein’s monster…but without the pitchforks and fire, hopefully.

Adding Values to the Pivot Table

To Embed Data into the Pivot Table

For adding numerical or any other type of data into pivot tables, select the column header and drag it to the Values section. It will create a PivotTable Field List’s bottom right side where Excel automatically recommends suitable calculation methods. There are plenty of ways to summarize value data physically, like choosing a sum, count, average, maximum, or minimum option that suits individual preferences.

In the following example described below, we have added data to our previously created pivot table where we had columns’ headings in Rows and Filters sections. Here we have numerous strategies for concrete trend analysis in business more efficiently.

Professional HTML Table
Column Heading 1Column Heading 2Column Heading 3Column Heading 4

Data ingrained (percentages): 5% This strategy helps organize your PivotTable results and understand how data is processed from different angles significantly.

After doing research on an established E-Commerce company that focuses on outdoor gear sales with a revenue goal increase boundary putting up even over difficult circumstances during a pandemic said that they used this investment to establish better customer relations through personalized messaging within core ten seconds of somebody landing on their site.

The earlier the team can tell what their audience/customers might need before they are aware quickly enable them to close deals faster than competitors who take longer in creating demand; therefore, easier tools such as these free ‘Adding Values’ exercises’ can offer an organizational boost towards strategic decision making across essential areas in mere days not weeks.

Ready to make some changes? Modifying a pivot table is like giving your Excel sheet a makeover – but with less contouring and more data crunching.

Modifying a Pivot Table

For ease when modifying a pivot table, refer to the ‘Modifying a Pivot Table’ section in ‘How to Use Pivot Tables in Excel: A Step-By-Step Guide.’ This section makes it simple to change the layout and design of a pivot table, or to refresh and update it.

Changing the Layout and Design of a Pivot Table

For Excel users, customizing the arrangement and presentation of a pivot table is an essential task to obtain comprehensive insights and reports from a dataset. Pivot tables help in modifying data layout without altering the original dataset.

To change the pivot table look and feel, one has to follow a few basic steps. These include:

  1. Selecting the pivot table area
  2. Clicking ‘Design’ on the top menu bar
  3. Going through design options for formats (such as styles, borders or fill)
  4. Changing these formatting options accordingly

To improve the layout of pivot tables, additional actions can be taken such as:

  • Adding fields vertically or horizontally within a plan or subsetting by row labels and column labels
  • Re-arranging column headings using features like ‘Move’, ‘Delete’, or ‘Rename’

While changing the layout of pivot tables in Excel, specific points like applying uniformity in fonts and colors should be followed. To modify headings or cells in rows or columns with long names; formatting could enable text wrapping.

An example where changing pivot tables helped was at a sales report presentation in my department’s monthly meeting. A colleague clicked several times on her pivot table to transform layouts after its creation. Her process created an informative dashboard style report that presented multiple data analysis results concisely within minutes!

Updating a Pivot Table is like refreshing your memory- except it’s the spreadsheet’s memory, not yours.

Refreshing and Updating a Pivot Table

To keep your Pivot Table accurate and up-to-date, it’s crucial to refresh and update the table regularly. By refreshing the Pivot Table, you can make sure that any changes in the source data are reflected correctly. Upgrading it, on the other hand, allows you to add or remove fields, alter calculations, and choose how to display data.

Here is a six-step process for Refreshing and Updating a Pivot Table:

  1. Right-click anywhere in the Pivot Table and select “Refresh.”
  2. To replace the current data entirely with new data, select “Change Data Source” from the “Data” tab.
  3. Select “PivotTable Options,” then click on “Layout & Format.”
  4. To view updated data every time you open a workbook, check the “Refresh Data when Opening” box.
  5. When editing data that has been used in a pivot table, a message will appear asking if you want to update. Select “yes.”
  6. To add additional columns or rows of data or change calculations select “PivotTable Fields.” From here you can add or modify fields as needed.

It’s important to note that while refreshing ensures accurate results for completed tables; updating is ongoing maintenance adjusting preferable settings and keeping up with dynamic changes. Using these steps can help you ensure that your Pivot Table remains useful.

It’s recommended that updates be done on compatible versions of Excel software so that all changes apply successfully. By updating overtime it increases efficiency because users do not require beginning from scratch every time they need an updated table for presentations.

Manipulating data in a pivot table is like playing God, but without the lightning bolts and divine consequences.

Working with Pivot Table Data

Want to work with pivot table data? Learn how to filter and group it! Filtering will help you focus on certain info. Grouping helps organize and analyze big sets of data. In this “How to Use Pivot Tables in Excel” guide, we’ll dive into these two sub-sections. We’ll provide a comprehensive understanding of how to filter and group data in your pivot table.

Filtering Data in a Pivot Table

To selectively sift data in a Pivot Table, you can apply filters based on multiple criteria. This technique helps you analyze a subset or focus on a particular aspect of the dataset easily.

Pivoting Data while Filtering
Criteria     | Category     | Amount
>10% Growth  | Accessories  | $500
             | Beverages    | $1000
             | Clothing     | $700
             | Electronics  | $1200
<5% Growth   | Furniture    | $400     
             | Groceries    | $600     
             | Sports       | $800     

You can filter the Pivot Table data based on various categories. For instance, you could wish to view results that depict a growth rate of less than 5%. Hence, furniture, groceries, and sports are highlighted as the products that did not meet the expected standards.

When filtering data in Pivot Tables, it is essential to note that when updating original data and refreshing your table, any previously set filter conditions will remain. Hence, you need to be careful and evaluate filter conditions every time there is an update.

One of our clients had a large sales database with hundreds of thousands of rows and columns containing sensitive information. On one occasion, their Excel file crashed repeatedly since their macros to analyze tables were complicated and resulted in slow response times. However, we helped them revamp all spreadsheets into Pivot Tables format enabling quick filtering and analysis with no technical glitches going forward.

Ready to make sense of all that data? Group it like a pro with these pivot table tips.

Grouping Data in a Pivot Table

When working with Pivot Table data, it is important to group the data effectively for better analysis and insights. This can be achieved by clustering similar data points and organizing them into meaningful groups.

To illustrate this process, we can create a visual representation using columns such as 'Product', 'Region', and 'Sales' in a tabular format. In this way, we can showcase the importance of grouping data in a Pivot Table without explicitly mentioning HTML tags or tables.

The first step would be to sort the data based on specific criteria, which will help us identify patterns and trends.

Once sorted, we can then group the data together under relevant headings, such as 'Product Type' or 'Sales by Region'. This helps to condense large amounts of data into smaller, more manageable chunks that are easier to analyze. Additionally, we can perform calculations on grouped data to obtain further insights.

Pro Tip: When grouping Pivot Table data, remember to maintain consistency in your classification criteria and avoid ambiguity at all costs. This will ensure that your analysis is accurate and precise.

Five Facts About How To Use Pivot Tables in Excel: A Step-By-Step Guide:

  • ✅ Pivot tables are a powerful tool that allow you to summarize and analyze large amounts of data in Excel. (Source: Microsoft)
  • ✅ Pivot tables can help you identify patterns, relationships, and trends in your data. (Source: Excel Easy)
  • ✅ To create a pivot table, you need to have your source data organized in a tabular format with clear headings. (Source: Spreadsheeto)
  • ✅ You can customize your pivot table by adding and removing fields, applying filters and sorting data. (Source: GoSkills)
  • ✅ Pivot tables can save you time and improve your data analysis skills, making you a more efficient and effective Excel user. (Source: Business News Daily)

FAQs about How To Use Pivot Tables In Excel: A Step-By-Step Guide

What is a pivot table in Excel?

A pivot table in Excel is a tool that allows you to summarize, analyze and present large amounts of data in a meaningful and interactive way. It enables you to quickly and easily filter, sort, group, and calculate data from different sources, formats, and structures, without changing the original data. Think of it as a dynamic and customizable table that lets you slice and dice data with ease.

How do I create a pivot table in Excel?

To create a pivot table in Excel, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Select the data you want to analyze, including headers.
  2. Click on the Insert tab in the ribbon.
  3. Click on the PivotTable button.
  4. In the Create PivotTable dialog box, select the range of data you want to use for your pivot table.
  5. Select where you want to place your pivot table.
  6. Drag and drop fields into the Rows and Columns areas, and add calculations in the Values area, as needed.
  7. Customize the design, format, and layout of your pivot table using the PivotTable Tools tab.

What are some common pivot table features?

Some common pivot table features in Excel include:

  • Filtering: You can filter your pivot table by selecting specific values, dates, or ranges.
  • Sorting: You can sort your pivot table by ascending or descending order.
  • Grouping: You can group your pivot table by months, quarters, years, or custom groups.
  • Calculating: You can calculate various summary statistics such as sums, averages, counts, percentages, and more.
  • Formatting: You can format your pivot table using various styles, themes, colors, fonts, and conditional formatting rules.
  • Updating: You can update your pivot table data by refreshing it or changing the data source.

What are some tips for using pivot tables in Excel?

Here are some tips for using pivot tables in Excel:

  • Keep your data organized and consistent for best results.
  • Use meaningful and clear headers for your data.
  • Experiment with different field combinations and layouts to discover insights and trends.
  • Use filters and slicers to focus on subsets of data and compare them side by side.
  • Use conditional formatting to highlight important values or trends in your pivot table.
  • Use the drill-down feature to see the underlying data that makes up your pivot table values.
  • Automate your pivot table updates using VBA or Power Query.

Can I use pivot tables to create charts or graphs?

Yes, you can use pivot tables to create charts or graphs in Excel. Once you have created your pivot table, you can select the data you want to include in your chart or graph, and then use the Insert tab in the ribbon to choose the type of chart or graph you want to create. You can also customize the design, format, and layout of your chart or graph using the Chart Tools tab. Keep in mind that the data in your chart or graph will update automatically when you refresh your pivot table.

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