Excel Tip: Pivot Tables

Today I’m going to go over pivot tables in Excel. When you have large volumes of data to analyze, pivot tables allow you to summarize and manipulate the data quickly and easily. I’ll be using a sample set of data to show you the steps to creating and modifying a pivot table.

With the use of pivot tables, you’re going to want to start with data that is organized. In this sample data, it’s organized by date, region, rep, item, units, unit cost, and total. You want to make sure that your data is in some organized fashion.

To create a pivot table, go to the insert tab of the ribbon, click on Pivot Table, and then you’ll be able to select a table or range. We’re going to make sure to include the header and go all the way down to the bottom of the chart. Hit OK.

Once you scroll back to the top of your spreadsheet, you’ll see where your pivot table will be inserted. To the right, is your pivot table fields. This is where you will choose what will go into your pivot table and where. You can check next to the items if you want them included. My preference is to drag and drop the items into the sections where I want them.

I’m going to first summarize by region and drag it down into the rows section. All of that data will be categorized by Region in the rows. Let’s say I want to know how much in dollars there is per region. I’m going to take the Total and drag it into the Values section. Now I can see the dollars by region. We can also subcategorize the regions by pulling the Reps down into the rows section. Now I can see by region, by rep, the total dollars for each.

I can also move items around. Let’s say I want to move the Region into the columns. Now I show the Reps in the rows, categorized in each column by the Region.

Once you have your pivot table the way you want it set up, you can easily change the rows and columns by clicking on the down arrow. You can choose just to have a few items show, or add them all back in. You can also sort in whichever direction you want.

If you want to change the look of your pivot table, you can go to Format as Table under the home tab and to have it formatted with those colors.

Those are the basics of creating and modifying a pivot table. If you’d like me to go over a specific functionality of a pivot table in a future blog, please comment below or EMAIL ME and I’d be happy to go over it.

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