A pivot table in Excel is a fundamental data analysis tool. Our goal is to offer you the most basic introduction and explanation of what a pivot table is. This article is for you if you have never made a pivot table. You will comprehend the concepts of pivot tables after reading this article.
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Why Pivot table?
A pivot table is a tool for summarizing, sorting, reorganizing, grouping, counting, totaling, or averaging data recorded in a table. It enables us to convert columns to rows and rows to columns. It lets you aggregate items by any field (column) and do complex computations on them. A pivot table can sort items/records/rows into groups, count the number of items in each category, add the item values or compute an average, discover the minimum and maximum value, and so on.
Creating a pivot table
I know you’re assuming that this would operate like every other table we make in Word, but it doesn’t. To begin, you must arrange your data in a tabular format. In this tutorial, we’ll go through the steps of creating a pivot table in Excel, and explore some of the ways you can use it to gain insights into your data.
Step 1: Prepare your data
Before you can create a pivot table, you need to have data to work with. Ideally, your data should be well-organized and easy to read, with column headings and no blank rows or columns.
For the purpose of this tutorial, let’s say we have a spreadsheet containing data on customer orders for an online store. The spreadsheet has columns for the customer’s name, order date, product name, quantity, and price. The data spans several months and includes hundreds of rows.
Step 2: Insert a pivot table
To create a pivot table, start by selecting any cell within your data range. Next, go to the “Insert” tab in the Excel ribbon, and click on the “PivotTable” button in the “Tables” section.
This will bring up the “Create PivotTable” dialog box, where you can choose where you want to place the pivot table, and what data you want to include in it.
Step 3: Choose the date range
In the “Create PivotTable” dialog box, make sure the “Select a table or range” option is selected, and that the data range is correct. You can also choose to place the pivot table in a new worksheet or in an existing one.
Step 4: Choose the fields
Once you’ve selected your data range, Excel will automatically generate a pivot table with placeholders for your data fields. To add fields to the pivot table, simply drag and drop them from the “PivotTable Fields” panel on the right.
For example, let’s say we want to see how many orders we received for each product. We can drag the “Product Name” field to the “Rows” area, and the “Quantity” field to the “Values” area. Excel will automatically calculate the total quantity for each product.
Step 5: Customize the pivot table
Once you’ve added your data fields to the pivot table, you can customize it in a variety of ways to better analyze your data. Here are a few examples:
- Filter data: If you want to look at data for a specific time period or a specific product, you can use the “Filter” feature to narrow down your results.
- Group data: If you have a lot of data, you can group it by a certain time period (such as month or quarter) to make it easier to analyze.
- Add calculated fields: If the data in your pivot table doesn’t give you the exact information you need, you can add calculated fields to perform additional calculations.
- Format the pivot table: You can change the font, colors, and other formatting options to make the pivot table easier to read and understand.
Step 6: Refresh the pivot table
If your data changes (for example, if you add new orders to your spreadsheet), you can easily update your pivot table by clicking on any cell in the table and then clicking the “Refresh” button on the “PivotTable Analyze” tab in the Excel ribbon.
In this tutorial, we will walk you through the process of creating and using pivot tables in Excel, using a sample data set.
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Try it yourself!
Let’s start by looking at our sample data set. We have a spreadsheet containing sales data for a company, with columns for the date, salesperson, product, and sales amount. Our goal is to use a pivot table to analyze this data and gain insights into sales trends.
To create a pivot table in Excel, follow these steps:
- Step 1: Select the data range you want to use for the pivot table. In our case, we will select all of the sales data.
- Step 2: Go to the “Insert” tab in the Excel ribbon and click on the “Pivot Table” button.
- Step 3: In the “Create PivotTable” dialog box, select the range of data you want to use and choose whether to place the pivot table on a new sheet or in an existing one.
- Step 4: Drag and drop the fields you want to analyze into the “Rows,” “Columns,” and “Values” sections of the pivot table fields list.
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Analyzing Data with Pivot Tables
Now that we have created our pivot table, let’s explore some of its features.
One of the most powerful features of pivot tables is the ability to filter data. We can use filters to view specific subsets of our data based on certain criteria.
For example, let’s say we want to view only the sales data for the month of January. To do this, we can drag the “Date” field into the “Filters” section of the pivot table fields list and select “January” from the drop-down menu.
Pivot tables also allow us to sort our data in various ways. We can sort by any of the fields we have included in the pivot table, either in ascending or descending order.
To sort our sales data by a salesperson in descending order, we can click on the arrow next to the “Salesperson” field in the “Rows” section of the pivot table fields list and select “Sort Z to A.”
Another powerful feature of pivot tables is the ability to calculate data based on the values in our data range. For example, we can use a pivot table to calculate the total sales for each salesperson or product.
To do this, we can drag the “Sales Amount” field into the “Values” section of the pivot table fields list. Now choose the appropriate calculation method, such as “Sum” or “Average.”
Pivot tables are an essential tool for analyzing data in Excel. They allow users to quickly summarize and analyze large amounts of data, making it easier to identify patterns and trends. By following the steps outlined in this tutorial and using our sample data, you can start creating your own pivot tables and gaining insights into your data.
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