Table Pivot

Master the art of Excel pivot tables and elevate your data analysis skills from beginner to pro.

Excel Mastery

Automating data analysis with pivot tables

Introduction to Pivot Tables

What are Pivot Tables?

Pivot tables are a powerful tool in Excel that allows users to analyze and summarize large amounts of data. They provide a way to quickly and easily create customized reports, charts, and tables from raw data. Pivot tables work by organizing data into categories and subcategories, allowing users to drill down and analyze specific aspects of the data. They also offer flexibility, as users can easily change the layout, filter data, and add or remove fields to get the desired insights. Pivot tables are especially useful for automating data analysis tasks, as they can quickly generate meaningful reports and visualizations with just a few clicks.

Benefits of Using Pivot Tables for Data Analysis

There are several benefits to using pivot tables for data analysis. Firstly, they save time by automating the process of analyzing and summarizing data. Instead of manually sorting and calculating data, users can simply drag and drop fields into the pivot table and let the software do the work. This allows for faster decision-making and frees up time for more important tasks. Secondly, pivot tables provide a clear and concise way to present data. They can easily generate tables, charts, and graphs that summarize complex data sets, making it easier to understand trends and patterns. Additionally, pivot tables are dynamic, meaning they can be easily updated as new data is added or changed. This ensures that analysis is always based on the most up-to-date information. Lastly, pivot tables offer flexibility and customization options. Users can easily change the layout, filter data, and add or remove fields to get different insights and perspectives on the data. This makes pivot tables a versatile tool for data analysis in various industries and fields.

Getting Started with Pivot Tables

Creating a Pivot Table in Excel

Creating a pivot table in Excel is a powerful tool for automating data analysis. To create a pivot table, start by selecting the data you want to analyze. Then, go to the “Insert” tab and click on “PivotTable.” A dialog box will appear, allowing you to choose where you want to place the pivot table. Once you’ve selected the location, click “OK.” Excel will generate a blank pivot table and display the PivotTable Field List.

Understanding Pivot Table Fields and Settings

Understanding pivot table fields and settings is essential for effectively analyzing data. The pivot table field list allows you to drag and drop fields into different areas of the pivot table to organize and summarize data. The “Values” field area is where you choose the data you want to analyze, such as sales or expenses. The “Rows” and “Columns” field areas allow you to group data by specific categories. Additionally, you can apply filters and sort data within the pivot table to further refine your analysis. Experimenting with different field settings and layouts can help you uncover valuable insights from your data.

Manipulating Data with Pivot Tables

Sorting and Filtering Data in a Pivot Table

One of the key benefits of using pivot tables for data analysis is the ability to easily sort and filter data. With a pivot table, you can quickly rearrange and organize your data based on specific criteria. This allows you to identify trends, outliers, and patterns in your data more efficiently.

To sort data in a pivot table, simply click on the drop-down arrow next to the field you want to sort by, and choose the desired sorting order. You can sort by values, labels, or manual order. This feature is particularly useful when you want to rank data or identify the highest or lowest values.

Filtering data in a pivot table is equally important. By applying filters, you can narrow down your data to focus on specific criteria or subsets. This helps in analyzing specific segments and gaining insights into different aspects of your data. Filters can be applied to individual fields or across multiple fields simultaneously.

Grouping and Summarizing Data in a Pivot Table

Grouping and summarizing data in a pivot table allows you to aggregate and consolidate your data in a meaningful way. This helps in summarizing large datasets and presenting key information in a more concise and understandable format.

To group data in a pivot table, you can select a range of values and group them into categories or intervals. For example, you can group dates into months or years, or group numeric values into ranges. This feature is useful when you want to analyze data based on specific time periods or ranges.

Summarizing data in a pivot table involves calculating totals, averages, counts, or other aggregate functions for specific fields or groups. This allows you to quickly obtain key statistics and metrics for your data. You can customize the summary calculations based on your specific requirements.

Customizing Pivot Tables

Formatting Pivot Tables for Visual Appeal

One of the key aspects of data analysis is presenting the information in a visually appealing manner. When working with pivot tables, it is crucial to format them effectively to enhance their visual appeal. This subsection will discuss various formatting options that can be applied to pivot tables to make them more visually appealing.

Firstly, changing the table style can greatly impact the overall appearance of the pivot table. Excel offers a range of predefined table styles that can be easily applied to the pivot table. These styles come with different color schemes and font styles, allowing users to choose the one that best fits their data and report requirements.

Additionally, adjusting the font size, color, and alignment of the pivot table can help in improving its visual appeal. It is important to ensure that the text is easily readable and properly aligned to avoid any confusion or misinterpretation of the data.

Adding Calculated Fields and Items to a Pivot Table

Pivot tables are not limited to just summarizing data; they also offer the option to create calculated fields and items. This subsection will explore how to add calculated fields and items to a pivot table, providing users with more flexibility and customization options.

Calculated fields allow users to perform calculations based on existing fields within the pivot table. For example, users can create a calculated field that calculates the total profit by subtracting the cost from the revenue. This feature is particularly useful when users need to perform complex calculations that are not available in the original data source.

On the other hand, calculated items enable users to create new items within existing fields. This can be handy when users want to group certain data points together for analysis. For instance, users can create a calculated item that groups all the sales from a specific region under a single item called “Other Regions.”

Automating Data Analysis with Pivot Tables

Using Pivot Table Options for Automatic Updates

Pivot tables are a powerful tool for automating data analysis, and one of their key features is the ability to automatically update as new data is added or modified. By using pivot table options such as “Refresh data when opening the file” or “Refresh data every X minutes,” users can ensure that their pivot tables always reflect the most up-to-date information. This eliminates the need for manual updates and saves time and effort.

Refreshing Pivot Tables with External Data Sources

In addition to updating pivot tables with data within the same file, users can also refresh pivot tables with external data sources. This is particularly useful when working with large datasets that are constantly changing, such as sales data from an online store or stock market data. By connecting the pivot table to an external data source, such as a database or a web service, users can easily refresh the pivot table to include the latest information. This ensures that the analysis is always based on the most current data, providing accurate and relevant insights.

Advanced Pivot Table Techniques

Creating Pivot Charts for Visual Data Analysis

Pivot charts are a powerful tool for visual data analysis in Excel. With just a few clicks, you can create dynamic and interactive charts that allow you to explore and analyze your data in a visual format. In this section, we will discuss the steps to create pivot charts and how to customize them to suit your analysis needs.

To create a pivot chart, start by selecting the data you want to analyze and navigate to the “Insert” tab in Excel. From there, click on the “PivotChart” button and choose the type of chart you want to create. Excel will then generate a pivot table and a corresponding chart based on your selected data.

Once the pivot chart is created, you can easily customize it to enhance your data analysis. You can change the chart type, add or remove fields, apply filters, and format the chart to make it more visually appealing. Pivot charts also allow you to drill down into the data, enabling you to gain deeper insights and identify trends or patterns.

Combining Multiple Pivot Tables for Comprehensive Insights

When dealing with large datasets, a single pivot table may not be enough to provide a comprehensive analysis. In such cases, combining multiple pivot tables can be a valuable technique to gain deeper insights into your data. This section will guide you through the process of combining pivot tables for a more holistic analysis.

To combine multiple pivot tables, start by creating individual pivot tables for each subset of data you want to analyze. Once you have created the pivot tables, select any of them and go to the “Analyse” tab. From there, click on the “Insert Slicer” button to add slicers that will allow you to filter the data in all the pivot tables simultaneously.

Next, select another pivot table and go to the “Options” tab. Click on the “Insert Slicer” button again and choose the same slicer as before. Repeat this process for all the pivot tables you want to combine. Now, when you select a slicer value, all the pivot tables will update accordingly, providing you with a comprehensive analysis based on the selected filter.

By combining multiple pivot tables, you can easily compare and analyze different subsets of data, identify correlations, and uncover hidden patterns. This powerful technique enables you to gain a more comprehensive understanding of your data and make informed decisions based on the insights derived from the analysis.


Yoann is a seasoned Excel enthusiast and educator with a rich background in facilitating successful international projects across various domains, including supply chain and financial optimizations. Fluent in English, French, and conversant in Russian, Polish, and Spanish, Yoann's diverse experiences as a digital nomad and in roles ranging from data analysis to project management have equipped him with unique insights into the practical applications of Excel. Through his work, Yoann is passionate about empowering individuals and businesses by demystifying data analysis and optimization techniques, making complex concepts accessible to all. His articles not only share technical expertise but also inspire readers to explore the transformative power of Excel in their professional and personal growth.

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