What Can You Do With Pivot Tables in Microsoft Excel?

Pivot tables are Microsoft Excel’s built-in secret to storing, organizing, and analyzing large amounts of data. Microsoft Excel gives users a simple way to present this sizeable amount of information in a simple way to gain insights, and to be easily sorted and filtered.

With a built-in library of features that even the most basic of spreadsheet users can embrace, Microsoft Excel is designed to help users compare data to easily find patterns in rows and columns. When this information is translated into pivot tables, users have an incredibly innovative data solution at your fingertips.

Start Creating Pivot Tables In A Snap

The easy-to-follow automated workflow widget guides Microsoft Excel users through a straightforward process to create a pivot table in a few clicks:

  • With your mouse or using keyboard shortcuts, choose the cells that house the data you want to include in your pivot table and select those cells
  • From your menu toolbar, you’ll click on “Insert” and then choose the option for “PivotTable”
  • The widget will prompt you to choose your data – click “Select table or range”
  • Next, choose the cell range you want to be included in your pivot table in “Table/Range”
  • Here, you’ll want to confirm if your pivot table should be in an existing worksheet or a new worksheet
  • Pick the cell location where the table will display within the chosen (new or existing) worksheet
  • Click on “OK”, and then select fields for your pivot table

Before You Create Your First Pivot Table

Take a few moments to review your data before creating your first pivot table, and consider this helpful checklist to make sure your pivot table will be perfect:

  1. Review your data and double-check everything looks clear, making sure to exclude any empty rows or columns. Empty rows and columns cause problems – though empty cells aren’t a concern.
  2. Use a column header for each column in your data set, and apply formatting to the header cell to differentiate this data so Microsoft Excel can recognize and label your data set.
  3. Mixing formats in the same column, like dates and accounting, is a pivot table no-no.

What Can Pivot Tables Do for You?

Pivot tables aren’t new, but they haven’t always been the favorite way to present data. Microsoft Excel is seeing increased popularity in pivot tables, likely due to the easy way users can sort and filter large amounts of data, quickly. Regular pivot table users like the sophisticated presentation and options while new users benefit from the built-in feature designed to guide the greenest of users: “Recommended PivotTable”.

Let Microsoft Excel’s intuitive design interpret your data set for you, then click “Insert” and “Recommended PivotTable”, and watch the magic happen. Learn how data is organized and see how the data will look in a pivot table, then make adjustments to your data layout as needed to find the most meaningful presentation for your needs. Notice when you make edits to the data, those same edits are applied automatically to your pivot table, like any new columns you add will be included in your pivot table fields list.