How To Create a PivotTable in Excel
Note: Some of the screen shots in this article were taken in Excel 2016. If you have a different version your view might be slightly different, but unless otherwise noted, the functionality is the same.
For example, here’s a simple list of household expenses, and a PivotTable based on it:
|Household expense data||Corresponding PivotTable|
Next, here’s a PivotChart:
Before you get started:
- Your data should be organized in a tabular format, and not have any blank rows or columns. Ideally, you can use an Excel table like in our example above.
- Tables are a great PivotTable data source, because rows added to a table are automatically included in the PivotTable when you refresh the data, and any new columns will be included in the PivotTable Fields List. Otherwise, you need to either manually update the data source range, or use a dynamic named range formula.
- Data types in columns should be the same. For example, you shouldn’t mix dates and text in the same column.
- PivotTables work on a snapshot of your data, called the cache, so your actual data doesn’t get altered in any way.
Create a PivotTable
If you have limited experience with PivotTables, or are not sure how to get started, a Recommended PivotTable is a good choice. When you use this feature, Excel determines a meaningful layout by matching the data with the most suitable areas in the PivotTable. This helps give you a starting point for additional experimentation. After a recommended PivotTable is created, you can explore different orientations and rearrange fields to achieve your specific results. The Recommended PivotTables feature was added in Excel 2013, so if you have an earlier version, follow the instructions below for how to manually create a PivotTable instead.
You can also download our interactive Make your first PivotTable tutorial.
|Recommended PivotTable||Manually create a PivotTable|
In the Field Name area at the top, select the check box for any field you want to add to your PivotTable. By default, non-numeric fields are added to the Row area, date and time fields are added to the Column area, and numeric fields are added to the Values area. You can also manually drag-and-drop any available item into any of the PivotTable fields, or if you no longer want an item in your PivotTable, simply drag it out of the Fields list or uncheck it. Being able to rearrange Field items is one of the PivotTable features that makes it so easy to quickly change its appearance.
|PivotTable Fields list||Corresponding fields in a PivotTable|
- Summarize Values ByBy default, PivotTable fields that are placed in the Values area will be displayed as a SUM. If Excel interprets your data as text, it will be displayed as a COUNT. This is why it’s so important to make sure you don’t mix data types for value fields. You can change the default calculation by first clicking on the arrow to the right of the field name, then select the Value Field Settings option.
Next, change the calculation in the Summarize Values By section. Note that when you change the calculation method, Excel will automatically append it in the Custom Name section, like “Sum of FieldName”, but you can change it. If you click the Number Format button, you can change the number format for the entire field.
Tip: Since the changing the calculation in the Summarize Values By section will change the PivotTable field name, it’s best not to rename your PivotTable fields until you’re done setting up your PivotTable. One trick is to use Find & Replace (Ctrl+H) >Find what > “Sum of“, then Replace with > leave blank to replace everything at once instead of manually retyping.
- Show Values AsInstead of using a calculation to summarize the data, you can also display it as a percentage of a field. In the following example, we changed our household expense amounts to display as a % of Grand Totalinstead of the sum of the values.
Once you’ve opened the Value Field Setting dialog, you can make your selections from the Show Values As tab.
- Display a value as both a calculation and percentage.Simply drag the item into the Values section twice, then set the Summarize Values By and Show Values As options for each one.
If you add new data to your PivotTable data source, any PivotTables that were built on that data source need to be refreshed. To refresh just one PivotTable you can right-click anywhere in the PivotTable range, then select Refresh. If you have multiple PivotTables, first select any cell in any PivotTable, then on the Ribbon go to PivotTable Tools > Analyze > Data > click the arrow under the Refresh button and select Refresh All.
If you created a PivotTable and decide you no longer want it, you can simply select the entire PivotTable range, then press Delete. It won’t have any affect on other data or PivotTables or charts around it. If your PivotTable is on a separate sheet that has no other data you want to keep, deleting that sheet is a fast way to remove the PivotTable.
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