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Microsoft Excel 2010 Training: How to Create PivotTables and PivotCharts

/ / Excel 2010, Latest

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Creating Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts

You can use the PivotTable feature of Excel to access some of the most powerful data-analysis that Excel can provide. PivotTables allow you to organize massive amounts of data in more coherent and meaningful ways to extract from the data exactly what you want to know. Probably the most helpful feature of PivotTables is the ability that they have to be reorganized quickly and easily to change what information they are displaying and calculating. When you create a PivotTable, you are comparing information in your worksheet and then calculating intersecting values of your choosing. In addition to the PivotTables, you can also create PivotCharts, which use the data from PivotTables but display it in a graphic format.

The best way to learn how to use PivotTables is to actually create one with which you can experiment and practice. Excel makes it easy to create a PivotTable from your data. To create a PivotTable, first select the worksheet that contains the data from which you want to create a PivotTable. Next, click the “Insert” tab in the Ribbon. Click the “PivotTable” drop-down button in the “Tables” group and choose either the “PivotTable” or “PivotChart” command, as desired.

Either way, next you will see the “Create PivotTable” dialog box appear. Here you must select the source of data for the PivotTable. Your choices are: “Select a table or range,” which pulls the data from your Excel worksheet, or “Use an external data source,” which allows you to use data from a query or an open database connection.

Below that area, you have to select whether you want to place the PivotTable or PivotChart into a new worksheet or an existing worksheet. If you click the “Existing Worksheet” choice, then you’ll have to click into the “Location:” text box and then click into the worksheet to select the cell that will become the upper left corner of the PivotTable or PivotChart. When you are finished, click “OK” to create your new PivotTable or PivotChart.

Next you will see the “PivotTable Field List” task pane appear at the side of your workbook window. If you elected to create a PivotChart, you will see the “PivotChart Filter Pane” appear. In the “PivotTable Field List” pane, you will see the information from your data source. Now you have to click the checkbox next to each field in the “Choose fields to add to report:” section that you want to add to the PivotTable. As you check each field, Excel will add it into one of the four quadrants shown in the “Drag fields between areas below:” section at the bottom of the task pane. For PivotTables, these fields are “Report Filter,” “Column Labels,” “Row Labels,” and “Values.” For PivotCharts these fields are “Report Filter,” “Legend Fields (Series),” “Axis Fields (Categories),” or “Values.” At that point, you can click and drag the fields shown from one quadrant to another, based on what function or layout you want the PivotTable to show. Note fields that are placed into the “Values” section are calculated using the SUM function, by default.


Manipulating a PivotTable

Now you will see the ways that you can alter a PivotTable to change what data is displayed and calculated within the PivotTable. As was seen in the last lesson, you can check and uncheck the fields shown in the “Choose fields to add to report:” list within the “PivotTable Field List” task pane to show or hide their display in the PivotTable. Once the fields have been added to any one of the four quadrants shown at the bottom of the task pane, you may click and drag the fields shown in these areas from one quadrant to another in order to rearrange the display of the data, if needed.

When working with the fields in your PivotTable, note that if you click into a worksheet cell outside of the PivotTable area, the PivotTable will become de-selected and the “PivotTable Field List” will be hidden. You can simply click back into a cell within the PivotTable to reactivate the PivotTable and display the “PivotTable Field List” again.

You can also filter what information is displayed within each of the columns and rows. Notice that each time that you add fields to the PivotTable, the field will appear with a small drop-down arrow to the right of the field name within the actual PivotTable. You can click this drop-down arrow to show a menu listing all of the unique values within that column or row. Values that are checked will display in the PivotTable and values that are unchecked will be hidden from the PivotTable. You can check and uncheck the values in each column or row, as needed, to display just the data that you want to see. When you are finished checking and unchecking value items in the drop-down menu, click “OK” at the bottom to set your filter choices. Note that you can select the “(Select All)” option at the top of the manual filter list in order to select all values in the field for display once again.

You can also make use of the buttons shown in the “Options” and “Design” tabs of the “PivotTable Tools” contextual tab within the Ribbon to change the appearance of your PivotTable data. The “Expand Entire Field” and “Collapse Entire Field” buttons in the “Active Field” group on the “Options” tab can be used to collapse and expand the detail data for any selected field in an outlined group. In this same group, you can click the “Field Settings” button to open a dialog box where you can change the settings of the currently selected field within the PivotTable.

Also, if you need to enable the display of the “Field List” for any reason, you can click the “Field List” button in the “Show/Hide” group on the “Options” tab in order to show and hide the “PivotTable Field List” in the program.


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