The right way to Create a Pivot Desk in Excel: A Step-by-Step Tutorial


The pivot desk is considered one of Microsoft Excel’s strongest — and intimidating — capabilities. Pivot tables might help you summarize and make sense of huge knowledge units. Nevertheless, in addition they have a status for being sophisticated.

The excellent news is that studying the best way to create a pivot desk in Excel is way simpler than chances are you’ll imagine.

We’re going to stroll you thru the method of making a pivot desk and present you simply how easy it’s. First, although, let’s take a step again and be sure you perceive precisely what a pivot desk is, and why you would possibly want to make use of one.

What is a pivot table?
What are pivot tables used for?
How to Create a Pivot Table
Pivot Table Examples

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In different phrases, pivot tables extract that means from that seemingly countless jumble of numbers in your display. And extra particularly, it enables you to group your knowledge in several methods so you may draw useful conclusions extra simply.

The “pivot” a part of a pivot desk stems from the truth that you may rotate (or pivot) the information within the desk to view it from a distinct perspective. To be clear, you are not including to, subtracting from, or in any other case altering your knowledge once you make a pivot. As a substitute, you are merely reorganizing the information so you may reveal helpful info.

What are pivot tables used for?

For those who’re nonetheless feeling a bit confused about what pivot tables truly do, don’t be concerned. That is a kind of applied sciences which can be a lot simpler to know as soon as you have seen it in motion.

The aim of pivot tables is to supply user-friendly methods to shortly summarize massive quantities of knowledge. They can be utilized to higher perceive, show, and analyze numerical knowledge intimately.

With this info, you may assist establish and reply unanticipated questions surrounding the information.

Listed here are seven hypothetical eventualities the place a pivot desk may very well be useful.

1. Evaluating Gross sales Totals of Totally different Merchandise

Let’s say you’ve got a worksheet that accommodates month-to-month gross sales knowledge for 3 totally different merchandise — product 1, product 2, and product 3. You need to determine which of the three has been producing essentially the most income.

A technique could be to look via the worksheet and manually add the corresponding gross sales determine to a working complete each time product 1 seems. The identical course of can then be performed for product 2, and product 3 till you’ve got totals for all of them. Piece of cake, proper?

Think about, now, that your month-to-month gross sales worksheet has hundreds upon hundreds of rows. Manually sorting via every vital piece of knowledge might actually take a lifetime.

With pivot tables, you may routinely combination all the gross sales figures for product 1, product 2, and product 3 — and calculate their respective sums — in lower than a minute.

pivot table examples, compare sales totals of different productsImage source

2. Exhibiting Product Gross sales as Percentages of Whole Gross sales

Pivot tables inherently present the totals of every row or column when created. That is not the one determine you may routinely produce, nevertheless.

To illustrate you entered quarterly gross sales numbers for 3 separate merchandise into an Excel sheet and turned this knowledge right into a pivot desk. The pivot desk routinely offers you three totals on the backside of every column — having added up every product’s quarterly gross sales.

However what in the event you wished to search out the proportion these product gross sales contributed to all firm gross sales, quite than simply these merchandise’ gross sales totals?

With a pivot desk, as a substitute of simply the column complete, you may configure every column to provide the column’s proportion of all three column totals.

Let’s say three merchandise totaled $200,000 in gross sales. The primary product made $45,000, you may edit a pivot desk to as a substitute say this product contributed 22.5% of all firm gross sales.

To point out product gross sales as percentages of complete gross sales in a pivot desk, merely right-click the cell carrying a gross sales complete and choose Present Values As > % of Grand Whole.

pivot table examples, product sales as percentageImage source

3. Combining Duplicate Information

On this state of affairs, you have simply accomplished a weblog redesign and needed to replace many URLs. Sadly, your weblog reporting software program did not deal with the change nicely and cut up the “view” metrics for single posts between two totally different URLs.

In your spreadsheet, you now have two separate cases of every particular person weblog submit. To get correct knowledge, it is advisable mix the view totals for every of those duplicates.

BostonImage source

As a substitute of getting to manually seek for and mix all of the metrics from the duplicates, you may summarize your knowledge (by way of pivot desk) by weblog submit title.

Voilà, the view metrics from these duplicate posts shall be aggregated routinely.

pivot table examples, combine complex dataImage source

4. Getting an Worker Headcount for Separate Departments

Pivot tables are useful for routinely calculating issues that you could’t simply discover in a fundamental Excel desk. A type of issues is counting rows that each one have one thing in frequent.

For example, let’s say you’ve got an inventory of workers in an Excel sheet. Subsequent to the workers’ names are the respective departments they belong to. You possibly can create a pivot desk from this knowledge that exhibits you every division’s title and the variety of workers that belong to these departments.

The pivot desk’s automated capabilities successfully get rid of your job of sorting the Excel sheet by division title and counting every row manually.

5. Including Default Values to Empty Cells

Not each dataset you enter into Excel will populate each cell. For those who’re ready for brand new knowledge to return in, you may need a number of empty cells that look complicated or want additional rationalization.

That is the place pivot tables are available.

pivot table examples, combine complex dataImage source


You possibly can simply customise a pivot desk to fill empty cells with a default worth, resembling $0, or TBD (for “to be decided”). For giant knowledge tables, with the ability to tag these cells shortly is a helpful function when many individuals are reviewing the identical sheet.

To routinely format the empty cells of your pivot desk, right-click your desk and click on PivotTable Choices.

Within the window that seems, verify the field labeled Empty Cells As and enter what you want displayed when a cell has no different worth.

pivot table examples, empty cells Image source


The right way to Create a Pivot Desk

  1. Enter your data into a range of rows and columns.
  2. Sort your data by a specific attribute.
  3. Highlight your cells to create your pivot table.
  4. Drag and drop a field into the “Row Labels” area.
  5. Drag and drop a field into the “Values” area.
  6. Fine-tune your calculations.

Now that you’ve a greater sense of what pivot tables can be utilized for, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the best way to truly create one.

Step 1. Enter your knowledge into a spread of rows and columns.

Each pivot desk in Excel begins with a fundamental Excel desk, the place all of your knowledge is housed. To create this desk, merely enter your values into a particular set of rows and columns. Use the topmost row or the topmost column to categorize your values by what they characterize.

For instance, to create an Excel desk of weblog submit efficiency knowledge, you may need:

We’ll be utilizing that instance within the steps that observe.

pivot table, enter your data into a range of rows and columns.

Step 2. Type your knowledge by a particular attribute.

When you’ve entered all of your knowledge into your Excel sheet, you’ll need to type your knowledge by attribute. This may make your info simpler to handle as soon as it turns into a pivot desk.

To type your knowledge, click on the Information tab within the high navigation bar and choose the Type icon beneath it. Within the window that seems, you may type your knowledge by any column you need and in any order.

For instance, to type your Excel sheet by “Views to Date,” choose this column title below Column after which choose whether or not you need to order your posts from smallest to largest, or from largest to smallest.

Choose OK on the bottom-right of the Type window.

Now, you’ve efficiently reordered every row of your Excel sheet by the variety of views every weblog submit has acquired.

pivot table, sort data

Step 3. Spotlight your cells to create your pivot desk.

As soon as you have entered and sorted your knowledge, spotlight the cells you’d wish to summarize in a pivot desk. Click on Insert alongside the highest navigation, and choose the PivotTable icon.

It’s also possible to click on wherever in your worksheet, choose “PivotTable,” and manually enter the vary of cells you want included within the PivotTable.

This opens an choices field. Right here you may choose whether or not or to not launch this pivot desk in a brand new worksheet or maintain it within the current worksheet, along with setting your cell vary.

For those who open a brand new sheet, you may navigate to and away from it on the backside of your Excel workbook. As soon as you have chosen, click on OK.

Alternatively, you may spotlight your cells, choose Really helpful PivotTables to the precise of the PivotTable icon, and open a pivot desk with pre-set ideas for the best way to manage every row and column.

pivot table, highlight cells you want to include in the pivot table

Notice: If utilizing an earlier model of Excel, “PivotTables” could also be below Tables or Information alongside the highest navigation, quite than “Insert.” In Google Sheets, you may create pivot tables from the Information dropdown alongside the highest navigation.

Step 4. Drag and drop a discipline into the “Row Labels” space.

After you have accomplished Step 3, Excel will create a clean pivot desk for you.

The next step is to tug and drop a discipline — labeled based on the names of the columns in your spreadsheet — into the Row Labels space. This may decide what distinctive identifier the pivot desk will manage your knowledge by.

For instance, for example you need to manage a bunch of running a blog knowledge by submit title. To try this, you’d merely click on and drag the “High pages” discipline to the “Row Labels” space.

pivot table, drag and drop a field into the "Row Labels" area.

Notice: Your pivot desk might look totally different relying on which model of Excel you are working with. Nevertheless, the final ideas stay the identical.

Step 5. Drag and drop a discipline into the “Values” space.

As soon as you have established how you are going to manage your knowledge, the next step is so as to add in some values by dragging a discipline into the Values space.

Sticking with the running a blog knowledge instance, for example you need to summarize weblog submit views by title. To do that, you’d merely drag the “Views” discipline into the Values space.

pivot tables, drag and drop a field into the "Values" area.

Step 6. High-quality-tune your calculations.

The sum of a selected worth shall be calculated by default, however you may simply change this to one thing like common, most, or minimal relying on what you need to calculate.

On a Mac, you are able to do this by clicking on the small i subsequent to a worth within the “Values” space, deciding on the choice you need, and clicking “OK.” When you’ve made your choice, your pivot desk shall be up to date accordingly.

For those who’re utilizing a PC, you will have to click on on the small upside-down triangle subsequent to your worth and choose Worth Discipline Settings to entry the menu.

pivot tables,  fine-tune your calculations.

Whenever you’ve categorized your knowledge to your liking, save your work and use it as you please.

Pivot Desk Examples

From managing cash to protecting tabs in your advertising and marketing effort, pivot tables might help you retain observe of necessary knowledge. The chances are countless!

See three pivot desk examples beneath to maintain you impressed.

1. Making a PTO Abstract and Tracker

pivot table examples, pto summaryImage source

For those who’re in HR, working a enterprise, or main a small workforce, managing workers’ holidays is important. This pivot lets you seamlessly observe this knowledge.

All it is advisable do is import your worker’s identification knowledge together with the next knowledge:

  • Sick time.
  • Hours of PTO.
  • Firm holidays.
  • Time beyond regulation hours.
  • Worker’s common variety of hours.

From there, you may type your pivot desk by any of those classes.

2. Constructing a Finances

pivot table examples, budgetImage source

Whether or not you’re working a challenge or simply managing your personal cash, pivot tables are a superb software for monitoring spend.

The only finances simply requires the next classes:

  • Date of transaction
  • Withdrawal/Bills
  • Deposit/Revenue
  • Description
  • Any overarching classes (like paid advertisements or contractor charges)

With this info, you may see your largest bills and brainstorm methods to save lots of.

3. Monitoring Your Marketing campaign Efficiency

pivot table examples, campaign performanceImage source

Pivot tables might help your workforce assess the efficiency of your advertising and marketing campaigns.

On this instance, marketing campaign efficiency is cut up by area. You possibly can simply which nation had the very best conversions throughout totally different campaigns.

This might help you establish ways that carry out nicely in every area and the place ads should be modified.

Digging Deeper With Pivot Tables

You have now realized the fundamentals of pivot desk creation in Excel. With this understanding, you may determine what you want out of your pivot desk and discover the options you’re in search of.

For instance, chances are you’ll discover that the information in your pivot desk is not sorted the way in which you want. If that is so, Excel’s Type perform might help you out. Alternatively, chances are you’ll want to include knowledge from one other supply into your reporting, during which case the VLOOKUP perform might come in useful.

Editor’s notice: This submit was initially revealed in December 2018 and has been up to date for comprehensiveness.

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