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This content is taken from the Edinburgh Napier University & Scottish Enterprise's online course, Understanding Data in the Tourism Industry. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 0 seconds Tips and recommendations for handling data? Learn how to use a pivot table, yeah they are magic and wonderful. Pivot tables yeah it enables you to take, a big spreadsheet of data and quickly you know, find results from it. The person who taught me pivot tables, told me ‘it will change your life’. It does change your life. Pivot tables, Excel, buy a, you don’t need to do a course on Excel, but I got a, it’s like an excel dictionary. So it was all the functions and whenever you’re trying to do something, just it takes time to learn, but if you can’t afford to hire somebody in to do it, then just having that dictionary, or you know look up on YouTube.

Skip to 0 minutes and 53 seconds If you can afford to hire somebody in to do it. My advice would be spend time, to understand what data you have? What data you don’t have? Before you dive in and and understand and understand, that maybe, just having an exploratory period, where you play around with the data, to see what could be interesting, before you try and design, whatever it is you’re trying to build. Because otherwise you can rack up a lot of costs and end up with something, that doesn’t actually fit what you need.

An introduction to pivot tables

Not all data will be presented in an online dashboard. Some data will only be available to view via download, often in a spreadsheet format. No matter how large your spreadsheet, providing it has consistent headers, a pivot table can help speed up your data analysis.

A pivot table is a summary tool, created to analyse a larger set of data. Available within spreadsheet software such as Excel for Mac or PC, or Google Sheets, this function allows you to quickly count, compare and analyse the data by selecting core attributes, such as column headers. For example, if you consistently collected customer demographic information in a spreadsheet, it would be possible to see how many tickets were sold on a particular day to each demographic characteristic listed.

Build your own pivot table activity

This is an optional activity, as it requires spreadsheet software, which you may need to purchase (Excel) or sign up to use (Google sheets). If you have acccess to the software then try using the relevant guide with the data source provided by the Office for National Statistics to build your own pivot table :

Can you answer the questions on page 2 of the guide?

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This video is from the free online course:

Understanding Data in the Tourism Industry

Edinburgh Napier University