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Introduction to Basic Pivot Tables

In this article, you’ll learn how to create and display the data from your Excel table in a basic pivot table.

When you’re dealing with a large quantity of data that needs summarising, you can make use of the pivot table feature in Microsoft Excel.

Let’s start with a simple definition.

What is a pivot table?

A pivot table is one of Microsoft Excel’s most powerful functions. It might seem intimidating and although it’s a complex tool, it’s great for summarising and making sense of large datasets.

Pivot tables not only allow you to extract meaning from large datasets but also let you group data together in different ways so that you can draw helpful conclusions more easily.

It’s referred to as a pivot table because you can rotate or pivot the data in the table to view it from a different perspective.

How to create a pivot table

There are several ways to create a pivot table. No matter how you choose to create it, remember that a pivot table starts with data that is organised in a tabular format that doesn’t have any blank rows or columns. Keep in mind that data types in your columns should be the same.

Tables are a great pivot table data source. When working with Excel tables, you can summarise your data with a pivot table. You can find the summarise option on the ribbon for the table in Excel. You can select the table you want to use as your source for the pivot from the pivot table dialogue and also change the default name that Excel assigned to the pivot table.

Pivot areas

The pivot table fields section allows you to select fields to add to your report. You will notice four areas that you can use for your fields. These include:

  • Filters
  • Columns
  • Rows
  • Values
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How to Use Microsoft Excel for Data Analysis

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